Happy New Year’s Eve, yall! Over the last week I’ve seen the “One Word” prompts all over social media, asking everyone what their word is for 2019.
What is it?
Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash
Well, the whole idea is based on the book “One Word That Will Change Your Life” -which is about the concept that you can walk through your year hyper-focused on one specific word, and it will reshape the way that you look at your decisions and your goals.
As one that preaches values-based decision making, I’ve always loved this.
It pops up around the beginning of each year now, because it helps us keep our values in mind as we enter the new year, and helps us to see those values in action and pursuit of our overall goals. Values win over resolutions every. single. time.
This year so far, I’ve seen several recurring ones:
…just to name a few and give you an idea of what we are talking about.
Here’s the thing about this exercise that is often overlooked.
When I hear friends and family talk about their word, they are often talking about the way it impacts other people.
For example, if “presence” is your word, you may talk about how being present for your children and your family will help you keep your priorities straight and not get lost in technology or work. You may talk about how enjoying the moments while your kids grow up, or while you are out with your partner, can help to deepen those relationships in a way that has recently been missing.
But - what does being present for yourself look like? What happens if you tune into your emotions? What happens if you sit mindfully, and check-in with yourself throughout your day, and take action based on what your body and emotions are telling you?
Being present then becomes about giving yourself permission to set boundaries, giving yourself permission to rest, and giving yourself permission to take care of yourself.
What if your word is “healing”? Are you healing relationships around you? Or are you looking internally at the wounds you hold, and taking action to mend those wounds instead of continuing to rip off the scabs in the name of being strong?
And strength - what does that look like? Is it about showing the face of resilience through adversity to others, white-knuckling through the year, or is it about flexing emotional muscles that have been ignored and strengthening those muscles in a way that has never been done before?
The answer is both. It’s always both. When choosing your word, there is generally a “self” side and an “others” side - and usually the one that we are focused on is the one that is less of a challenge to us.
So - for 2019, as you process your word and what it means to you - I want to challenge you to see all sides of your word. You can choose it for whatever reason feels right and present for you, by all means.
But take that next step of accountability and digging in.
Talk to other people about what your word means to them, and see if they offer a perspective that can stretch you further.
Journal about what the word would mean if you focused it on *you* rather than on how the word impacts others around you. Or vice versa.
My word for 2018 was “stretch.” That word as my focus taught me lots about perspective and looking deeper. I stretched my boundaries, my finances, my business, and my imagination.
For me, 2019 is about praise. Praise has a spiritual connotation which holds for me, but if I stretch that meaning - I want to admire and notice the life that I’m living in, my own accomplishments, as well as those around me. Giving praise allows me to fully appreciate where I am, and the gifts and talents of everyone else as well.
Regardless of what your word is, or even if you choose one, I wish you well in 2019. Happy New Year!
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Brooke Williams, MA, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor serving South Carolina. You can read more about her here.