It’s official, we’re hurtling towards the end of spring. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m only just waking up after winter. I feel like life is moving at lightning speed, and my word for the year is now just a blur. Each year my seasonal affective disorder (SAD) gets worse and last winter, I really struggled. All I wanted to do was hunker down, snuggle under a blanket, and crank the heating up. But the rise in energy prices put paid to that idea. Having Raynaud’s didn’t help the situation, but it did make me realise I need to start working with the seasons.
So, here we are. We’re into the second quarter of 2023 (seriously?), and I find May an ideal time to reflect on my progress. Especially as it’s my birthday month. If you made any resolutions, it’s probably a safe bet they’ve already been forgotten – or you might not have made any. According to finder.com, 58% of the UK population planned on making them, with getting healthier being the most common goal. But realistically, less than half of that number will have the drive to see them through. Whether they were completely unrealistic, not something you really wanted, or you just got caught up in the hype of ‘New Year, New You’ – sometimes those good intentions fall by the wayside. It happens to the best of us.
Goodbye to the old, hello to the new
Although I’m not someone who makes resolutions, I can’t deny that I like the feeling of a new year. It brings the positive energy of a blank page, and January makes everything feel possible. I reassess where I am regularly throughout the year, switching lanes whenever I need. But at the start of each year, I like to peek in my rear-view mirror to see how far I’ve come. Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year workbook is a deep dive reflection into the year gone by, followed by your vision for the new one ahead. I’ve been doing it for several years, and it’s my favourite way to wrap things up. In our newly renovated living room, cosied up underneath a blanket, it felt good saying goodbye to 2022. I closed the door on what no longer served me before penning my vision for 2023.
A word for the year
My vision is always something I’m connected to, not just a bunch of meaningless bullet points so regularly seen in January. It’s how I want to feel throughout the coming year and whatever I need, personally and professionally. For the last seven years, I’ve chosen a word for the year; something to guide me through the next 12 months, helping me to navigate the twists, turns and bumps in the road. It’s something to check in with when I find myself meandering off on a tangent; losing motivation; getting distracted by shiny things (side note: every day), making a big decision or writing my to-do list. When I find myself lost, arms outstretched and flailing around in the darkness, it provides an anchor for me to return to.
As it happens, I’m not the only one. Choosing a word for the year ahead, rather than several unrealistic resolutions, has become popular in recent years. It’s too easy to say, get fit, go to the gym, eat healthier, or start meditating – all of which are a bit general. A word can be a focal point, supporting you to move more mindfully throughout the year. Having goals are great, they give us something to work towards. But as we tick them off, we can feel flat and disappointed, falling into the trap of reaching for the next shiny object. Knowing how we want to feel, can support us in setting more meaningful goals and understanding why we want to achieve certain things.
Dealing with grief and my word for 2023
For the last two years I’ve been in survival mode, wading through the quicksand of grief, trying to navigate my life minus a parent. Grief never goes away, but you somehow learn to live alongside it, tiptoeing around the edges, hoping not to get sucked back under. Which is why last year, my word was believe. In the darkness, I needed to find some light. I needed to believe that everything would be okay, that I would be okay, and believe that even after my world had crumbled, I could pick through the rubble and gradually rebuild it.
I made it to the end of the year, and even though there isn’t a magic door between the old year and the new, I felt a shift as January arrived. That’s why my word for this year is create. Last year, I believed things would be okay and that I could put myself back together and start rebuilding my life, brick by brick. I toyed with ideas about how to move forward and believed they were possible.
This year I’m trying to create that vision. It’s a powerful word because there are so many things we can create: joy, love, abundance, space, happiness, a business, a home or simply a life you love – the world is your oyster. It crept up on me unexpectedly, popping up without warning. It wasn’t on my shortlist; hell, it wasn’t even in my top ten. But as I was journalling and exploring, asking myself what I needed from the year ahead, there it was, staring back at me – a six-letter word to help me forge a new path.
There is no magic bullet
Although I use my word as an anchor, helping to guide me throughout the year, there is no magic bullet. I’ll still get lost, stray from the track, and take a detour down multiple side roads. It’s just that my word helps me to remember how I want to feel, and why I’m working towards the things I am.
I find it hard to get organised and stay on track. It’s another post for another time, a lengthy one I’m not ready to write just yet. But re-evaluating my progress is something I do regularly, and having a word for the year helps to reign me in when things go awry. The 100-Day Happiness Planner helps my days to run as smoothly as possible. I’ve tried many different methods and planners, but this one works for me. I love the idea of a bullet journal, but all I’ve ended up with is a bullet journal graveyard! My Happiness Planner allows me to work in realistic blocks of time. There’s space for reflection at the end of each week, and space to ponder the following week’s activities. I have the digital version rather than the physical planner, so I can print it out whenever I need it.
My progress so far
The months are flying by, and it’s a daily battle to keep my anxiety under control. The overwhelming feeling that time is running out, I’m underachieving, and never going to do all the things I want to, is something I could do without. Having said that, I’ve had a good run at 2023 so far, and my word is keeping me afloat. I’m just starting my final assignment on my journalism course, and my printing shop is up and running again too. So, if handmade lino-printed cards are your thing, I’d love you to pop over and take a look.
Creating space was an important goal this year. We’ve been dragging boxes around for over twenty years; whenever we move house, the boxes of
memorabilia crap, come with us. It’s overwhelming, but it’s time to tackle them. I repeatedly ask myself why we’re keeping them. If they’ve been in the loft for the last six years, do we really need them? We don’t have kids, so when something happens to us, whatever my nephews don’t want, will only end up in a skip.
So, although things feel like a blur, and life is whizzing by at lightning speed, I’m doing okay. There are always going to be things that don’t get done, but it’s all good because priorities change. I have a habit of piling too many things on my to-do lists anyway and I struggle to prioritise and switch between tasks. When it’s time to reflect and plan my next 100 days, some goals will be carried forward, and others will be dropped. I just need to take it one day at a time.
I’m not alone
From what I’ve heard, I’m not the only one feeling like the year is hurtling along like a bullet train. It appears to be a common theme. So, I’d love to know, how are you doing so far? Are you on track for your year, or do you need to stop, reflect, and reroute? Did you choose a word for the year, or did you make resolutions?