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New Year, New Words

Tuesday December 28, 2021

We made it through 2021! Whew. I don’t know about you, but this year was a rollercoaster of life. If you are caregiving, I am sure your 2021 had its ups and downs too.

At the beginning of every new year, I hear people talk about setting resolutions. I have NEVER been one to set resolutions because I know myself. A New Year’s resolution is just one more thing that I probably won’t get done. When I mess it up or fall off the bandwagon, I feel like a failure. So much pressure on myself! As you can tell, I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, so let me give you a different idea to consider.

Each year, I choose a word of focus. It doesn’t have to be just one word. It could be a short phrase or even a simple quote. It just needs to be easy to remember. My word for the year is never a quick decision but something that I really think about and consider before choosing.

When I have chosen my word, I put it all around me in places I will see it daily. Having this word around is something that can center me and will help direct my thoughts on good days… and especially on bad days.

Let me give you some examples of words that I have used in the past.

Purposeful – When I was struggling with decisions that I needed to make, this word helped me focus on the correct decision. When I was having a bad day, my word reminded me that I needed to be purposeful in my actions and my words.

Inspire – When I was facing issues at work, I would remind myself to try to inspire someone with the decisions that I made and how I conducted myself. As I was having conversations with caregivers at work, I tried to make my focus not only on helping as usual but also on inspiring the person to do what was needed to push through and to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Family – At one point, I remember feeling like I was so busy, being pulled 1000 directions. My priorities were so out of whack that I just didn’t have time to spend with my family like I wanted. When someone asked me to head up a committee or attend an event, I would remind myself of my word, “family,” and decide if participating in whatever it was would pull me closer to family or pull me away. Guess what, that year I made some better decision for myself and spent a lot more time with my family by simply saying No to other things.

What do you want your focus to be in this upcoming year?

Perhaps you want your focus to be Love – showing love to those around you and focusing on the love that others are showing you. Maybe you want your word to be Relax so you can remind yourself that it is okay to slow down and catch your breath. To just enjoy the moments with those close to you. Maybe you will choose Kindness, so you can remind yourself to be kind to others even in the hard times or to be appreciative of the kindness that you are shown.

Or perhaps Listen to remind yourself to do more listening than speaking. It could remind you to really listen to your loved one and try to figure out underlying messages that they are trying to tell you. Or maybe your word will be Health, so you can be reminded to focus on your own health rather than just putting it on the backburner.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this. If you need a place to start, make a list of potential words and phrases. Do a search for “words of inspiration” or “words of action” or “words of purpose.” Gather your list and think on it. Take off anything that makes you feel guilty or doesn’t seem to fit. Narrow it down to one word or phrase.

Then, write it out. You can print it out and put it around where you will see it. I put it on my agenda that I will look at every day. It is on my mirror at home. I also have it on a sticky note on the sun visor of my car. On those really bad days, I have written it on my hand. Some days I will Google my word and read something about it – a definition or story. This helps me center and keep focus.

I have already given several suggestions for words, but maybe one of these will strike you:

  • Impact
  • Breathe
  • One moment at a time
  • Kindness
  • Write
  • Faith
  • Create Memories
  • Be real, not perfect
  • Self-Love
  • Self-Care
  • Patience
  • Brave
  • Compassion
  • Grateful

What will your word be for 2022? 

Written by Sheri Wammack, LBSW