Are you someone who likes to pick a word for the year?
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I see a lot of this in a few Facebook groups I’m part of, usually in that ‘twixtmas’ period between Christmas and New Year. People love the idea of making resolutions, or choosing a word for the year.
We’re all seduced by the excitement of what’s to come. Even those of us who reject the idea of making New Year’s Resolutions – not me, by the way, I’m a sucker for a new year, a blank slate. Often, though, that enthusiasm doesn’t last the distance. We all know people who roll out the same resolutions year after year, and never get any closer to achieving them. If we’re honest, we’ve all been those people at one time or another.
The ‘word for the year’ idea is just a touchstone, a kind of guide to the kind of year you’d like. It’s an idea, something you can keep coming back to, something to measure your life against.
Why am I writing about this in May?
The trouble is, most of us choose a word for the year in the heady post-Christmas days, exhausted from having pulled off the performance that is a family Christmas, and, perhaps slightly delusional about how different our lives will be twelve months from now.
Reviewing Your Goals.
The magic in any kind of goal-setting, whether it’s a highly-focussed SMART goal, or a more nebulous word of the year, comes when you revisit the goal, time, after time, after time.
Which is why I’m writing about it in May, kind of.
I actually like to try and review my goals on a quarterly basis. Three months feels like a good period of time to me. It’s long enough to hold the potential for real change, but short enough that, if I’m completely off-base, I don’t feel like I’ve written off the whole year.
Obviously, it’s May now. I didn’t get around to really thinking about this at all in April. Now, though, I’m digging into some goal setting as part of a course I’m doing, so it seemed like a good time to revisit.
I thought maybe you’d like a little nudge too?
My Word For The Year.
In 2018, I haven’t just chosen one word for the year, I’ve picked three: Space, Self, and Silence. Cheating slightly, but they felt right.
I mentioned recently that I’ve been on a decluttering journey this year, and that was very much prompted by the idea of seeking space in 2018.
I feel like I’ve spent years angling my whole life towards what’s right for the people I love. That was a choice I made willingly, and I don’t have any regrets about it, but it’s time now for a shift. So, this year I’m seeking space, and self, and silence.
What does that look like in practice?
Well, it’s looked like a whole lot of black bags leaving my house, and many, many more to come.
It’s not just physical space I’m after, but mental space as well. For a long time now, the mechanics of our home have just felt overwhelming, taking up too much space in my brain. The mental load of keeping everything going was a huge problem for me.
So, I’ve drastically reduced the amount of clothes in my wardrobe (longing to get the chance to spend some money on building a proper capsule wardrobe, but, for now, just getting rid of stuff mostly), and I’ve done the same for the children. That’s made an enormous difference. I’m not washing stuff, week after week, that’s not been worn, just because it’s found its way into the laundry basket when the bedroom was tidied again. I’ve culled stuff from my kitchen cupboards, and reduced the number of books on our landing by half.
So, the space side of things is going well. There’s a lot still to do, and I’ve lost momentum a bit, but that’s what this review is all about. It’s a chance to give myself a gentle nudge to get back on the decluttering wagon… look out Tupperware cupboard, here I come!
Just before my birthday, I took a whole day to myself.
It was utter bliss. I loaded my bag with my journal (it’s this one, go take a look), my Kindle, and all the things I wanted to keep myself busy and happy for the day. I swanned off in the morning, leaving husband and children to fend for themselves, and drove to the sea. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was heaven to me. I’m out of practice at taking time for myself like this, but it’s so good for my mental health.
I went to Cape Cornwall, somewhere I’d not been in years. For a whole day, I walked, I sat in the car writing and reading, I bought coffee and cake. Mostly I just enjoyed my own company. I even managed a cheeky nap. Bliss.
That was over a month ago.
I love the idea of doing that regularly. I’ve got no reason to think my husband wouldn’t be up for it. Saturdays are his day anyway, while I take the time to work (during the rest of the week, everything is liable to be instantly interrupted). I haven’t suggested it though, and I’m not really sure why.
Silence is important to me, though. As an introvert, I need time to myself, and I’m really not good at taking it.
The choice of ‘self’ as a word for the year is all tied up with the other words really, and it’s a big part of the reason for starting this blog. My fifteen-year-old self knew, beyond any doubt, that she was a writer. My forty-year-old self has spent years being too scared to try. There’s also too much noise in my life for me to be able to hear what I want to write. Sometimes, when I’m on my own, random words start to creep in at the edges. It’s all still there, but I haven’t been giving myself the chance to try.
I’d love to know if any of this resonates with you. Do you choose a word for the year, or make a resolution? If so, how’s that going for you so far?