I don’t make resolutions anymore. For the last two years, I’ve chosen a ‘Word of the Year’ and I think that works much better for me. Something about setting a resolution feels like a zero-sum game. Even though I totally know that isn’t true; if you set a goal to lose 20 pounds and you only lose 15, you’ve still done very good work. I do understand that. But my brain is all-or-nothing, and I’m tired of beating myself up on December 31 (or, more accurately, around mid-January) for not keeping up with my goals.
I was having a hard time figuring out what exactly I want in 2018, except that I want to be happier. That sounds shallow, but if you know me at all, you know that ‘happier’ doesn’t mean dancing around with little birdies on my shoulder. Happier, to me, means just Not Completely Mental. And hoo-boy, 2017 was a Completely Mental Year. Part of that had to do with the chaos that is our government, making us all feel unhinged and disgusted and terrified. The other part of it is that my Evil Step-sisters, Depression and Anxiety, along with their bastard child Insomnia, moved into my brain again this year and Would. Not. Leave.
The word I chose for 2017 was Strengthen. I’m not sure how well I did with that one. I don’t feel stronger in any area except my author/editor business. (Which, I’m not going to lie – I feel like a badass.) But other than that, I feel fragile and weak.
But that’s OK – just like a New Year’s resolution should not be a zero-sum game, neither should the One Word.
So while I do have a few very specific business goals for next year (I am releasing books, I want to blog more often, I want to hit some financial goals,) and I have some more general life goals (I want to go on more dates with my husband, I want to start swimming again, I want to meditate more often) I was having a hard time narrowing it down to one guiding word.
What it boils down to, essentially, is I want to spend 2018 being LESS OF A MISERABLE COW.
I shared this with my author gang, and then my friend Amy hit me with the right word:
“You choose how to spend your energy. You choose what gets to be in your life. You consciously and intentionally make the choices (instead of letting other people’s needs make them for you.)” –Amy Teegan
There is a lot I can’t choose. What happens in the White House. What happens when my brain decides to go haywire. What happens to my book sales.
But I can choose what I focus on (let’s start with no more Facebook scrolling.) I can choose how I respond. I can choose how I treat myself when I am tired or anxious or stressed or have insomnia. I can choose activities that make me less crazy, less frightened, less miserable cow.
I’m super excited about this word, and this new mind set. It feels right. It puts the power back in my hands.
Did you pick a word in 2018? Or make resolutions? Or skip the whole thing? Let me know!
PS – that fantastic little achievement pin was my Christmas gift from Amy, and what we have learned from this story is that Amy really, really gets me. You can get your own achievement pin on Emily McDowell’s website.