I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m terrible at keeping resolutions. I know, put away your little smirky smirks. Try to at least pretend to be shocked, people.
But resolutions are so seductive—even the act of making resolutions is practically fetishized (special planners, apps for your smart phones, the end-and-beginning-of-year lists by bloggers and journalists the world over). It’s heady stuff: who wouldn’t like the promise of a clean slate? After all, weight loss companies—and the entire fitness industry—bank on people starting over in January. Heck, I even got a Match.com Groupon email on Christmas freaking Eve.
But it’s just so difficult to make things stick to that clean slate.
In the past, Resolutions went a little something like this: January, the first week—after the bye week that is this not quite first full week in the year—is red hot. Oh, I’ve got lists, and plans and STUFF (!!!) I’ve purchased to facilitate the practical deployment of said lists and plans. The second week of January, still going strong. The third? Oh, man, that’s a little tougher, especially since my favorite girlfriends and I typically do something fun (and fattening) over the three-day MLK weekend. The end of January is a slow but victorious climb back up the Hill of Resolve.
I pretend that things are getting better in February. Start making bargains with myself: oh, I didn’t really mean I would be running a 5k next month; just that it would be nice to maybe train for it. And March? Hoo boy. April means the year is practically over so I might as well not even think about such things again.
I do take some comfort in knowing that 86% of Americans also have this problem. (Please note: that is not a real statistic. It just seemed to be a good, solid number.) But it doesn’t help that much. Mine is the only body/mind I’m responsible for, and, while I wish well for my fellow man, I can’t play the comparison game.
A few years ago, I started thinking of a word (one lonely little word) that would help guide my year, be an inspiration or even a mantra to repeat when things went wonky.
This worked…marginally well. But it’s a little difficult to find one single word to guide an entire year. I mean, the first year I picked one guiding word, I never dreamed that by the summer I’d have quit my job and made a two-year plan for (finally!) being serious about writing as a career. What started out as a gorgeous word in January suddenly had no bearing in August.
This year, while marinating in the wilds of my west Texas home over the holidays, I started the inevitable word search. The inevitable well-it-didn’t-work-so-well-last-year trash talk. And the dang-it-this-year-will-be-different pep talk.
After all of that, I came up with BE.
Now, I know there are scholars and mystics who make their lives a contemplation of what it means to BE—and we’re not talking about all those other scholars and mystics who contemplate how to BE.
Little ol’ me, however, has decreed 2014 the year to BE___ (I even created my very own hashtag: #TheYearToBe___)
The genius of #TheYearToBe___? I get 52 chances to start over with a clean slate. Because every single week of 2014 (except this bye week, of course), I’ll have a new word to mediate on, to put into practice, or to just….BE.
It’s both practical and mystical. I’ll connect this to my blog, of course, by writing on that week’s word—don’t expect grandiose musings. Some weeks could be an image. Others a recipe or anecdote or observation. Maybe some weeks I’ll get you to play along in #TheYearToBe___!
As I was making my lists (yes, I went with predictable, boring alphabetical order—ABCs for 26 weeks and then a NEW start mid year) I discarded several words. And, as I was making my calendar for 2014, I felt a strange tingling at the base of my thinker. As I said on Twitter, I’m just woowoo enough to wonder if the words/weeks I’ve written in my calendar are the words I’ll need in the coming year.
Here are some words I discarded; feel free to make them yours for a day, a week, or even the whole year!
Active, beautiful, cautious, disciplined, electric, fabulous (with much regret, this was discarded), genuine, hopeful, inquisitive, joyful, kind, lustful, magnificent, nostalgic, original, precise, quick, responsible, savvy, trusting, vibrant, winsome, xenodocial (though, you will find xenial on my list, because X), yielding, and zesty.