Like most people, I look forward to the start of a new year with positive hopes for the future and ideas for what I’d like to do differently in my life. For the past several years, both Dawn and I have foregone the traditional use of New Year’s Resolutions and decided instead to use a Word of the Year to corral all these goals into one word that concentrates our focus at the heart of what we want to accomplish.
Last year my word was BELIEVE – believe that I could make a difference, believe in my talents, and believe in myself. It was a word that focused my desire to generate positivity in the world and to push past the fear of feeling like I wasn’t good enough which was holding back my writing. I used my favorite quote, “change your thoughts and you change your world” as inspiration and although I didn’t review my goals as often as I should have over the course of the year, I feel like it did inspire me. I started working on my novel and Dawn and I both continued with our mission to encourage positivity, gratitude, and service to others through The Pink Typewriter Project.
My Word for the Year – Health
As 2016 came to a close, I found myself facing some new life challenges. Now that I’m swinging into my mid-40’s I’ve had the epiphany that if I want to maintain good health I’m really going to have to start working at it. I’ve been so blessed by a body that has served me well even when I have not treated it with the care it deserves. Gone are the days of staying strong, flexible, fit, and thin without the effort, and my body has been reminding me of this quite loudly this past year. I get out of bed with a groan in the mornings, stiff as a board. My usual diet of high carb, low nutrition food is affecting my energy levels, and I’m tired a lot. My blood work numbers are not great, and my doctor has recommended a change in diet.
So, my word for 2017 is HEALTH. Better health through a conscious effort to make better choices about what I eat and how often I exercise. I’m including mental health in this as well by trying to reduce my stress, start a meditation practice, and be more grateful.
Here are a few things you can do to keep you motivated while focusing on your own Word for 2017:
Figure out your “whys” and write them down. Determine the underlying reasons behind why you want to focus on this word and try to frame them in a positive way. For example, in place of the statement, “I want to stop drinking so much soda” use instead that “I am healthier because I drink more water.” Your subconscious mind does not distinguish between what you want and what you don’t want, but only focuses on the thoughts you hold in your head. If you constantly think about what you want to stop you will only attract more of it into your life.
Start a word of the year journal. Journaling is a great way to stay motivated. I’m using it to keep track of my progress (both by the numbers as well as how I’m making better choices), as a place to store inspirational quotes, recipes, and photos, and as a way to stay motivated beyond the usual expiration date of my resolutions sometime around the middle of February. You can use it however it fits in with your word. Grab the highlighters, colored pencils, and gel pens and make it fun!
Celebrate small victories. Small choices make a big difference over time. Give yourself a pat on the back and record in your journal all those little successes. Then you can look back at how far you have come when you feel your motivation is waning. Yesterday I turned down a Godiva chocolate! Go me! Today is Day #2 with no soda. (Yes, I’m dying!)
Be kind to yourself. Do not beat yourself up for every lapse. Many of us, myself included, are awfully hard on ourselves when we slip up and in turn don’t give ourselves enough credit for successes by only focusing on the failures. This type of negative reinforcement is not encouraging. Forgive yourself the small hiccups and get back on track right away.
Enjoy the journey. Life is short, and it is the small moments along the path to victory that make up our days. Be mindful of the little joys on your way to success!
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year! I would love to hear what your Word for the Year is in the comments below. You may inspire someone else with your choice. Thanks for sharing!