When I first moved to Austin about 11 years ago, I was part of a wonderful women’s group who participated in the practice of choosing a word for the year. I honestly can’t tell you what my word was for that year, but I remember the idea really sticking with me. There’s something very focused about sitting in reflection of a past year and thinking about what you may need, want to be more like, or aspire more of in the coming year. At the end of the year, I remember our group sharing how their word “showed up” for them throughout the year. It was really amazing and powerful to see how our words and themes came up through the year!
As I sat yesterday and was reflecting on ALL that happened in 2020, I really felt like 1 word wasn’t going to cut it for 2021. In fact, 3 words kept coming to mind.
Grace. Hope. Peace.
Let me share a bit about why these are my words for 2021.
Grace - I don’t know of anyone who didn’t need grace more than ever in 2020 and for me, right now, I don’t expect that to change much in 2021. However, I learned that I am usually quick to give my friends, family, and coworkers grace, yet very slow and reluctant to give myself grace. In 2021, I want to be quicker to give myself grace. When dinners just don’t come together and we end up getting takeout more than I think is “healthy” for our family. Grace. When I don’t get the Christmas cards in the mail by Christmas. Grace. New Years cards are just fine. I still don’t know exactly how grace will show up in my own life, but gosh, I’m just so determined to be gracious to myself as much as I am to those who I love and care about.
Hope - Am I the only one holding my breath a little as we start 2021 today? A little cautious about being too hopeful for a better, more “precedented” year? Hope is a core value of mine. When I make decisions, it’s through the filter of hope. Hope as a verb is defined as “to expect with confidence”. That’s the version of hope that I’m walking into 2021 with - expecting with confidence. When I work with clients, I often will tell them that I’m holding onto enough hope for them and when they’re ready, they’ll pick it up themselves. I have hope that we can each work through big feelings, hard challenges, and keep moving towards a healthier in every way version of ourselves. 2020 was hard. Of course it was. But trust me when I say I’m holding onto enough hope for each of us that 2021 will be better.
Peace - When I think of peace I think of the feeling that comes after you inhale a big, huge breath, hold it, and let it all whoosh out. The second immediately after you exhale. Peace. Can you imagine having more of that feeling on a regular basis? Who wouldn’t want that. For me, peace is something that was fleeting through last year. For many reasons - there was a lot of unknown, a lot of unrest, and a lot of change. And while there will always be unknowns and change, I’m taking a hard look at what I can do to bring more peace to my mind and heart. How can I be a wife, mom, daughter, and friend who cultivates peace? I know it starts with me being grounded and present. It starts with me having quiet moments to pause, pray, breathe, and listen. In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear writes that it’s usually not our determination to hit our goals that fails, it’s our systems. For example, I know that I am never going to get up early to work out. But I also know that I want to lose weight. So, if I create a system or plan that gives me time to workout in the afternoon or evening, then I’ll exercise and lose weight. I think the same thing applies to the idea of cultivating peace. What systems in your life need a little adjusting to create more peace in your mind and heart? What are the “pressure points” in your life that are stealing peace from you? Can you change any of them? If so, take time this week to look at how you can.
However you choose to start 2021, maybe choosing a word (or 3, there are no rules here with this!) can help you start the new year on a confident, grounded note. For me, I’m excited to continue my own personal growth around grace, hope, and peace! I’m excited for the amazing people I’ve worked with last year and can’t wait to get connected with even more of you this year.
I'm JoEllen and I'm so glad you're here. Thanks for visiting and let me know how I can best serve you!