I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Not many of us are! Sure, I made them and, like most everyone else, had forgotten them by March. In 2014, I came across the One-Word Resolution concept where you choose a word that will help guide you throughout the year. It’s generally a word that describes who you want to be, not what you want to do, e.g., “commit” instead of “lose weight.” The word can apply to many areas of your life.
I was excited about this concept because as each year passed, I felt like my life was living me. At the end of the year, I wanted to look back and see that I developed new habits and made progress. I chose “discipline” for 2015. It ended up like a resolution; forgotten by March. I think the word’s negative connotation was too strong for me. It just wasn’t the right word.
For 2016, I chose “explore” with the intent to literally go out and explore new places. Instead, I ended up exploring myself. I did visit a few places, but I thought I had failed once again. Looking back at my “brain dump” journal entries throughout the year, I was able to see the word manifest itself differently than I had intended. Without the journal, which was a new thing I wanted to do for myself, I wouldn’t have this documentation as reference. Where “exploring” took me in 2016:
- Self-reflection leads to self-regulation (the importance of journaling). Without it, you stay stuck in the mud.
- I was surprised to learn that I have a martyr complex. Fun stuff! The aspect of a “martyr complex” that resonates with me is as a way of life and, specifically, refusing “to accept responsibility for the decisions and choices that have caused them pain or suffering.” Interestingly, I think I’ve been attempting to accept these traits as who I am and try to work with them. That’s not the person I want to be!
- I DO emotionally eat!
- I’m pretty sure I’m a viking. I’m 1/4 Swedish and 1/4 English. My wishful thinking wants the English part to be more Nordic than Anglo-Saxon. Someday I’ll take one of those genetic tests to know for sure! After watching the third season of Vikings in February 2016, I became convinced I’m a viking (who didn’t after watching that show?!) and wrote a journal entry that basically sums up the essence of what 2016 taught me; an ongoing theme throughout the year. Here’s an excerpt:
I cannot care what others think.* I read too many things that say to do this or that and its all been mucking about in my mind and thoughts, creating chaos and keeping clarity from me.
I must be reborn, shed my old ways of thinking and be true to who I am, as I reclaim knowledge of self. This must come from within me as no matter of incredibly insightful articles or personal testimony can move me in the right direction. I must do it myself, with a spirit of thanks, gratitude, and openness.
This will not be a quick fix. Just as I cannot lose 20 pounds in a week, I cannot be immediately changed and arrived at a final destination. There is no final destination, only the journey along a path that may or may not be determined by some deity or universal power. Regardless, the path is mine and mine alone and only I can discover it. **
It is not important what I should be doing or what my passion is… maybe it will be at some point in the future. But not now. It is distracting trying to figure that out without truly understanding myself. However, it is important to understand and appreciate that, like the journey, who I am will never be complete. I merely need to begin living true to myself and the rest will unfold.
* Being considerate of others and caring what they think are two very different things.
** One life. Do not care what others think of how you live it.
I expected that, at the ripe age of 45, I would have this mastered. I feel like I’m Leo the Late Bloomer and am just now waking up to myself. For 20 years I set myself aside while my two kids grew up. I was always worrying about what other people might think, how they might judge me, us. My understanding of how people label one another and box each other up paralyzed me. If you are a parent, don’t do that! If you aren’t a parent, don’t do that!
To be fair, perhaps it takes 20 years of adulting to begin to truly understand oneself.
Ok, so this is getting long. I’d like to finish up by highlighting some pretty incredible things I did in 2016. The first was researching my 18-year job history, updating my resume, and proposing a new position for myself. Guys, I can’t tell you how huge this was for me! It ranked up there with one of the things I would regret not doing, so I did it! I’m still waiting on the final offer and am prepared to negotiate.
The other thing is starting a 365 Project. I’ve loved photography for many years and its been an on/off again hobby. On December 1, 2016, I attended a gallery show opening for a photographer I follow on Instagram. Patricia Lay-Dorsey is a woman in her 70s, she has multiple sclerosis, uses a wheelchair to get around, but most importantly she’s an amazing person and an inspiration. During her talk, one thing she said that really stuck with me was “trust your gut.” So upon returning to my office and while waiting for my husband to pick me up, I decided I would start my project right then and there, and I haven’t missed a day!
Which brings me to my one-word resolution for 2017: Gut(s). After mulling over three different words since November, I was suddenly struck with GUT about a week ago. For me, it means three different things and I do love words with layered meaning.
- Heal my gut.
- With each bite, does it heal my gut?
- Trust my gut.
- With each decision, does it feel right?
- Have the gut(s).
- Basically the equivalent of “just do it!”
I love this word and am very excited about how it will shape things this year. Do you have a one-word resolution? Or any resolutions at all?
And if you read through all that and got this far, thank you. You deserve a cookie!