I don’t like to lament about how quickly time passes but 2019 truly went by in a flash! It’s hard to believe it’s already December and time for me to decide on a word that will be my theme, my touchstone for the upcoming year. I write about this practice every year because it has been much more beneficial to me than the typical New Year’s resolutions and I love sharing the things that work for me with you! (Learn more about my experience with One Little Word® here.)
Last year I chose a word that truly freaked me out: FEARLESS. As soon as I came upon it, I knew that the visceral reaction I was having meant it was exactly what I needed. And that absolutely turned out to be the case. FEARLESS pushed me outside my comfort zone in all aspects of my life. Here are some of the things that my word helped me accomplish in 2019:
1. I started the year creating the online video course Too Much STUFF!, a guide to decluttering your life in middle age and beyond, with friend and psychologist, Nicole Christina. This was a wholly new venture for me and I learned a ton about translating my teaching into the online medium.
2. I invested in a program with Sarah Morgan, solopreneur business coach and owner of XO Sarah, who I have been following for years. I generally run my business on a lean budget and this course was a stretch for me, but I knew learning her strategies for marketing and launching digital products would have long-term benefits. It was even better than I anticipated, and I’ll be putting her lessons to use in an upcoming launch very soon!
3. My good friend and local photographer Alice G. Patterson has been rocking her own business this year with her Group Membership Program: a monthly photo shoot and networking group for women entrepreneurs. For months I debated joining and I finally pushed past my fears of putting images of myself out there, which is so important for a service-based business like mine. Having a library of of high-quality photos from Alice has been invaluable, and the connections I’ve made with the other women in the group have also been personally and professionally rewarding.
4. My focus on being FEARLESS this year helped me to open up and share more of myself with both the people in my life and my audience. I wrote about losing my father and getting divorced; going through a difficult time this summer; and reflecting on my past. I reached out to friends and family when I was struggling and I spoke to a therapist. Few things are as scary to me as being vulnerable and asking for help, but I’m slowly learning that when I do the response is overwhelmingly positive and supportive. The personal posts that make me feel a little sick before I hit publish are the same ones that get the most enthusiastic response, every single time.
5. The most difficult but impactful event that FEARLESS helped me process this year was coming to terms with the end of my long-term relationship with my partner. I have felt deep sadness about this, but after months of internal debate I know that it was the right thing to do. I spent the entirety of the last decade with this person in my life and the thought of ringing in 2020 being single is pretty scary. But if FEARLESS has taught me anything, it’s that if I can lean into the discomfort of the present moment, there are great lessons and sunnier days on the other side.
So this brings me to my choice of word for 2020, and I am so giddy about this I can hardly wait for the year to begin! I have been struggling lately to manage my time effectively and stick with positive habits, so I knew I wanted my word to help me cultivate a better routine. I considered words like Priority, Focus, Habit, and Practice, but as a person who tends to already be quite rigid I thought these might push me into compulsiveness. I made use of the thesaurus and came across the word that felt like just what I needed: GROOVE!
I like that GROOVE is multifaceted. It speaks to getting into the groove of beneficial habits or an effective workflow. But it also can be encouragement to take time out for fun, as in let’s groove tonight. I plan to document my year and check in regularly with my word in this journal. I’m not sure yet what it means to GROOVE my life, but I’m excited to find out in 2020!
If you typically try and fail at New Year’s resolutions, I encourage you to give the practice of One Little Word® a try. It does not need to be time-consuming or complicated. For several years I simply posted the word around my home and let it percolate in the background of my thoughts, and I still felt the benefits. If you do, I would love to know what word you choose!
If you found these tips helpful be sure to subscribe to the Pretty Neat weekly email! You'll get a short and sweet message each week with my best advice for a more beautiful and functional home. Click here to sign up, and you'll also receive my FREE guide: How to Get Rid of Stuff!
Make it fab!