My 2021 WOTY and why
As I mentioned earlier this week, 2020 was a year like no other, as I’m sure you can relate. It forced us to adapt and challenged us mentally, physically, and spiritually. That happens every year, but maybe more so in 2020.
With that said, the struggles I faced are what helped me choose my 2021 WOTY (words of the year).
If you’re still trying to come up with your own word (or words), I hope this post can help you brainstorm some more ideas or narrow down some of your choices. And I’ll admit it will be nice for me to look back on this post in a year and see what kind of progress I’ve made.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Word of the Year, it’s an alternative to choosing a New Year’s Resolution. Choosing a word helps bring focus and clarity to what we want to create in our lives. (You can find my tips for choosing your 2021 WOTY in this post.)
I’ve stuck to one word since 2014, but in 2020 I chose 3 words to focus on, which I also used as a mantra during my meditations.
This allowed me to focus on 3 areas I wanted to improve upon or learn more about. The words were chosen to guide me throughout the year and even if I forgot about them from time to time, subconsciously I would discover resources or tools to bring them into my life more than the year before. This is why I prefer words vs. a resolution.
Reflecting on My 2020 WOTY
I realize I never shared my 2020 words of the year, so here they are:
Wabi-sabi – Wabi-sabi is an ancient Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in imperfection and accepting things as they are vs. how they should be (at least in simple terms). I had read a few books about Wabi-sabi in 2019 and was instantly intrigued. I’ve always been drawn to the imperfection of handmade objects, vintage items with a history, and the nicks and stains created in a lived-in home with a story to tell.. at least when the handmade object or home was created by someone else.
Embracing those imperfections in my own life has always been a challenge resulting in unnecessary stress, anxiety, and an overall feeling of “not good enough”.
Yup, I knew Wabi-sabi was something I wanted to incorporate into my daily life in 2020 to help me loosen up the reigns, and find beauty in our imperfect lives and tiny home.
Slow – Slow and Action may seem conflicting but I really wanted to move through my day more slowly. For the most part, I felt as though I was being intentional and present, but much too hurried and with nervous energy at times. Physically slowing down would help me enjoy the moments and embrace the beauty in humble tasks.
Action – I chose action because I tend to be a hoarder of information, ideas, and projects, yet struggle to bring these ideas and creations to fruition due to distraction, fear, and overwhelm.
Together, I felt as though these words could help me move slower through life, take action on some of my aspirations while accepting and even smiling at what used to frustrate or annoy me.
Overall, I feel pretty good about the words I chose. Looking back, I made a lot of progress on the first two, the last one…not as much as I had hoped. I may have incorporated it into my personal life, but not nearly as much into my professional life. Even so, I feel as though I took action on personal issues that were important to me.
2021 WOTY (words of the year)
Again, this year I’ve chosen 3 words to help guide me, which are:
Breathe – At first, I considered the word surrender so help me let go of control, especially after our missed miscarriage. However, when I thought about why I wanted to use the word and how it could help me, I resonated more with the word “breathe”. Deep breathing would help me relax, let go, and therefore surrender. I didn’t feel that I needed to surrender as much in other areas of my life, which is why I chose breathe instead, especially because it still encompasses the need to let go.
Not only does slow breathing calm anxiety, stress, and the desire to control outcomes, but it can help you be less reactive, and be more intentional.
Over the last few months, I’ve found myself holding my breath. And even during my meditations, it’s felt as though I was running out of air, from not breathing properly. I’ve also felt this heavy, stuck energy at the top of my chest that I couldn’t shake.
Most of the time, overwhelm, resentment or guilt will accompany this feeling. By choosing the word “breathe”, I am choosing to make intentional breathing a priority. To move slower and more gracefully through life, which in turn can help combat negative emotions and reactions.
Vitality – After a year filled with health issues, I am craving vitality. I’m tired of feeling sick and tired. I’m over this dizzying roller coaster of CRPS and autoimmune flareups. Making vitality a priority is not only something I want, but it’s something I need.
By choosing this word, it will serve as a daily reminder to make better choices and consciously nourish my mind, body, and spirit. I believe all are needed to envelope true vitality. I want to feel strong, healthy, and vibrant. Not to mention, I want to be healthy so we can have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
I recently started practicing Qigong, which has serendipitously helped me incorporate the words “breathe” and “vitality” into my daily life.
| Qigong (pronounced chee-gong): an ancient Chinese healing art involving meditation, controlled breathing, and movement exercises
Interestingly enough, I tried it about a year ago but wasn’t feeling it at the time. Now, I can’t imagine my life without it. Funny how that happens. It also didn’t take long for the tightness in my chest to lift, and I’m looking forward to learning more about shifting energy and self-healing through this practice.
Confidence – This is a word I’ve struggled with most of my life, though I’ve always tried to stick to the motto “fake it til you make it”. Well, I’m done faking it, and honestly, I haven’t been able to fake it for a couple of years. At first, I considered the word Brave, because I want to put my creative work out there more often instead of hoarding it in my brain, computer, or home. However, the more I thought about it, I felt as though confidence is what I really need. I need more confidence to help battle my indecisiveness and to let go of the comparison game.
I need more confidence to make decisions based on what I need vs. based on what I think others expect of me. And I need the confidence to put my work out there rather than straddle self-doubt and unworthiness. Sure I need to be brave too, but I think confidence will help me become braver. Guess we’ll see!
Alright, so those are the words I chose and why. Together I think they will work in harmony in bringing out more of the other. I also see a close correlation to the words I chose last year, which shows I’m still interested in working through similar issues just in a different way.
My Daily Practice
One of the ways I’ve been intentionally incorporating my 2021 WOTY is through meditation. During my daily meditation practice, I’ll spend a few minutes slowly breathing in one of the words, and then slowly breathing out the opposite of that word.
For example, I’ll slowly breathe in vitality, imagining my body filling up with the emotions associated with it. Then I’ll breathe out the opposite to release it, such as fatigue, sickness, toxins, etc. Next, I’ll slowly breathe in confidence and breathe out the opposite such as self-doubt, unworthiness, criticism, fear, etc.
You can follow this same simple practice standing, sitting, or laying down. Maybe you do it before you get out of bed or before you go to sleep at night. If you’re having a rough day and need a break, take a few moments at your desk to slowly breathe, focusing on the word, or words you chose. I also have the words written in my phone notes and on a post-it note next to my computer.
Have you picked a 2021 WOTY, or multiple words to focus on? Let me know about it in the comments!