One Word for 2020

Each year I try to set a one word “theme” for the year. It’s not a goal, but more of a guiding principle to keep in mind.

Another yearly tradition I try to do is recap the previous year and post the current year’s focus to the blog. In my mind, this is something I do every year, but in looking over my past blog posts, it seems to be less of an actual tradition than I thought. Whoops! (Note to self: Add “Post Yearly Theme Post” task to Things)

So since I didn’t post my theme for last year, I guess I’ll start my 2019 recap by sharing that it was “Intention.”

I had started feeling as though I was just blowing where ever the wind (or people in my life, rather) wanted to take me. As a type-A person, the added spontaneity was initially a breath of fresh air, but over time, my days became increasingly dictated by what other people wanted to do. As a result, I lost any sense of where I was heading. I figured that by being intentional, I’d regain some sort of control and hopefully find some sort of direction in the process.

In hindsight, I think a better name for the year’s focus would have been “boundaries”. It took the better part of the year for me to realize that I was blowing wherever the wind took me because I’d failed to set boundaries. While it seemed easier to go along with what other people want to do, I was losing my own life in exchange for everyone else’s in the process.

If I could pick the most significant takeaway from 2019, it’d be relearning how to “take up space” (as my therapist calls it) in my life again.

I started really thinking about things like:

  • What do I want in life?
  • What do I need?
  • What things am I only doing because other people wanted me to do them?

I still don’t have entirely clear answers on them, but I am learning to be honest with myself and others about what I will and won’t spend time on. This has meant saying no to more things, accepting that not everyone will be okay with my decisions, and most importantly reminding myself that saying no isn’t selfish or rude.

An unintended consequence becoming more comfortable with what I want in life is that I may have indulged myself a little too much towards the latter half of the year. I’d set a well-meaning intention to relax after a long week, but I’d do so by spending the day on the couch mindlessly shopping, snacking, and watching YouTube followed by going out for drinks and binging on mozzarella sticks and nachos while doing so only to feel awful the next day. Comparing my couch-potato tendencies to that of my significant other, who often spends his days playing hockey and ordering salads whenever we go out, only left me feeling more and more sorry for myself.

It was so obvious I needed to start exercising again and start eating better foods, but I’d reached a point where I felt too tired to do either. Instead, I spent more and more time on the couch feeling sorry for myself. By the end of the year, I’d stopped working out entirely and spent the bulk of my 2-week break on the couch.

So with that in mind, my focus for 2020 is health – both physical and mental.

I realize health is a pretty generic theme. Everyone wants to lose weight, go to the gym, eat better, and meditate more in the new year. It’s probably the most cliche theme I could pick, but considering where I ended 2019, I didn’t see any other option.

This year I’m not setting resolutions or goals to work out x number of days or lose a set amount of weight.

I’m simply asking myself, “What would a healthy person do?” whenever I find myself feeling resentful about my behaviors.

Would a healthy person watch YouTube on the couch all day?

Probably not.

But I’m also way too addicted to Gourmet Eats at this point to give up watching it completely. I could swap sitting on the couch for watching it while on my spin bike instead though.

Would a healthy person eat pizza rolls for dinner 5 days a week?

Probably not.

But I’m also generally exhausted after work. Expecting a gourmet meal every night isn’t realistic, but I can stock my kitchen with healthier options.

I usually wrap up my yearly focus posts by listing my specific goals for the year, but as I’ve already said, I’m not doing that this year. In fact, as I’ve gotten better at using my yearly focus to guide my decisions, I’ve been reducing the number of goals I set over the years.

There are a few I still do set like a yearly reading goal, and I obviously can’t ignore my work-related goals set by my supervisor. Aside from that, however, I’ve only set one goal for 2020.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have spotted a hint already in a post from the summer, but I haven’t actually shared anything on this blog yet mainly because I try to keep my private life private.

In any event, my better half proposed last summer, so that’s my one and only goal for this new year – to get married.

Do you set goals or a yearly theme for the year? If so, I’d love to hear what yours are!

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