Hello, everyone! Today, I thought I’d share my word of the year for twenty nineteen! In case you haven’t already guessed by the photo above, the word I’ve chosen for this year is impermanence.
The timing of this post might seem a little strange since it’s the middle of February and not January 1st (when most people would be posting and sharing their new year’s goals), however, I actually think this is the perfect time to re-focus because I find this is about the time during the year when all my ambitious new year’s goals fall to the wayside!
I gave up setting (usually giant and unachievable) new year’s goals a couple of years ago. Through instagram, I found a little community of people who choose to set words of the year rather than lists of goals. This really resonated with me because, frankly, a word of the year is much easier to remember than a whole list of goals! I have anxiety, and when there are too many things to do and not enough time, my anxiety loves to show up and remind me of how stressed I should be :) Setting a word of the year has helped me simplify things, has forced me to decide what truly matters to me, and allows me to set a more holistic theme that I can use to approach any decision or situation in the upcoming year.
Last year, I chose balance as my word of the year and it truly shaped my year for the better. Remembering to keep things balanced really allowed me to be kinder to myself. In areas where I might’ve beat myself for not working hard enough, having this overarching theme of balance reminded me that not every day was about working day in and day out! While I might work my butt off one day, the next day, I might lounge around the house with very little motivation - and that’s completely okay! The idea of balance helped me treat myself with more compassion and allowed me to enjoy my down time rather than feeling guilty.
This year, I settled on the word impermanence because it’s really struck a chord with me after my first semester of graduate school. As much as I tried to prepare for the intensity that is a PhD program, nothing can truly prepare you for the onslaught of work and high expectations it throws your way! Through the more difficult exams, projects, and research roadblocks, knowing that nothing will last forever has helped immensely. That feeling of not knowing what I’m doing and feeling like I’m so far behind? Impermanent. That feeling of anxiety before a big presentation? Impermanent. The 100th freezing cold, snowy day in Wisconsin? Also impermanent! I’m really happy with what I’ve chosen as my focus for twenty nineteen. The concept of impermanence as already helped me immensely and I know it will continue to help me keep things in perspective throughout this year.
I also wanted to share that I didn’t settle on this word until the end of January! I think it’s incredibly important to give adequate time and thought to what you want the focus of your year to be. At first, I thought I’d continue to focus on balance because it had been working so well for me, however, it didn’t resonate with me the same way it had a year ago. I felt like I’d grown past the idea of balance and already adopted it fully into my life. Learning to let things go and overcoming the anxiety that’s come with graduate school is a new challenge I’ve faced over the past couple of months and the idea of impermanence felt like a more appropriate starting point. All of which is to say, take your time deciding on your focus for the year! There’s nothing special about January 1st so don’t put so much pressure on yourself and choose a focus that truly resonates with who you are and what you need this upcoming year.
What are you themes for the new year? How do you plan to grow and challenge yourself this year? I’d love to hear about your twenty nineteen plans!