Did you make New Year’s Resolutions this year? If so, are they beginning to crumble about now?
That’s no surprise. Statistics show that about 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. And let’s face facts, 2020 was the strangest and most stressful year ever. And now 2021 is off to a rocky start as well. People are still dying from this pandemic in record levels, the long awaited vaccine seems to be stalled, and unemployment is at record highs. We are heading into a new year with much uncertainty.
Which means it’s probably not the time to put additional pressure on yourself to meet difficult objectives. So let’s forget about ambitious goals this year.
That may sound funny coming from me if you read my last blog. After gaining over 20 pounds during the pandemic, I’ve made it a goal to eat healthier and lose weight. With COVID raging here in California and obesity a major risk factor of becoming seriously ill from the virus, it seemed like the prudent and wise thing to do. After almost two months, I managed to lose 13 pounds. Not bad.
However, unlike previous times I’ve attempted to lose weight, I’m definitely being easier on myself. Last week, I stayed with my 88-year-old father to help him through cataract surgery and gained a couple of those pounds back. I didn’t beat myself up for it. Going forward, I’m only focusing on losing five pounds at a time. And if it takes me longer than usual to accomplish that feat, so be it.
Although I encouraged my Facebook followers on my author page to join me in my quest to lose weight and live a healthier life, only one friend accepted the challenge. At first, I was surprised. Then, I understood.
A Time to Focus on Self-Care
Maybe during these tumultuous times, it’s more about survival than success – however you may define that word. Perhaps we need to dump those New Year’s Resolutions and focus on self-preservation and self-care.
Let’s state our intentions instead of goals this year, with a focus on personal growth instead of accomplishments.
What’s Your Focus Word for 2021?
Have you heard of the recent trend of selecting a “Word for the Year” or “Focus Word?” Supposedly, at the beginning of the year, you choose just one word or phrase that describes what you need more of, what you want to cultivate in your life, or what you want to be your focus for the year.
In the past, when I read about this, it seemed a bit silly to me. But I’ve changed my mind. I’m not talking about words like abundance (unless you’re talking about love) advancement, ambition, or achievements. There are so many better, worthy words to choose.
Mental health may be a priority for you this year. If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression during these difficult times, perhaps you’ll choose a word like calmness, prayer, strength, resilience, gratitude, tranquility, breathe, heal, fortitude, survive, or inner peace. Or if you are focused on self-care to keep your sanity, maybe you’ll choose nurture, presence, release, create, relax, mindfulness, simplify, chill, or nourish.
Perhaps you’ll choose a phrase, like “You Got This” or “We’ll Get Through This,” or “This, Too, Shall Pass.”
If you want physical health to be a priority, you could adopt a word like active, vigor, fit, strong, healthy, mindful eating, or exercise.
How about opting for a word like compassion, love, empathy, and kindness? These are great words and qualities to adopt, especially toward those who are fighting this virus in this horrific pandemic, those who are losing loved ones, and those who are suffering from job loss, stress,and depression. After all, focusing on others can help your own well-being. Think about the positive feelings you experienced the last time you comforted or encouraged someone else. “Helping others takes the mind and emotions off the self, allowing the mind to move past anxieties and rumination,” said Stephan G. Post, PhD, director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University, in an article for Healthline.
And let’s not forget about spiritual words like hope, faith, trust, or believe. Life ebbs and flows, sometimes causing pain, sorrow, hardship, grief, and frustration. If you’re a spiritual person and have faith, it can provide hope for the future, no matter your present circumstances.
Since this describes me, I’m choosing the word “forward.” As the motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, said, “If there is hope in the future, there is literally power in the present.”
Because I’m looking to the future with hope and confidence thanks to my faith. Because with God’s help, I know that our ability and infinite capacity to endure and bounce back is far greater than we think.
I’m choosing “forward” because I’m looking forward to the day when I can hug my family and friends again. I’m looking forward to the time I can travel to unknown destinations and experience new adventures. Heck, I’m looking forward to the day when I don’t have to dye my own hair!
In other words, I’m looking forward to moving forward.
So, what is your focus word for this year? There are no rules. Think about which focus word will have the most impact in your life. Perhaps you’ll choose five focus words instead of one. I actually plan on trying to incorporate all these words into my life this year.
What’s your intention for 2021?
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