Happy New Year! I am sure you have already heard this greeting a million and one times and I am also sure you are feeling the pressure as everyone and their momma tells you their resolutions for the next year. We nod our head and smile as we listen, knowing all too well that the likelihood of the resolutions being fulfilled are rather slim. We may also reflect on the “Januaries past” of our personal resolutions that have failed and continue to haunt. I want you to hear me when I tell you that I have a different approach to New Years that has worked for me and can work for you as well (if you put the effort in).
What do I do?
I create a “ONE Word” Year.
Meaning, I come up with one word that defines a certain aspect in life that I want (and need) to work on. Here are some steps you can take in order to come up with that single word and putting it into action:1.) Self- Reflection:
This part is truly humbling. I do not want to look at myself and soul-search for things that I need to work on. Society has been pushing an “Accept me the way I am” policy; meaning I don't need to change, others need to change the way they perceive me . This thinking leaves much room for deflection and leaves little room for self-actualization and growth. Guess what, Sis? You DO NOT have it all together. And neither do I! I am an ANXIOUS, CODEPENDENT woman. Did you cringe as you read that? Because I cringed as I wrote it. It is not fun or easy to drudge up the muck of our own personal behaviors. Bringing it up initially makes me feel a little ugly. These are not the posts I put on my social media platforms?! This isn’t the side of me that I want people to see or know about. But sometimes we need to feel the discomfort of habits or characteristics that are unhealthy in our lives in order to evoke change. Sometimes we need to just acknowledge it, embrace it, and change it! And that, my friends, is beautiful! A woman who loves herself is not one who pretends that she has it all together, but is one that recognizes she has some flaws and is worth the effort it takes to become stronger and better.
2.) Write down the traits that you need to work on and beside each trait write the "opposite" that you aspire to be.
Here are a few examples:
I am FEARLESS
I am INDEPENDENT
I have FORGIVEN AND ACCEPTED
Okay, now that all my dirty laundry is out. Let me tell you how this worked for me last year! For the New Year of 2019, I did some soul-searching and I realized that most of my decisions were made with fear at the center. It was gross. I was scared of everything. So I chose to do nothing. I wanted to be done with that. I wanted to stop blaming my home life, from 15 years ago, for the way I am now. I wanted to use every day as an opportunity for growth. I wanted to be a forward thinker and realize that if I dealt with my problems then I could change.
It is so important to not focus on the deficiency, but to focus on the possibility.
Meaning, for me, I did not focus on the fear (that would make me feel like a failure), instead I dubbed 2019 as the year of fearlessness! My decisions were no longer going to have unhealthy fear at the root of it. Because I made fearlessness my focus in 2019, I learned to speak up for what I thought was right instead of being fearful of conflict, I moved to China (yes, people! You read that correctly; I moved to another country), and I have pursued things that have made me uncomfortable (like starting a YouTube channel and writing this blog). All of these opportunities would not have come into fruition if I had let fear win. I would like to note that my anxiety has not magically disappeared, rather I learned how to better recognize when anxiety started to take over my decision-making process.
3.) Write down your Word for the year in a place that you will often see!
Fun fact! Did you know that Expo Markers work on mirrors, windows, and refrigerators!
So serious. It is a game changer. I write down quotes, to-do lists, goals everywhere! I have the word Independence (my word for 2020) written on my toothpaste-splattered bathroom mirror (you can thank the two year old for that last addition).
4.) Lastly, write down (3-10) long-standing goals that will help you reach the ultimate “one-word” goal.
Resolutions often look like “ I will go to the gym three times a week.” When resolutions are too specific and confining, we can get easily discouraged and just give up when we don't live up to them. If Health is the overall goal, then the little goals could look more like “ I will become more active.” This goal does not keep you in the box of the gym and it does not put a number on it.
Here are some of my goals from last year (2019):
1.) I will tell people how I feel.
In the past, I would rather keep the peace then tell people how I am feeling. That is the way I was raised. That is just what I would do. But not telling people how I felt would often keep external peace, while keeping me from internal peace. I would often put myself in a place where I was doing things I wasn’t comfortable with or had no desire to do. I would feel anxious and do what I thought was expected of me instead of speaking up. So as I started this new tactic ( speaking up) it sometimes came out a little sloppy or it was a little late in the delivery, because I had quickly said yes, but later realized that I would rather not. Saying how you feel, in an artful manner, is a skill and not one that I have perfected; but ladies, let me tell you that it is one that I am becoming so much more comfortable with.
2.) I will partake in activities that are outside of my comfort zone.
Y’ALL, I am writing this right now. Outside of my comfort zone. I moved to China. Half of a world outside of my comfort zone. I did Asian Zumba. I can’t dance, so not only is that hilarious, but it’s totally outside of my comfort zone. I created a Youtube channel and am creating videos as a new platform.
Totally outside of my comfort zone. But can I tell you? I have grown from every single one of these out of MY comfort zone experiences. My initial goals did not look like “move to China, Asian Zumba, Start a blog.” But because I had the sub-goal of moving out of my comfort zone in order to become a fearless woman, I was able to take hold of the opportunities that the year of 2019 had presented to me.
3.) I will read more books.
The books that I read last year were not only books of leisure, but I read a few books that helped me address my year-end goal. I looked for books that specifically gave me a better understanding at why I should accomplish this goal and how I could accomplish it.
4.) I will travel.
This one led me to move to China!
5.) I will learn to acknowledge my feelings.
My husband and I would often get into arguments because I would be a ball of anxious energy that was ready to suck the life out of anyone in the room. He’d quickly run for cover, not quite understanding what the heck was going on in my mind. I was so out of touch with my feelings that I often would not know myself much less acknowledge it. But when I put those feelings into words. It gave me power. “I am feeling fearful.” He would start to understand and was able to reassure me. I was able to understand and recognize that I should take a step back from big decisions until things started to settle. Then I would start to implement whatever game plan I had created to help my mind settle. Alone time, a nice bath, uplifting music. I had to recognize the problem and acknowledge it and then I had to be humble enough to voice the problem, so I could begin dealing with it effectively.
I hope this article has helped you in some way. If you’d like to follow my other media outlets, check out my YouTube Channel in which I share some of my experiences in China, or my Instagram page which features my novice love of both photography and travel. Please Comment below and tell me what your personal word of the Year is! I would love to hear it and will be cheering you on as I live out my 2020 - THE YEAR OF INDEPENDENCE!