Back in 2018, and every year since, I began choosing a guiding word-of-the-year—otherwise known as WOTY. The idea is to pick a word as your one overarching theme or intention and then integrate it into life in the coming year. I’ve put quite a bit of thought into my word this year—more than any of the others. And although it wasn’t my first choice, “Trust” is the word I want to use as my guide during the 365 days of 2021.
Why trust? A big reason is because it keeps popping up in articles and books I’ve been reading. Then yesterday, when it showed up prominently while listening to a podcast, I knew it needed to be front and center in my life. What do I mean by “trust?” I believe it is a key to trusting that still small voice within me, farther and deeper than I have before. It also reminds me to trust the Universe (and yeah I know we all define it differently) in ways that never underestimates the love, acceptance and benevolence It has for me and us all. What might that look like? I trust that it will be greater self-awareness, self-compassion and self-acceptance. At the end of the year you might not notice any difference, but I sure hope I do!
And if 2020 was any example, our WOTY often shows up in ways we least expect it. Last year my word was “Yes!” Can you believe it? I wanted to stay engaged, open and willing to explore any and all things that Life might bring about for me. The intention was that it would open me up to embracing more possibilities and growth for myself in known and unknown ways. As usual with a WOTY, I began repeating it to myself as much as possible by writing it in my daily journal and putting a lot of focus on what it meant and where it might lead me. Then COVID-19 happened.
Honestly, there were a few times in the last 365 days when I wanted to conveniently forget about the word and do nothing but drink wine, pig out on chocolate cake and read lightweight novels. I didn’t want to say YES! to abandoning my very well made and detailed travel plans for the summer. I didn’t want to accept the restrictions of COVID life or the news about how threatening it was to human life—not to mention the world as we knew it. In addition I definitely didn’t want to accept the turmoil, divisiveness uncertainty happening within the political world. But even though I did consider giving up the word, I didn’t. And I would like to believe that I (eventually) managed to learn and grow from the experience. If nothing else, I am happy I was alive at the end of 2020 and able to say “Yes! to a brand-new year.
So while 2020 didn’t turn out the way I planned or expected, I still think it was a good one. I guess when your WOTY is YES you still manage to find the pony in the shit. (I hope you all know the joke that phrase refers too!) I did, and because I did I’m happy to report a number of things that I became and accomplished in 2020.
- I continued SMART Living 365 (except for one month of hiatus) even though there were several times when my doubt about its (and my) worth bubbled up inside me.
- I recorded and published ten Vlogs on YouTube with my husband Thom. I had the idea before COVID, and while more challenging than anticipated, I’m glad we stuck with it.
- I started daily Spanish lessons in August and have continued every single day since. I’m not fluent, but I’m making progress on this long-term goal.
- Decided to accept and say yes to some of the physical changes in my body as I age. For one thing I allowed my hair to grow out its natural gray—definitely not something I had planned before this year. I also decided to take two different medications that were prescribed to me after several years of trying everything I could to avoid them. Rather than resist these and other bodily changes, I said yes to loving and accepting myself as I am.
- I began actively participating in the November election both by donating money along with my time and efforts in ways that I had never done before.
- I stopped censoring of many of my thoughts and understandings about what I see happening in our country—and around the world in an effort to be more “acceptable” to others (be they family members, so-called-friends, or even readers of SMART Living.)
- I felt guided to begin writing more openly about my thoughts, impressions and what really matters to me more than ever before.
- I learned to accept that certain friends and family are not my “true tribe,” and that it is better to let go of them and find my real tribe, rather than betray my true Self and attempt to win their love and approval.
- Said yes to being grateful as much as possible for my relationship with Thom, where I live, my financial state, the health of myself (and nearly everyone I knew), the opportunities I DO have and so much more of the good in my life.
Did having YES as my WOTY help me to accomplish all those items (and much more)? I believe it did. Every day when I wrote the idea of the word in my journal, I was reminded that I wanted/accepted/hoped to be open to what showed up for me—and that walked me through it. Sometimes easily, sometimes kicking and screaming, but always forward. And frankly I can’t think of any better reason to pick any word for the year than that.
If you are still wondering how WOTY all works I invite you to read my first post about choosing one and pick one for yourself. That post is HERE. If you already have a word, please share it with me and everyone because I do believe accountability helps fulfill it. Whatever you do, please consider that if we don’t set intentions for ourselves, we may find ourselves exactly in the same place 365 days from now. Instead, if you want to continue to grow and experience your life as fully as possible, the SMART choice would be to pick a WOTY and see what happens. Oh, and I “trust” that 2021 will turn out to be a great year for us all.