Last year, I stopped making resolutions and listed a few goals instead. I did pretty well, even though some opportunities came up during the year that pushed a few things I had planned to the side. Instead of beating myself up for not checking everything off the list, I’ve decided to praise myself for being flexible. How’s that for a juicy rationalization?
As I sat down to take a first stab at my 2019 goals, I remembered a discussion from a recent PODS meetup. One person said she was trying to pick her word of the year. At first, I thought she meant something like the dictionaries do to summarize the previous 12 months. For example, in 2018, Oxford picked “toxic” and dictionary.com went with “misinformation.” (Both very appropriate, although somewhat negative in tone.)
But, no, my fellow PODS member patiently explained that a “word of the year” is something that helps you set an intention for the upcoming year. It’s supposed to be upbeat and optimistic. Basically, you narrow your focus into just one word. How can you improve your life? What are you currently struggling with? What’s most important to you? You pick a word that resonates with you and then visit it often during the year.
Lately, I’ve found myself racing from one place to the next and one project to another instead of being mindful and focusing on whatever task is at hand. The one area of calmness in my life has been weekly yoga sessions with Al of Southern Comfort Yoga (SoCoYo) in Richmond, VA. (Is that a great name or what?) One of Al’s favorite phrases during challenging poses in class is “Who’s breathing?” My husband has even taken to whispering “Who’s breathing?” in my ear when he senses my stress level has entered the danger zone.
Hence, my 2019 word of the year came to me immediately: breathe.