Last week, I shared with you from my heart and promised to be even more vulnerable with you all this year, as I’m going to do again today. The week before that, I shared some thoughts on an approach for the new year. If you missed those posts, go check them out.
One of the suggestions I had for the new year was to choose a theme word or intention that could guide your journey throughout the year. I did this last year, but to be perfectly honest, although it resonated with me for the first month or two, it lost its appeal throughout the rest of the year. Much the same way resolutions do for many people. It’s definitely necessary to re-evaluate goals on a regular basis, recognize when they are no longer priorities or have lost their meaning, and to adjust when appropriate. I think, however, the problem with my “word” last year was that it wasn’t fully me, and there are just some things that we can’t necessarily change about ourselves. So for instance, according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, if we are an Obliger, it is very unlikely can become an Upholder. It just doesn’t work that way typically.
Last year, I chose the word SMILE!
I still love the idea of that word and what it meant to me at the time, but I’m a pretty serious person. Do I think it could do me some good to “lighten up” a bit sometimes and allow more laughter? Yeah, I do. And I think it’s important to find joy and lightness or laughter more often, but overall I didn’t want it to feel forced, either. Maybe I could have worked a little harder at it, but it just lost it’s pull for me. I hope this doesn’t make it sound like I never smile or laugh because that’s simply not true. But when I smile, I want it to be REAL and AUTHENTIC! There WAS a shift that occurred for me last year, but it was more of an internal smile than an outward one, and that’s perfectly okay with me. In fact, it was a far bigger shift than would have happened had I tried to plaster a fake smile on my face just for the sake of following through on a goal.
Being a mix of Upholder and Questioner, I prefer to be able to uphold whatever plan I make, yet I often question whether it’s the right one, especially when making a longer-term decision. So, this year I just didn’t have a word coming to me. What I uncovered as I waited for it was that I still have some work to do around FEAR of failure. I think we’ve all experienced this same fear to some degree and there are often many opportunities to dig deeper into this. The more we grow, the more often this is likely to come up as we bust through barriers and our limiting beliefs.
So, I just kept marinating in the thoughts and emotions I was having around the new year. I think these intentions and desires really have to come from within. They aren’t something we want to simply contrive. And so after some time, something finally came to me…
The word is STRETCH!
However, you want to know something funny? After a few experiences already, I’m QUESTIONING whether this is the right feeling I was going for.
Let me explain…
For the past 5+ years, I have had to put a lot “on hold”. The situation with my health really kind of forced me to slow down [you can read my story here (part 1) and here (part 2)]. There were days way back at the beginning of my journey where more than 1 errand in a day with less than 3 days recovery in between was really too much for me. I wasn’t bedridden, but my activity tolerance was EXTREMELY limited. As I began to recover, I had to learn my limits. It was so easy on days I was feeling better to want to do more, yet I quickly learned how much this could set me back. I’ve been very gentle on myself and giving myself lots of grace in this recovery process BECAUSE I’ve learned the importance of being IN TUNE with my body’s needs.
I’m at a point in my healing, however, where I’ve developed more RESILIENCE. I’ve stopped thinking of myself as fragile (more in an upcoming post) and been able to focus more on how I’m STRONG! I’m ready to push myself just a bit further in order to reach some of the goals I have this year. Thus, my word for the year finally came to me: STRETCH.
You see, we are told when we stretch that we want to reach just until we feel the stretch in the muscle. Depending on the specific stretch, sometimes, there might even be a tiny edge of discomfort, but there shouldn’t be pain. That’s what I see for myself this year. I will stretch myself a bit to reach the goals I have. There may be some discomfort as I reach outside of my comfort zone a bit, but I will remain in tune with my body so as not to stretch to the point of “pain”. I will still honor my body and its needs, giving myself grace as needed. My health remains a TOP priority, so I will adjust as needed as I go.
What I didn’t expect with this word, however, was being stretched in different directions.
All I pictured was single-dimension stretching. Haha! But as this year has gotten started, there have been MULTIPLE times already that I have felt the pull in 2 directions, or, often, multiple directions. I think many of us are familiar with this pull. So, I’m re-evaluating whether the word should be REACH, rather than stretch, since it gives more of a one-direction feeling! For now, however, I’m going to stick with STRETCH and simply remember my intention and aim to remain in alignment with my desires. The growing pains of change are real, and my family is going through various transitions right now all at once. So, I’m going to let those settle and move forward with my grounding intention of STRETCH.