Have you heard about picking a word of the year? The word you choose is supposed to represent your overall goal for that year. I picked one this past January and decided to take it seriously. My word this year is Renewal. I chose this word because I felt like I needed to renew myself. Our family has had 5 challenging years in a row. We lived through a house fire, we lost 5 close family members, my husband took on ownership of a business, we took on the responsibility of managing a bunch of trusts for family members who had passed, and we moved three times (once to a new home, and once to an apartment and then back home again after the fire cleanup was complete). We did all this while raising three kids, two of whom were teenagers. To say those years were stressful would be an understatement. For most of those years, I felt like my job was to support, support and support! I worried about everything and everyone in my life. A lot of the time it felt like I was living in survival mode.
Towards the end of last year, I finally sensed that we were in a good place. Everything that had rocked our world over the last 5 years seemed to be stabilizing. This is when I began to think more about myself. How was I going to put myself back together again? I was tired most of the time, I wasn’t taking care of myself, and I felt like I had nothing that was just for me. I had gained about 20 pounds and I was not happy about it. 😩 All of this led me to choose my word of the year, Renewal. When I looked up the actual definition of this word I found the perfect definition for how I felt—the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken. That was me. I needed a change! I was ready for it.
The first mountain I tackled on my Renewal journey was that of exercise. I needed to find something I would do with consistency and something I would enjoy. I have never loved working out. It is something I have always had to force myself to do, but I knew exercise was key to feeling strong again. I knew it would also be a big gain for me in my mental health. I started slow and I started with no pressure to lose weight. I decided my focus for my exercise plan would be on the word MORE and not LESS. In the past, whenever I worked out it was in hopes of losing weight—in a way, focusing on LESS. This time, I went in with the mindset of MORE—MORE strength, MORE health, MORE energy and MORE of what my body can do. I felt like this mindset allowed me to feel successful, whether I lost weight or not (which by the way I didn’t). As long as I was being consistent, making progress and feeling better I was a success!
I am now about 4 months in and I feel like I have nailed this goal. I have figured out what exercises I enjoy and which ones I don’t. I remind myself that my exercise doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. The best exercise for me is the one I will show up to do 4-5 days a week. Even though I didn’t lose any weight through exercise, I am stronger and my stamina is much better, so for me, that is a win! I am not discouraged because I am enjoying how it makes me feel about myself.
The second thing I decided to do this year to help me with my Renewal journey was to start this blog. I barely told anyone while I was working on it because honestly, I did not know if I would be able to pull it off. After a LOT of hours of work and follow-through, I was able to get this website up and running. I still can’t believe I did it. It was hard, but I love it! It has been important to me for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it is something that is just mine. It pushes me, it excites me and it allows me to be creative. It can be whatever I want it to be and after all the years of supporting others, this thrills me! I am so excited about this part of my journey and I am also really grateful to all of you for coming along for the ride.
The third thing I decided to do for my Renewal journey began just a week ago. It was time to focus on losing some of that weight I had put on. After reading Carrie Underwood’s book: Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul and Get Strong with the Fit52 Life, I had a bit of a breakthrough. https://amzn.to/3bBbEv3 I realized that I NEED to keep a written food journal. Carrie writes in one each day and talks a lot about the value of it in her book. In the past, I have attempted to do this, but I always quit quickly. When I look back, I think I felt writing down what you ate in a day was a bit of a punishment. It wasn’t fun to measure my food or have to record it. But, after reading that Carrie records every single thing she eats in her food journal, my perspective changed. Maybe stars like her don’t just have it easy, with tons of help from trainers and nutritionists, maybe they actually do put in the work to look the way they do? So, after realizing that even Carrie Underwood has to do this, I decided to give it a go. I have been recording for 8 days now and I am actually enjoying the process. So crazy! I record everything I eat on the My Fitness Pal app throughout the day and then the next morning, I transfer everything I ate the day before into a handwritten food journal. I highly recommend this step. It really allows me to look at all the numbers and make decisions about what were good food choices and what were not such good choices. I write notes at the bottom of the page so I don’t forget what I learned or what I should change. I lost 2 lbs this past week—so I am pretty sure it is working. Yay!👍🏻
I share all of this with you not to say, “Look at me and how great I have been at hitting my goals this year”. I say this to encourage you to think about possibly picking a word of the year for yourself. Maybe you feel the need to be renewed as well? I know a lot of you are moms and it is SO EASY for us to put ourselves on the back burner. I have done it for years! When we are bombarded with so much stress it is just easier to eat whatever, focus on your family’s needs, have a cocktail or two at night, not exercise,— basically just survive sometimes. And even if you are in a great place right now (three cheers for you😘), you may have a different type of goal you are hoping to conquer. Perhaps you want to grow your faith or grow your business or work on a particular personality trait—the options are endless.
If you decide picking a word of the year might be for you, try to think of a word that will help guide you towards your overall goal. Take a few days to really think it over. It took me a good week to get mine. (Although I will tell you Renewal was the first word that popped into my head, so your gut reaction might just be the one to go with!) Steal my word if it seems right for you. Here is a link to a quiz to help you pick a word if you think you need some help. https://www.dayspring.com/yourwordquiz#/home
Who cares that we are already 4 months into the year? There are still 8 months left to make small changes that will add up to a lot by December. Having Renewal in the back of my mind every day has really helped inspire me. And remember your journey doesn’t have to be perfect, be sure to give yourself grace throughout this experience. I know I have over the last 4 months. Some weeks I only worked out 3 days, but I didn’t quit. I stuck with it and now I am actually enjoying it. I know that one bad day or bad week is not the focus. The overall goal or word for the year is the focus.
I would love to hear from any of you who decide to do this. And if you already practice “word of the year”, perhaps you could share your word in the comments below to help inspire others.