This week we are going to focus on this year and slowly start to ease into planning and some low risk goal setting. Every year I choose one word instead of resolutions. It was started by Ali Edwards and is called #onelittleword and you can find out from the master of one word goal setting here. I found out about Ali and the project through one of my all time favourite people to follow on the internet who I have been following for nearly 10 years - Elise Joy! (Her newsletter is one of the best I receive!).
The basic premise is each year you choose a different word and this is the lens in which you view the next year instead of writing a list of set (quickly forgotten) goals.
My last two words have been 'invest' and 'sustain.'
Reading the sustain one back - 'Just remember this year is like any other' oh how little did we know the year we were all about to face together. The best thing about choosing a word rather than a set list of goals is you can interpret that word in different ways throughout the year. By choosing quiet open words they will grow alongside you and their meaning and drive in your life will evolve.
Sustain meant something very different for me at the beginning of the year than it did at the end of it. At the beginning it was sustain - enjoy where we are - take a break. By the end of it, it was all you need to do is sustain. Basic needs only. Everything else was asking too much. My word was open enough to grow with me through one of the most unexpected years of our lifetime.
A good example of choosing an open word is a conversation I was having with mum and about their (my parents') word of the year. I know, they share a word - couple goals! They were going to go for 'read' because they wanted to read more. Well I don't know about you but reading went right out of the window for me in 2020 so I would maybe have felt like a failure because I didn't read.
So instead of 'read' think about why you want to read. I want to 'learn', I want to 'grow', I want to 'challenge'. These alternatives would have grown and changed in meaning much more easily than 'read'.
You may want to start with your word and then find goals from there. A word might find you or you may have to go in search of one. You might want to think about the kinds of changes you want to make and think of a word which will help with those goals. I always find it good looking at Ali's list of ideas which you can find here.
A good way to start once you have a your word is to find the definition and write both the word and definition down somewhere visible to you everyday. You might just want to sit with it for a while and not make any solid plans. Just let it breath for a while. You might want to come up with some initial thoughts about how this word might look and shape your life in 2021.
This year a word didn't instantly stick out to me so I put together some photos of what I want more of next year. They are mostly flowers, sea swimming and time with my boys. I was going to go for 'intentional', 'believe' or 'purpose' but all of them felt far too serious - far too much pressure after the year we have all just had.
Instead I have gone for - Play.
Through all of the seriousness of the last year and quite frankly all of the seriousness of my twenties, I've decided the last year of before I hit the big 3-0 is dedicated to 'Play'.
To find the simple joys and pleasure in play.
Play ~ verb ~ engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
Play has been something I have become more and more interested in over the last year. Reggie wants to play more and if I'm honest it is actually more enjoyable now. Play until now has been very boring! I love showing him the different ways we can play with his toys and joining in with his imaginary play. I've always found being invited to play by a child a great privilidge and one I don't take for granted.
But I think there is a lot more need for play within my life and experiences as well.
I have always been an old soul and I always take things too seriously. It probably does not help that the last decade has given us some pretty rubbish cards to play with. Life was desperate for a long time and my capacity for play was gone. If you are in that space then I am here. I understand. Life for us, for a long time, felt hopeless and at times pointless. But over the last few years, after a lot of hard work and counselling our foundation is strong again. So we have more room to play.
I think for a long time I hadn't seen the sense or reason for play. There was no time. One person who plays for fun is my dad.
We are in a band and he loves playing and performing. I, in a way, have taken a long time to understand why. He doesn't enjoy it because it might make him famous, or make him money. But for him playing and performing is just play - he does it just for fun. Imagine that. Doing something purely because it brings joy. No expectations. No requirements. No pressure. Just fun.
So what will play look like for me this year? Some initial thoughts. Always fluid and subject to change!
Here are a few places I have already started with that last point.
I am a patron of @the_playful_den who I found on Instagram who shares so much valuable insight into her expertise on play for both children, teens and adults.
Finding all of the podcasts talking about play and its' effect on our minds, body and our energy - including this episode from Brené Brown.
So that is where I am at so far - tentatively walking into 2021 ready to play!
I hope you feel inspired to choose a word of the year and do let me know what you choose and share with me over on Instagram or here!
I will use these newsletters to send out some prompts and resources throughout the year to help use our words to make small and simple changes to make life lovely!
Have a wonderful week!