Phew! We made it! Anyone else feel like 2020 was both the longest year of their lives and the shortest at the same time? We are still living amidst a Global Pandemic and all that entails, yet somehow the fact that the calendar flipped and presented us with a brand new year brought a higher sense of optimism than ever before. And I have felt myself swept along with everyone else.
Years ago I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions (classic Obliger over here – never stuck to whatever resolution I made LOL!) I replaced it in 2011 with Ali Edward’s One Little Word (shout out to Ali being the headline speaker for the January Scrap Smarter Experience!) For those of you unaware of what OLW is all about, basically you choose a word to guide your intentions for the year.
Here are my chosen words from over the years (those that I can remember anyway):
2011 – Release
2012 & 2013 – Focus
2014 – Simplify
2015 – Action
2016 – Enough
2018 – Balance
2019 – Build
2020 – Expand
I’ve linked to past blog posts about my words, but there weren’t any for BUILD or EXPAND. I was too busy building and expanding to blog LOL!
Which brings us to 2021 and choosing my Word.
Finding your word, or rather, allowing your word to find you, can sometimes be a difficult thing. Trying to find an inner peace in the middle of pandemic stress, job stress, kid stress, marriage stress, and building a new business stress, is next to impossible. I have worked very hard over the last couple years to create mindfulness routines that help me stay focused and centred(ish). Since writing about shifting my focus and letting go of expectations in August, I have been working to return to these routines, and since December have redoubled my efforts. They were (and still are) greatly upset by the addition of our puppy Scout in June and my mental health has taken a hit because of it. Finding a way of incorporating Scout into those routines has been the key to success.
On one of my walks with Scout, while listening to an inspirational podcasts (can’t remember which one), I realized that I was in a constant state of comparing and it was leaving me feeling “less than”.
Comparing what I have to what the other moms at my girls’ school have (or what I perceive them to have) fills me regularly with envy and dissatisfaction with my own life.
It is hard for me to celebrate small victories because I am always looking at what didn’t happen, what didn’t get done, what still needs to be done, and what I could have done better. I would read posts from my friends and compatriots talking about how grateful they are for their children, or their husbands, or their family and I’d gag and think “how fake, that’s not really how they feel is it?”
Spoiler alert: even with the social media filters removed, they pretty much really DO feel that way!
So I have chosen a Word this year which is going to be tough for me, but which I am convinced will greatly add to my overall happiness and better mental health.
Part of my process of choosing a Word is creating an 8.5×11″ page for it. This page sits out in my office/studio where I can see it all year. It acts as a touch stone if you will. Ali Edwards has a fantastic year long course that takes you through all sorts of prompts to help you connect different areas of your life to your Word if you’re interested. I’ve done it in the past, but that is not how I choose to connect to my Word now.
For this (and all my OLW pages) I find papers and embellishments that speak to my Word or speak to the feelings I want to invite. For this one I found a paper from an old Planner Society kit that had all these great words on them that reminded me of our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. She’s famous for saying things like “be kind, be calm, be safe” and to see similar phrases on this paper that’s been in my stash for years, well, it was meant to be!
With the background chosen it was time to make space for my Word and then look for embellishments to enhance the page and fill out the story. I chose not to journal on this page, normally I write my intentions down to further solidify my touchstone. This year the words are too many and too personal so I chose to represent them with word embellishments that I found in my stash. Great stash buster activity too!
I’m sure you’ll notice there are two other words on this page – Growth and Fun. While I want to actively practice gratitude, I have big growth goals that I don’t want to forget about, and I want to invite more fun into my life these days too. It’s been a bit too “unfun” lately, and I know the road ahead of me this year is going to be full of hard things. Hard work. Hard emotions. Hard decisions. I want to remember to have fun at every opportunity I can, whether that is a glass of wine over Zoom with my book club, or a distanced walk and puppy play with a friend, or an online game with my brother and his kids. Injecting fun is high on my list for 2021!
When I wrote about my goals in August I had a 20 for 2020 list – 20 things I wanted to accomplish in 2020. Yeah, it all went into the recycling bin when it became clear how wide spread and far reaching COVID-19 was going to be. I adjusted it and tried to work on the new items but let’s be honest, the wind was taken out of my sails and the rowing to stay the course was making me exhausted!
I have made a 21 for 2021 list but I’m not ready to share it yet. Some of the items on it are pretty personal.
Why am I telling you this? For me, choosing a Word and Goal Setting is part of my January ritual. Over the years I’ve tried many different ways to visualize these goals so I can work on them and stick with them. I love writing. I love lists. I love creating pages. Making this annual visual of my goals helps me combine all those things in one project.
My advice for you? Find what YOU love and do that. Be inspired by our ScrapHappy Group and the Scrap Smarter Experience that’s happening THIS WEEKEND! (If you’re not registered, don’t worry, replay purchase options will be available shortly after the weekend so stay tuned.)
Cheers to us and to a new year! May 2021 see you safe, healthy and creating!