If you've spent time on the internet or social media lately, you might have noticed there's a small war being waged against New Years resolutions.
Of course there's the usual "new year, new you!" junk floating around, but there is also a lot of negative attention being directed toward the idea of resolving to do something new or better to kick off this trip around the sun.
The argument for this seems well-meaning: we have a lot on our plates, there's a pandemic, you are enough as you are, etc.. None of this is untrue, but it all reeks a bit of another well manicured internet "wellness" pitch.
Even if things out there are still a little scary, we're allowed to want to improve or become better, right?
I hope so.
I mentioned in my last post how much I love New Years Eve. I love the ability it gives us to be so much more present to the space between the past and future than we usually are. I often feel like I gain so much clarity around New Years Eve about where I've been and where I want to be.
I have no shame in saying that I've made lots of New Years resolutions, some that I've kept and some that I haven't. My take on it has always been that, like regular goals (which, if we're being real, are resolutions without the holiday), resolutions give us a chance to verbalize our big desires.
This is important - we need things to feel attainable and real to be motivated to work toward them.
Last year, though, I ditched the resolutions. Not because they were making me feel unworthy, but because I didn't know exactly what I wanted. I wasn't used to that and it freaked me out - how could I possibly be without a big goal? Maybe there was something wrong with me!
Then I saw a friend post her "word of the year" and thought, surely I could chose a word. It would be like setting a theme for the year, and that sounded like a useful guide when I was feeling a little nebulous to begin with.
Coming off of a few very stressful years, not in the least because I was struggling with a lot of self criticism, perfectionism, and at least a little burnout, I knew what I needed was structure that would help alleviate some stress and encourage me to do the right kind of work.
My word for 2020 was "consistency," and although when I chose it I had daily practice of my instrument in mind, it turned out to be exactly the word I needed when the world shut down and I was stuck at home with a completely different landscape of goals available to me than I had imagined.
"Consistency" turned out to be so beneficial for me last year, in ways I could not have ever predicted when I picked it as my word of the year. It led me back to yoga, helped me learn to meditate, brought me back to my instrument when there were no gigs to be seen, and helped me take better care of myself as the year kept throwing punches.
As you might guess, I am convinced about the power of choosing a word instead of a resolution. Your word might apply to your work, your personal life, a specific project, or all of the above.
If you're interested in choosing a word of the year with me, I'd love to have company.
Here are some suggestions for choosing your word wisely:
Leave a comment if you're going to choose a word - I'm going to share mine in another post.
The way I see it, setting a word for 2021 is the perfect way to thoughtfully guide myself into the new year.