My parents never pressured my sisters or me to write New Year’s resolutions. Thus, despite my love of goals and lists, this tradition has never been part of my life. Listening to other people rattle off their desire to lose weight, exercise more, stop eating certain foods, etc. filled me with embarrassment and guilt. How come I was the only one unwilling to change for the better? Was I too proud to see my own failings? Did I constantly overlook my weaknesses and refuse to address my mistakes? Sometimes, I tried to whip up a quick list of things I wanted in the coming year, but usually I just shuffled my feet and mumbled excuses for not participating in this activity. Only a selfish, lazy, immature person would refuse to make a New Year’s resolution, right?
In treatment for my eating disorder, I celebrated the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012. Last year, the hospital staff heralded in the New Year with me. Both times, health providers encouraged patients to choose a word for the coming year instead of making resolutions. In their opinions, this would not fill a person with guilt but motivate living with a purpose.
Although skeptical at first, I decided to give this idea a try. My word for 2012 was “Blossom.” Dreams of maturing beautifully into the person I wanted to be inspired this decision. To remind myself of this special word, I created artwork with flowers surrounded by “blossom” as well as related quotes.
Although I ended up relapsing last summer, having this word in mind throughout the year helped me to grow and – yes – blossom. Thus, choosing a word for 2013 filled me with eagerness. This time it was “Sparkle.” Hoping to be a light in the dark for others, I used this word to motivate many things in my life – starting this blog, being honest about my illnesses, making new friends, speaking out for awareness and advocacy, etc. Although not perfect, this year left me filled with joy and hope. A light has begun to glisten in my darkness as I have tried to glimmer with hope for others. “Sparkle” really did represent 2013.
This year, my word is “Emerge.” Although it does not sound as beautiful as the other two, it means a great deal to me. Like a butterfly, I hope to break free from my chrysalis (mental illness) and be the beautiful butterfly who was always deep inside of me. That is my hope and inspiration for 2014. I know this year will not be simple, but this word gives me hope for another wonderful surprise of 365 and 1/4 days.
If you like this idea, I encourage you to do the same. Pick a word for this year and try to live by it. I would also love it if you want to share it with me in a comment. Happy New Year to you all! I hope that this is a new, hopeful start for all of you.