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  • michelle m. davis

What's Your Word?

New Year’s resolutions, intentions, goals … yes, they can be quite useful. Yet, experience has taught me that while my heart may be behind these carefully crafted ambitions, my mind often forgets, reverting back to the comfortable, the known.

I’m not suggesting that you ditch the traditional practice of setting aspirations for the upcoming year – we certainly can use some inspiration and direction after 2020 – but I am proposing something new. It’s really quite simple, and I promise that this will be much easier to remember than those long, perfectly composed SMART goals that are so often forgotten.

Pick a word – any word that resonates with you – and forge it into your mind. Then use it to inspire you in everything that you do.

Not only is this incredibly easy, but this practice can be applied to all areas of your life. It can work with fitness, finances, relationships, personal development, and career. The sky’s the limit to how you can incorporate this word into your life.

Last year my word was Surrender. There were certain parts of my life that I needed to let go of. For instance, I stopped running, something I’ve relied on for many years. Sure, it was a great form of exercise, burned tons or calories, and calmed my monkey mind. But it was also causing incredibly tight muscles which negatively impacted me in so many ways. So, this July I surrendered to the fact that running no longer served me — and I let it go. The same is true of certain habits that I’d relied upon. Realizing that I had other tools, better methods, I made changes that simplified my life. While altering behaviors can be challenging, when we see the benefits of our decisions, somehow it makes it easier to stay the course.

There are so many words that I could choose as my word for 2021. I considered “faith,” “grace,” “flow,” and “trust.” However, after much thought I decided upon “Believe.” This word has so many aspects to it. In a way, it incorporates all of the others, as trusting and faith are prerequisites to believing. Likewise, when one believes, she has grace and flow.

Believe will help guide me through the uncertainties that lie ahead. Already, I’m starting to see the impact this word can have on my life:

· I believe that the Universe has my back, and will provide the lessons I need for growth

· I believe that I can trust myself and my intuition

· I believe that love is always the answer

· I believe that fear, guilt, and shame dim the light we have within

· I believe that despite our differences, we are all connected

· I believe in the goodness inside each of us, our true self, the one connected to God

· I believe in energy and the impact it has on everything

2020 presented us with many challenges. No doubt, we will see new ones in 2021. I believe these past months allowed us time to pause and face a particular “shadow” that limits us. For me, this was a need for certainty in my life. Because of my fear of the unknown, I’ve always been a planner, tried to control my environment and be prepared for what could happen. Let’s just say that I was an organized, in control woman who seriously considered what could go wrong and then planned accordingly.

However, that approach didn’t exactly work during the COVID shutdowns. This spring, I found myself without a blueprint as I deleted most of what existed on my calendar, canceling trips, book events, and all sorts of appointments and meetings. Planning became irrelevant. I had no control over what tomorrow would bring.

This definitely caused an internal friction, forcing me to examine my habitual patterns. Doing so allowed me an opportunity to ask “why” — and I discovered quite a bit.

I learned that planning and focusing on the future bypassed the present. In my attempt to be super-organized and efficient, I was missing out on things, unaware of what was happening around me. By slowing down and not thinking about what was next or how to fit it all in, I could be present with what was. I started to appreciate nature at an entirely new level, I became more attuned to our dogs, I listened to others, instead of thinking ahead and trying to form a response, and most importantly, I became closer to my family. Would this have happened had I not been forced to pause, unable to do what I’d grown to depend upon?

Maybe 2020 taught you a similar lesson, or perhaps you learned something entirely different. Regardless, it will be a year to remember. But what about 2021? How have you changed? What will you bring to this new year? And could one simple word possibly guide you to a better you in the twelve months ahead?


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