Before January comes to an end, I wanted to write a little bit about the start of the year. I won’t lie, New Year’s Day wasn’t a fun one for me. I spent the majority of the day on the couch and on my phone, trying to somehow reconcile what this grand idea of a “New Year” means. Everyone seems to make a big deal about it, so it must be important!
I added eight (yes, 8!) new habits to my Habit Tracker app but didn’t actually do any of them that day. I was grouchy and frustrated because a lot of the goals I wanted to set for myself just didn’t seem possible. 1) Get back into a fitness routine – can’t do that until I get this hip injury figured out; it just hurts too much. 2) Spend less time on my phone and more time reading or being creative – but I need to spend time on my phone to organize all of this! How will I know if I’m reading if I don’t check it off on my habit tracker app?! 3) Eat healthier and just in general take better care of myself – but we don’t really have anything healthy to eat here right now and I don’t feel like going out so…
As you can see, it was a mess. Some excuses are legitimate (the hip pain is real), but mostly I was just being crabby and overwhelming myself with what I thought I should want for this big, wonderful, exciting NEW YEAR!!! (eye roll)
Amidst all of this chaos in my thoughts and feelings, I did one good thing. I filled out an end / start of the year workbook. I wouldn’t say the workbook was exceptionally great, but what it introduced to me was. After muddling my way through numerous, “Envision your perfect 2020 – what does it look like?” mundane questions I got to a section about picking the word of the year. At first I rolled my eyes at this concept (hmm, I feel like I rolled my eyes a lot that day…) but really it started to make sense. One word. One thing to focus on. That’s all! Not 10 different goals and endless habits and things to track. Just one thing, that I can keep as my focus and use as my tool to decide what choices I will make this year.
I was in such a funk by this point that when I tried thinking of my Word of the Year, I couldn’t think of a single one – me, the vocabulary nerd, all out of words! The examples given were lackluster and didn’t feel right to me, and when I finally gave up and turned to Google, the results were mainly things like: Strength, Determination, and even Bloom (eyerolleyerolleyeroll!!!)…
Finally, I found a list of suggested Words of the Year on Pinterest that looked promising. Scanning it, my eyes landed the word and I felt a little lurch in my belly: BALANCE.
This was definitely it. For the first time since starting the workbook, I was actually excited about something. Balance is desperately needed in my life. I tend to go from zero to 100 in almost everything, and then burn myself out just as fast. What if I start to approach things in my life in a slower, more balanced manner? When considering a change in my life, what if I first ask myself, “Will this help to bring balance into my life?”
Nothing is perfect, and making balance my Word of the Year hasn’t dramatically changed my life, but it has really changed how I see this overwhelming crush of goals, resolutions, etc. that flows over us whenever a new year begins. I still have small ambitions for myself to work towards, but the overarching goal is to maintain that balance in my life and not get swept up.
So far it’s working really well! After about two weeks of torturing myself I deleted the habit tracker app. I was looking at it and thinking “Damn, I only read my book four times this week instead of my goal of every single day, I failed.” And wow, what a harsh perspective to put on ourselves, right?! Now, if I get into bed and read for 30 minutes it’s because I really wanted to, not because I was a slave to some little robot in my phone. And if I choose to leave the book on the nightstand and get a few extra minutes of sleep, or have a chat with Jacob about our days before we turn out the lights, well then, that’s balance.