The past few years I've been hesitant about setting big resolutions. If I knew they were going to be so hard to keep (and I'd likely fail), then why bother? So I'm focusing on the fact that the New Year is really about starting with a fresh outlook and feeling a new sense of hope and determination to go after the things I value. I'm making small, thoughtful goals right now, like reading The Productivity Project to get tips on being more efficient with my time and taking on this 30 Day yoga challenge to calm my mind and get my body moving on a regular basis.
I am choosing a power word for 2018 though.
The idea of focusing on an affirmation is a great tool for dealing with anxiety and for nudging your perspective a bit (studies show it can have a powerfully positive affect on the brain). By choosing a single word to focus on rather than a resolution, it's less overwhelming and you’re honing in on a feeling or idea that you value. (In an interview in the November 2017 issue of Marie Claire, Mila Kunis says she uses power words. Her word for 2017? Openness.)
Of course, choosing a word isn't always simple. And I know affirmations aren't everyone's thing, so use this idea in a way that works for you. It could be a word that makes you laugh, that reminds you to think positive, that encourages you to believe in yourself when you’re feeling defeated. Or it could be a phrase, a song lyric, a movie quote. As long as you'll remember it and it has meaning to you, it becomes your power word.
My word came to me a bit out of nowhere when I was listening to a guided meditation one morning last week. (That sounds very hippy-dippy, I know, but meditating really does help me to let go and calm my mind. And it makes it easier for ideas like this to pop up.)
The power word I'm going with is "gentle."
Doesn't actually sound so powerful, right? The thing is, being gentle—gentler to myself especially—is powerful to me. I'm trying to work through that negative voice in my head that eats away at me at 3 in the morning or whispers that I'll never be good enough to do X, Y and Z.
"Gentle" sounds soft and warm to me and it feels right. It means being kinder to myself. In my eyes, being more aware of how I'm treating myself makes space for me to be kinder to others, to go after my goals with confidence and to be gentler with myself when I fail—and gentler with others when I feel disappointed or hurt.
Will I meet every moment of 2018 gently?
Noooo, haha. I plan to use this power word as my strength though: my fall-back, my reminder that being gentle to myself is my power. 💪🏼
What's your power word for 2018? I'd love to hear. I'll check back in at the end of 2018 (!) and let you know how it went for me with "gentle." ;)
Photograph by Carrington King