The Mug that Taught me a Lesson + My 2017 Word of the Year
A few years ago I ditched the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, and began choosing one word to focus on that year instead. Did you pick a word of the year?
I absolutely love this idea because I’m able to reflect on the word all throughout the year, and see how I can incorporate it into my life. I see it more as personal growth for the long haul vs. a goal I can cross off my list.
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At first I chose words that I wanted to be more like, or have more of in my life. The first year I chose “Organize”. I had created my blog about a year prior to choosing this word and was swept up into the wonderful world of blogging. It was also my first year getting back into my creative side, which I had forgotten about for so many years.
This led to lots of projects and me saying yes to more than I could handle. My life became somewhat of a mess (albeit a fun one). I needed organization BADLY so I chose this word. I don’t recall making any huge “organization” strides that year and can’t find a post about my 2015 word of the year with an update, so I guess that gives you a pretty good indication as to how far my “organization” word got me, haha.
I chose the word “Balance” in 2015 because again I needed balance and organization in my life, both personally and professionally. I had a better grasp of what organization and balance I needed, but unfortunately I failed to make any big changes.
The truth is, I don’t think I was ready for either of these words when I chose them, or maybe I just wasn’t committed enough.
I recently watched a seminar with John Assaraf where he talked about one of his mentors, who at the time was asking him questions to determine whether or not he would hire him. One of the questions he asked (and don’t quote me on this) was something along the lines of,
“Are you interested, or are you committed?”
When John asked him what the difference was he explained that being “interested” means you’ll make excuses as to why you won’t or didn’t do something. Being “Committed” means you’ll do whatever it takes.
Long story short, John told him he was committed, got the job, and the rest is history 🙂
This really resonated with me, and as I reflect back on the words I chose I realize that I was “interested” in becoming those things, but I wasn’t committed.
Last year I chose the word “Bold” because I was feeling scared about renovating our RV, and traveling among strangers in unknown weather conditions. And I probably read more “bear attack” stories then was necessary…
I was beginning to live in fear and a lot of that had to do with being so consumed with “work” that I forgot to get out there and actually live life. I was living in a bubble and I needed to pop it and jump out, perhaps while doing some old school 90’s dance moves.
I don’t know that “bold” was necessarily the right word for me but I didn’t feel like using “Fearless” mostly because I didn’t want to chose the title of a Taylor Swift song. Yeah I know that’s a pretty lame reason and nothing against her – in fact, I’m still obsessed with this pretty spectacular 80’s aerobics video that makes me wanna shake it off every time I watch it.
I may not have danced my way out of the bubble but I think I danced in the bubble, and then awkwardly stepped out.
I guess my advice here is when you choose a word for the year, try it on and see how it makes you feel. You’ll know once you pick the right word.
In fact, rather than force a word to work, let the word choose you.
My 2017 Word of the Year: Calm
I’ve spent the past couple months thinking about what my new word would be, and the word that kept popping up was “calm”.
The past year I’ve dedicated more time to meditation, reading and practicing mindfulness. Over the past few years I’ve become so filled with stress and anxiety (emotions I didn’t experience much growing up) that I’ve forgotten how to be calm.
We started meditating in 2016 and I can say that has absolutely made the biggest impact in my life. It helps calm me, gives me direction, and every time I do it I think “This is the best thing EVER!” and “I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner!”
Of course keeping up with the daily practice has been somewhat of a struggle, which is one area I plan to focus on this year.
A couple weeks ago I was feeling anxiety creep up so I stopped and meditated for 10 minutes. Afterwards I thought, wow I have the tool to help me reach my goals of finding the calm, I just need to utilize it. This is something I need to practice daily in 2017.
The Mug that taught me a Lesson
What’s funny is a couple days before Christmas I was browsing the aisles of HomeGoods for random stocking stuffers when I came across a collection of Rae Dunn mugs.
I probably stood in that aisle for 10 minutes because staring me in the face was the prettiest, most simple ceramic mug with tiny stamped letters that read “calm.”
I NEED IT! This is my word of the year, this mug will give me the powers to be calm, I KNOW IT!!!
I snagged it up, along with a few others because I may have a little obsession with mugs despite living in less than 300 square feet. #muglife
Then the inner dialogue started to happen about how it was Christmas and I don’t need to buy anything for myself, and can always come back after the holidays and yada yada yada.
I think I picked that mug up and put it back down at least 5 times. Other people in the aisle must have thought I was cray cray. I even walked away from the aisle and then went back to it. I almost wish I had a video so I could see how ridiculous I looked. At one point I picked up several mugs and thought I could give a bunch of them away as gifts which would justify me getting a couple for myself.
Ultimately I didn’t get any mugs.
Then I regretted it.
I then spent a few days after Christmas visiting different TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and HomeGoods hoping to find “my” mug. I was on a mission and even told myself, the mug is waiting for me inside this Marshall’s, or that someone picked it up and moved it so I should walk around and see if I can find it.
I searched online and even asked my sister to keep an eye out when she went shopping, and may have had Eric pop into a store or two when he was out running errands.
The mug was nowhere to be found.
This is embarrassing. I probably shouldn’t be telling you all this.
Okay for the most part I’ve learned how to only buy what I LOVE and what brings joy into my life, especially now that we are tiny house dwellers. I would say in most cases I would have bought the mug because I don’t get that excited about things too often these days, especially when they are only, ahem $3!
With that said, I think there’s a reason I didn’t buy that mug.
That mug is teaching me a lesson.
I thought I needed this mug to remind me to be calm, to help me stick to my word of the year. I imagined how relaxed I would be drinking coffee or herbal tea from this simple mug. I imagined posting it on Instagram with some scenic photo from our RV travels in the background, along with the hashtag #2017wordoftheyear.
Yeah, it was sad.
The truth is, the search for this “calm” mug was making me freakin’ crazy! Ya know, the opposite of calm. Oops.
It was then that I realized this is exactly why I need to practice being calm in the first place. I knew that mug found someone that needed it more than I did, and that I wouldn’t find that mug until I learned how to be calm.
And by then, I wouldn’t need it any more.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still thinking about that darn mug, but it’s not consuming me the way it did at first. It’s funny when I think about it but it also reaffirms just how much this word chose me, and how excited I am to practice being calm.
It’s hard to explain the sense of joy I feel knowing this year is going to be different and I want you to feel the same way too.
So tell me, do you have a word of the year, and if so are you committed to it?
Need help choosing a Word of the Year?
It’s not too late to pick a word of the year to focus on. If you’re struggling to pick one check out these 5 steps to help you narrow it down and you can find tips for implementing your word of the year, and achieving your goals here.
Update: The Mug Found Me
An awesome reader later sent me a “Calm” mug she had and was not longer using. It’s not the exact one I saw at the store, but I love it even more!