Happy New Year! Yes, I know we're almost two weeks into it. That's okay--it's still pretty new. And I've been getting things in order in my house (seriously, where's that robot maid?) and in my planning. And now I'm finally feeling together enough to write something up and really get this year rolling.
What do you do for the new year? Do you make resolutions? Pick a word for the year? Skip all of that?
I skip over the resolutions for the most part. For one thing, I'm always making plans, tweaking them, setting new goals. Resolutions just feel redundant. The past couple of years, though, I have been setting experience goals. In 2013 it was to try a new restaurant every month. That one was great fun, and we found a couple of favorite spots that way. Last year the goal was to try at least one new recipe a month, and that was a pretty big success, too, even though I wasn't as on top of keeping a list of what I tried so some of the recipes are off in the ether somewhere. This year, I'm going to go on a photo walk every month. I love doing them, yet I hardly ever make the time. I'm going to go someplace new each month and take photos (I may allow myself to include a couple of favorite spots I haven't been to in years because it's been so long that they're practically new).
Now about that word. I tried it out several years ago when doing it became really popular. I loved the idea of it! I picked a word, wrote it in my journal, forgot about it by January 3. A couple of years later I decided that the problem was that I didn't have any reminders of my word, so I decided to create these fun prayer flags. I picked three words for that year and made flags for each one. I hung them in my study, and occasionally I remembered to pay attention to them, but the exercise still seemed pretty pointless to me. I quit doing the word-of-the-year for a couple of years. But so many people I really like and respect were doing this word-of-the-year thing that I wanted to give it another go. I knew, though, that I needed to do something to keep my word fresh in my mind so it could actually be a guiding light, so I held off until I could figure out something that felt like it would work.
This was four (I think?) years ago. At the same time as deciding to give the yearly word another go, I got an UnCalendar. And a great idea was born. Every week before I fill out plans and dates for the week, I write my word at the top of the left-hand page. It makes me focus on my word each week if even for a moment, plus it keeps the word right there in front of me every time I open my calendar. I won't say that I live by my words constantly, but writing it and seeing it every week does help me keep it in mind and make some decisions with that feeling in mind.
This year my word is "expansive." I have "devotion" and "bigness" alongside it to keep it company, just to see if having multiple words changes anything for me. This word, this idea of expansiveness, feels huge to me. It feels like a stretch. It feels a little scary and like living an expansive life might be something I don't know how to do. It's a good word.
Mostly the things I do to set up the new year are designed to give me a feeling of possibilities, fun, and a clean slate. I think those are great things to start a year with and much lighter than resolutions and plans to give things up and all that.
And you? What are you doing? How are you starting this new year? I'd love to hear all about it.