I love the beginning of a new year. A chance to replace the worn, coffee-stained calendar on my desk with one that is crisp and clean, unmarred by scribbles, doodles, and on-the-fly notes. January 1st is an automatic mile marker in time, an external cue that prompts a process of reflecting over the previous year and envisioning the days ahead of us.
For me, this means a retrospective in the lightest possible version of the word, and imagining a future steeped in expansiveness, possibility, opportunity, and abundance.
Nothing quite like foot surgery to capture an unexpected gift of time for contemplation.
Gazing behind me:
What worked well?
What brought me joy?
Where did I come up short?
Where did I get distracted?
Where could I have used more support?
When did I remain silent when I needed to be vocal?
Where could I have had more impact?
What unfinished business do I hope to carry forward with me into the new year?
What lessons did I learn that I want to remember as I approach that which lies ahead of me?
When did I say no when I wish I had said yes?
Do I have any regrets, and if so, what can I do differently the next time?
What habits served me well, which do I want to shed, and what new ones do I want to welcome into my life?
Did I live up to my values?
Did I live a life that was consistent with the story I write in my head each morning, the words I speak to my family, my co-workers, my friends, my colleagues, and my tribe?
Looking at the vast landscape ahead:
What is my purpose?
How can I live a deeply meaningful life?
With business, if my goal is ‘no surprises’, what do I need to anticipate? How can I best prepare myself and my team for what we do not yet know?
How can I welcome more joy, more laughter, more adventure?
How can I nudge myself to say ‘yes’ more frequently when it comes to the people near and dear to my heart?
How can I learn to say ‘no thank you’ when I feel pressured to say yes?
How can I lead with more integrity, more clarity, more vision?
How can I have better follow-through in all areas of my life?
How can I make more of a difference in the lives of my family, friends, co-workers, and in my community?
What else can I do to help me wake up each day and be grateful for the person reflected back to me in the mirror?
What can I do each day to ensure that at the end of this year, I will be able to look over my shoulder and see progress?
How can I dedicate more energy toward acknowledging and celebrating reaching each new mile marker?
Throughout the reflection and imagining, I mull over words. Try them on for size, searching for the one word that will serve as my guardrails as I move forward throughout the year. My north star. My lighthouse for the next 365 days.
My words have varied. From sparkle to grace. Grace to yes. Today, a blank canvas awaits.
A friend suggested choosing three words instead of one. Always open to something new, I decide this will be the year of three.
Welcome to my words for 2021:
Communication (noun): a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) For me, consistent and open communication strengthens connection and trust. It’s an area in my life begging for more attention.
Fortitude (noun): strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Fortitude will help ensure my decisions and choices are in alignment with my core values, regardless of the sacrifice required to honor these values. It is time to replace doubt with courage, fear with resilience, despondency with faith.
Cultivate (verb): to foster the growth of (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). There is so much to cultivate. Internal growth. Progress within a community. Better systems within a business. Friendships, relationships, knowledge. The word cultivate fills me with infinite hope that anything receiving attention, sustenance and energy can grow into something truly extraordinary.
I feel the importance of this upcoming year. Decisions that will impact many. Opportunities that demand a shift from reactive to proactive. Each choice, in so many ways, representative of that unblemished calendar waiting for me to fill in the blank squares with that which I hope to accomplish throughout this year.
I encourage everyone to pause. To reflect. To imagine. To dream.
I encourage everyone to ponder what word (or three) would guide, motivate, and remind you every day of where you want to land at the end of December.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and safe year.
With gratitude, sparkle, grace, yes, communication, fortitude and much to cultivate.