For the last few years, I’ve adopted a ‘word of the year’ to help set the tone for the year ahead. These words usually focus on some sort of aspect I’m trying to work on, be it work-life balance, practising mindfulness or giving more. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s amazing how one little world can make such a difference to your outlook.
Last year, my chosen word was ‘mindful’, and 2015 was most definitely the year that I became more aware of so many things in my life – from what I eat to how I work and how I spend my time (and money)… it all came into focus and, by the end of 2015, it became glaringly obvious that certain things needed to change.
And so, onto my word for 2016: a small, seemingly insignificant word, but make no mistake – it’s probably one of the most difficult words to use in daily life. Everything that went wrong in my life last year came down to not being able to utter this one little word. NO.
This year, I’m saying NO to overcommitting myself. I’m saying NO to things that don’t bring me joy, or that fail to make me jump out of bed in the morning. NO to overspending, NO to buying (more) things that I don’t need, NO to clutter (both physical and mental), NO to negative people, and NO to working so much that I don’t have time to spend quality time with my husband, my son, my friends… or myself, for that matter!
I need to set some serious boundaries in 2016, and I need to learn not to allow the guilt of saying no and potentially disappointing someone to consume me. It’s ok to say no. I have the right to say no. You have the right to say no.
I’m slowly starting to learn that I can’t do it all, as much as I’d like to. The reality is that I am both a business owner and a stay-at-home mom, with absolutely no help with childcare once Beanie gets home from daycare. It’s all me. I need to let go of the high expectations I have for myself, because there is only so much I can do within the space of 24 hours.
I’ve set up a new work schedule for myself, with strict working hours. I’ve been testing my new routine for the past week and a bit and so far, so good. I’m getting my work done, I’m spending more quality time with Beanie in the afternoons, and I’m still managing to squeeze in some me-time! I know it’s only the middle of January so things are bound to change and get a whole lot busier and more stressful as the year progresses, but I’m determined that 2016 will be the year that I finally learn to assert myself and make my own needs known.
What about you – do you have a specific word in mind for 2016?
Photograph: Abigail K