Goals, New Year

Word of the Year 2021 recap

Happy final day of 2021! Wow, this really blows my mind. I remember NYE 2019 very vividly, leading into 2020 with all sorts of excitement….and then that all happened, and here we are now after yet another year. I wish I had time right now to do another year end recap like I did for 2020. Maybe this weekend???

Word of the Year 2021

I haven’t settled on a “word” for 2022 yet, but I have some ideas. More on this to come.

In 2020, my word was INTENTIONALITY. In 2021 my word was PEACE. (Here is the full post about why I chose that word.) Because I know from my blog stats that most people do not click on links in posts 😉, here is what I said about this choice, last year:

“I knew I wasn’t being drawn to a super “intense” word. I am not feeling a major pull to necessarily “go get ’em” this year, though hopefully I will still achieve a lot this year! Words like “achieve” or “unstoppable” or “commit”, etc. felt all wrong.

When I sat and thought about what aspect of my life I wanted to really work on this year, I realized that I’d really like to let go of some anxious tendencies that I have. I tend to be a wee bit too easily stressed, worried, concerned, etc. about things- many times things that I cannot even ultimately control (or things that won’t REALLY even matter, long term).

I want to work on catching myself in these moments and learning to let go.

My short list of words included:

-aware
-balance
-breathe
-ease
-quiet
-release
-allow
-PEACE

I ultimately decided that PEACE was the most all-encompassing word for me. If I keep in mind that peace is my primary goal in life, other things may lose their power.

Irritated with the kids?? PEACE.

Worried about X,Y,Z that I can’t control?? PEACE.

Stressing about the news?? PEACE.

Person in traffic cut me off?? PEACE.

Feeling overwhelmed with life?? PEACE.

It felt like the best word (or mantra) that I can keep coming back to in those inevitable moments.”

– Me, December 30, 2020

I hung this on my office wall a year ago today (the edges are all curling up now….). I wrote it in (at least some of) my monthly calendar pages. It became part of my password for the United Network of Organ Sharing log in that I use for work everyday! (don’t worry, I’ve changed it recently, in case anyone was going to go try to log in 😉 )

So, how did I do??

Overall, I think I did well with this one! Some people close to me might disagree or think, Hmm… you still seemed kinda stressed out a lot. Which isn’t totally false. I’m not claiming I gained the peace of a Buddhist monk this year.

However! I know I made progress!

1- I didn’t forget about my word. That right there is an accomplishment. 🤣

2- I found myself “returning to the mantra” often. As in, focusing on that word didn’t necessarily prevent me from getting riled up about something, but I did find that in the midst of my little downward spiral, I would CATCH myself doing it- and literally would often think: Stop. PEACE.

3- At other times when I would find myself ruminating on things out of my control, I would also return to the idea of PEACE as my end goal. Is this worth stressing about?? What’s the end goal? Peace? Okay, then. Let’s let that one go. Relax. I found it was helpful to determine my next steps sometimes. Your actions can be different if you are trying to go down a path toward “peace” versus if you’re trying to get somewhere else.


I liked using this word as an underlying foundation for my life. It’s just a nice sounding word, too, which I think makes it a good “mantra”.

For 2022, as I said, I’m still deciding. Contrary to what I said in 2021, I actually DO currently feel drawn back toward a theme more along the lines of motivation/ achievement/ accomplishment/ commitment. Maybe I’m just tired of the last couple years of everything feeling so crazy and the whole “take it easy on yourself/ let’s just get through this” mindset….

I’ll elaborate more on this in another post, but I’m getting annoyed with using the “excuse” (no matter how valid or good it is) of the pandemic for everything. (Speaking about myself, personally. These ARE tough times, so I don’t mean to discredit anyone who is feeling exhausted and truly needs or wants to cut themself some slack.) For me, though, I’m feeling inspired to get back on the proverbial horse and get out of the pandemic fog.

Do you have a word? I know it’s not necessary, but, it’s kind of a fun little exercise. 🙂

I hope you’ve had a decent 2021. (I’d say great, but I know for many people it still was not great. So let’s go with “decent”. 😁) I actually think overall we had a really good year at our house in many, many ways- minus the underlying “weirdness” or general sense of stress/discontent from the pandemic still carrying on. I guess that would be my biggest beef with 2021.

Happy New Year!!

PEACE out, 2021. ✌️

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for playing Charades with the kids last night (new Christmas gift). It was hilarious and a lot of fun. 🙂

5 thoughts on “Word of the Year 2021 recap”

  1. We’ve already started this discussion, but I think I’m going to lock in my “Be Kind” mantra for 2022.
    Be kind to the kids (with my words AND my eyes). Enough said.
    Be kind to strangers (I need to smile more, though that can be tricky with everyone wearing masks; side note – when a lady behind me in line complimented me on my earrings a month ago, it MADE MY DAY. I feel so hidden when out in public which, as an introvert I actually like to a certain extent, but that kindness from a random stranger who was standing 6 feet away was lovely).
    Be kind to my friends. I have the annoying (and common) habit of interrupting other people mid-sentence. I keep telling myself to reign it in. Hopefully a reminder to “Be kind” will prompt me in this direction.
    Be kind to my spouse. I can be a real nag sometimes and can “lecture.” I really want to stop this (as much as possible when living 24/7 with another human).
    Be kind to myself. I definitely think I need to give myself more grace…I’ve been too rigid and expected too much. And I also think by expecting LESS from myself, I might – paradoxically enough – manage to do more? More things I enjoy? Be more productive? Explore some creative passions etc…

    Nothing profound and this is only the second time I’ve ever had a word theme for the year, but I feel like I need it as a centering point in a world that currently feels all over the place.

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  2. I actually enjoyed 2021 more than I expected. I agree that we should not use the pandemic as an excuse to do things that make us feel good or to do things that make us not feel so good in the long run. every crisis comes with opportunities, it depends how we frame it. I don’t have a work for 2022 but will write down my goal lists soon.

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  3. This was so fun to read! I chose a word of the year for the first time in 2021, and find it so fascinating to read how and why other people choose words as well. Loved hearing how yours worked out! Also this made me laugh: “I didn’t forget about my word. That right there is an accomplishment.” I feel like this is DEFINITELY an accomplishment!

    Happy New Year!

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  4. I didn’t pick a word for 2021! I think the fact that you were mindful of your word is a sign of success. It wasn’t just something you chose and forgot about! And if it resulted in a bit more peace than you would have felt otherwise, it was a success!

    I am still in that cutting myself some slack mind set but this stage of parenting is so exhausting and made worse by the pandemic and the limited activities we have available to us. Like with how crazy cold it is now, pre-pandemic Lisa would have taken Paul to all indoor playground. But I can’t do that now, especially with Paul not being vaccine eligible. So I just feel pretty worn out and with limited options to get through long weekends. I think I will feel better when we are on more of abnormal schedule. The last 2 long weekends have felt LONG!! 😛

    I am still thinking about whether I want to pick a word for 2022 but am leaning towards connection. I want to reach out to friends more, focus more on high quality one-on-one time with Paul and Phil, and to connect with other family members. Will is getting plenty of one-on-one time with me so I don’t need to be super intentional about time with him. 😉

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