• Stephanie

The Word, The Opportunity

I dislike resolutions. I have made many a resolution in the past and zero, I mean ZERO of them have come to fruition, much less made it past January. I would always go into it with the best of intentions but lose steam along the way. I stopped making resolutions once I met Bryan and decided that rather than set my sights on changing something in the new year, I would focus the energy on reflection and gratitude for what the previous year had brought; celebrating the wins and learning from the hardships.


Another thing I dislike...? The phrase "new year, new me" just completely rubs me wrong. It's as if when we say these words, we are admitting to the universe that we are broken, needing to be rebuilt, and I for one refuse to believe that anyone needs a complete reboot. To my core, I believe that everyone has excellent qualities and characteristics that are the foundation to becoming their best self. I believe that at any time in a person's life, they have the opportunity to be better, become more.


Often there is an epiphany to do so when something drastic happens; a surprising or tragic loss, near death experience, new health diagnosis, big shift in life like moving or job change. Just the same, every year we all have the chance to start fresh and focused when the ball drops and offers us a new opportunity for self growth and enrichment. Rather than use the phrase "new year, new me," I propose that we say, "new year, better me." Rather than replacing, we should be focusing on evolving and transforming.


Three years ago, two months into starting my business, I was introduced to the concept of picking a word to carry throughout the new year that would guide my direction and lead to growth. At that time, I was still pretty new in the parenting game with my almost six month old twins and Bryan and I were working hard to find balance in our efforts toward our marriage, kids, Bryan's career, my new business...life was overwhelming and I felt stretched super thin!


I pondered for a very short amount of time that year, settling on "Presence" for my 2018 word. I knew I had a lot on my plate and I wanted to be fully present in each area of my life, but being mindful of not letting one area spill over or cloud another area. By the time 2018 was coming to an end, I was admittedly shocked at the work I had done and the progress I made so naturally, I picked a word again for 2019. "Me"...it was a huge undertaking!


In becoming a mom, while finding the absolute best part of myself in loving the two tiny people we created, I also lost sight of me! I slipped into the habit of not taking care of myself and while I identified as a wife, mom, CEO of the household, master of the schedules, for the life of me, I was struggling to see or understand myself beyond that. So for the last 365 days, I worked religiously on making time for self care and rediscovering the person I am, outside of my role in the home and family.


This year I embarked on a path that began with a vision to better understand myself. I listened to so many Audiobooks, TED talks, and Podcasts that reframed how I see myself both presently and in the past. I am happy to share the list with anyone looking to work on finding and redefining themselves in 2020. With the urging and help of my amazingly supportive husband, I started taking one night each week to do something for myself; photography class, meeting up with friends, crafting, starting a blog, laying in bed to recharge while binge watching Grey's.


This work was undoubtedly powered by the work I did in 2018 to become more present and began to spill over into other areas of myself that I didn't plan to fine tune. I started working on understanding myself better as a wife, mom, daughter, friend. I've not perfected any of it but I think that the work we do on "self" is a lifelong journey that evolves with the seasons of our lives.


I think 2019 was my best year yet. In 35 years I have never understood myself better, loved myself more, or taken better care of myself. Here's the really crazy part though, I know there is so much more to unwrap and I am excited to carry this year's work into the new year with my new focus on 2020. I didn't ponder very long before I nestled right into my word and concept for the coming year and I am so pumped to get started! In 2020, I will work on my goal of "Minimalism" in every aspect of life.


In working on "Me" I came to a couple of strong realizations about myself that I believe are desperately in need of attention. I have OCD characteristics, coupled with a terrible case of indecisiveness and both can be quite crippling at times. Far too much of my time is focused on being hung up on decisions and obsessing about things not being in their place. In working toward minimalism my hope is to create less distraction in decision making and less things requiring order. This means that I will be in a year long voyage to purge, declutter, and fine tune; this will be a lifelong practice. If I don't LOVE it, it's gone. If I'm not sure, it stays and I reassess at a later time. I love organizing so this is right in my wheel house!


Aside from the physical minimalizing, I know I need to work hard on my brain storage. Embarking on this part of my goal will probably make the physical purge seem like a cake walk. My brain is on overdrive most of the time; managing schedules, lists, combating some negative talk that is still lingering, and it also features a reel that plays in my mind of my shortcomings and wrong doings of the past. I struggle immensely with forgiving myself and letting things go. As much as I am excited to have more order in our home, it pales in comparison to my need for this part of the minimalism journey.


I plan to work hard to remove negative or unwanted clutter from my brain, leaving myself with good memories, positive affirmations, hopes, and dreams. This part will be hard and I am certain that this will be my biggest undertaking yet but I am ready to ease the weight and burden within my brain. The brain decluttering concept is simple; rid the bad, leave the good, and rather than having empty space where the bad once was, that space is instead just deleted.


Essentially, you create less for the brain to hold and thus, less work for the brain librarian; I am positive that the execution of this will be no small task. I also am unsure that it will be fully completed by the time 2020 wraps up in a year. What I do know is that thus far, the previous year's work and focus rolls over helping to power the new task at hand but still needing attention itself. The great thing about devoting a whole year to a concept or word is it gives you room for error and also room to make some serious change. Potentially best of all though is that working toward something for a year makes it a deep rooted habit so you get the rest of your life to continue to perfect it.


I can't speak for anyone but myself but I know that I am devoted to constantly working toward creating the best version of myself and I know this to be true of many people in my inner circle. Over the last two years of picking a word and working at unwrapping it, I have done more work toward finding the best me than ever before and I cannot wait for another year of discovery and challenge.


Whether it's something you used to do and want to readdress, currently do and are excited for this year, or are looking to adopt this concept, I would LOVE to hear from you! There is nothing better when setting goals for yourself and then working alongside an accountability partner; I'm always looking to add more of those to my network. So, what is your word for 2020? Let's kick off a new day, month, year, decade with drive and focus, growing and learning to love who we are and rising up to so much more. New year, better me; let's do this!

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