It’s hard to believe we are already half way through the first month of the new year. Normally I would already be feeling as though I’m behind in more ways than I can count and beating myself up about it ad nauseum. But it’s the 19th of January and I’m cool with this post being 18 days “late”. A new year holds so much promise, but there’s also that mountain of things you want to do, to be, and to get done that seems insurmountable and can potentially stress you out. So thanks to a somewhat difficult 2016, I’m taking it all in stride this year.
This past year was challenging for me in a lot of different ways. Of course, there was also so much to be grateful for (there always is). As a whole though, I felt pretty beat up by 2016. I still kinda do. I think it put a hurting on a lot of us. For me, a lot of things in my life that I thought I had a good handle on, felt like they were unraveling. There were harsh realities that set in about myself and even the people around me. A lot of things started changing and I struggled rolling with those changes.
I think the last year we experience inevitably shapes what kind of new year we want to have. While 2016 was a bit rough, it served its purpose. It called attention to the areas in my life where I need the most growing. It showed me that I needed to find the parts of me I had lost along the way. It shined a light on what I need to focus my attention on.
That’s where resolutions come in, which use to be practically a requirement. In theory they’re great, but if you’re me, the fear of possibly breaking them by January 2nd is enough for you to completely dodge them. If I can skip going down anxiety road, I will. So I had to take a different direction.
For the past few years I’ve been setting my intentions for the new year by choosing a word or words that inspires me. It gets harder and harder each year for me to narrow them down to just one word. Despite feeling like I’ve learned a lot over the last year, it seems like the more I learn, the more I still don’t know. It may seem silly to some, but it’s more than words that you are picking just because they may sound good. In my mind, I’m choosing an area where I need to grow more. Lately it seems like I’ve got A LOT of areas I need to work on, which means there’s potentially enough words to fill a novel!
To start with, I have a repeat word this year and it felt like it needed to be at the center of everything I do. I picked the word “grace” again because at the end of a year there are always tings to forgive people for, but no one more than yourself. I want to always try and remember to give myself grace and not expect myself to never make mistakes. Once we can forgive ourselves for our shortcomings in the past (and the mistakes we will make in the future), it’s easier to move forward and make an effort to grow wherever we need to.
Then there are the many, many growth areas. But hey, I tried to narrow them down. The other words I chose for 2017 are Minimalism, Fluidity, Rise, and Surrender. Minimalism is a big one because it is something that I want to apply to all parts of my life. Less is truly more. So there will be a lot of purging of things that are not necessary. Remember that rolling with it thing I’ve struggled with? Well that’s where Fluidity comes in to play. I’m learning to be more flexible and be open to change. If there’s one thing that life is, it’s unpredictable and you have to be able to go with it. The third word, Rise, is just a reminder that when people or situations disappoint me, I need to lift myself up, stay positive, and go high. Nothing good ever comes from lowering yourself to meet negativity or from letting a situation completely bring you down. The last word, Surrender, serves as a daily reminder to me that most things in this life are out of our control. Surrendering means letting my faith guide me and trusting completely in the fact that I’m never alone. It’s giving up those fears and embracing the peace that comes with letting go.
This year I have a lot of growing to do, but I’m excited about where that growth will take me. I’ve made peace with 2016 and now it’s time to continue to peace myself together in this new year. What are you doing to grow this year? Remember it’s not about the words themselves, but the lessons they help you learn about yourself, this world, and others. The lessons that will continue to shape you as a person. So choose whatever words inspire you to do and be better and don’t forget to give yourself grace if you don’t get it done in January. Every day is a good day for positive changes.
Peace Out 2016!