As 2021 starts to unfold, I've spent the last few weeks really thinking about this upcoming year and what I'd like to focus on and how I'd like to feel next December. Annual resolutions aren't really my thing; I tend to break them and then feel even worse than before they were set, and goals seem to always be hard for me to reach when I spent too much time planning the road to success. I guess I'm learning to accept the truth that I am a spontaneous thinker and multi-passionate squirrel chaser (I have a lot of interests and can get easily distracted). But, this year feels different to me. It feels like I'm suppose to release my old "fly by the seat of my pants" approach and get a little more serious about some significant change in my world that will help elevate my health, joy, and relationships. The past year of 2020 has really taken a toll on my viewpoint for things around me, what is truly important, and my role in giving time to all the influences that steal my sense of peace. I know it sounds dramatic, but if 2020 gave me any gift - it would be the gift of appreciation and reflection. So, 2021 is going to bring changes; some are going to be challenging/painful and others are going to be building on behaviors that needed a little more attention.
I started the year thinking about a word that will represent 2021 for me. This word needed to be fluid and flexible as I personally evolved throughout the 12 months. It needed to represent an overarching feeling I wanted everything I do to represent while I also wanted it to be motivating enough that I could return to it if I fell off course at any time. It needed to stand as a symbol for what I was leaving in 2020 for a better 2021. A positive gesture of new behaviors focusing on good work instead of what didn't measure up or needed to improve. I wanted it to be vague enough I could apply it to all my areas of life, but simple enough it would be tangible in all situations.
I thought long and hard for many days...until my word showed up.
2021 will represent a chapter in my life about FUEL - fuel for my soul, fuel for my body, fuel for my mind, and fuel for my relationships. Anything or anyone bringing positive effects and influence to my world could serve as FUEL to my life. All others, would be left in 2020.
This isn't an easy decision or word to oblige by, in fact I'm walking it out now and realizing how hard it really can be. In 2021 there are some things I know I'll be shifting my actions and ideas from and replacing them with other options that bring fuel to my world. For example, here are some I've already started:
Fuel for my soul: I've started every morning this year with a morning quiet time connecting with my God, faith, His word, and a personal conversation. I've done this throughout my years, but never with so much excitement and perseverance to build a better foundation of trust and reliance on truth instead outside of our daily world. I want to feel fulfilled by something I know can sustain me when the world confuses me. Without fuel for my soul, the rest of my life seems empty and nothing else is quite satisfying.
Fuel for my body: A friend of mine, who has had great success getting healthier, turned me on to eating better for my personal body. So, 2021 has been filled with commitments to myself for better food choices and a continued dedication to activity promoting a healthier approach to my body. Not because I want to lose 10 lbs or to fit into a bathing suit come summer, but because I want to take an active role in being around for my husband, family, and friends for as long as God plans. I want energy to take me from situation to situation and give my best to everyone. This concept of being healthy isn't new, but the inspiration and reason why I want to feel good has evolved. This time, it's less about the outside and more about my inside.
Fuel for my mind: I have stepped away from anything that hurts my heart. Being a tender-heart like I am, this proves to be long list of items to consider. 2020 brought me pain and sadness when I watched the love for each other turn into something unpleasant. Its too much for my heart to see families, friends, and communities fractured with the use of a few short sentences or opposing views. I long for the days where we communicate with love, kindness, understanding, empathy, and discourse again. So, I've removed all sources who don't promote positive behavior. This is a tough one for me and probably makes me the most sad to walk away from because it has brought so much joy and connection to my life over the years. But until social media can be a source of fuel for my heart again - I think it needs to go.
Fuel for my relationships: I'm tired of email. I'm even tired of texting. I have a deep need and desire for connection; its just who I am. So, looking back on 2020 I realized even with social distancing my special connections became to far for me to be comfortable. I am honoring everyone's right to choose their communication style. But I miss laughing in person or across a telephone, listening with intention to support instead of be heard, checking in (I mean, really checking in) to make sure the surface appearance truly tells the whole story on how someone is doing. So, 2021 will bring more intentionality to being present and picking modes of communication that promote traveling down long roads of random subjects, hearing a voice that might need a warm word or reminder of strength, and a feeling only connecting with someone else gives you once you leave each others presence.
I'm sure the list doesn't stop here -- but this is where I'm starting.
This is the first time I've been publicly vocal about what I'm doing to change my upcoming year. Its funny how I felt a little insecure about sharing my approach to necessary changes in my life with an audience. It's almost as if saying it out loud will hold me more accountable and was I really ready for that kind of commitment? For 17 days I've been living a life that feels lighter, freer, more intentional, and full of time to find new ways of spreading love. I don't want this to just be a fast or a challenge, I really want this to evolve into a lifestyle. I might stumble and I might get sidetracked or distracted, but that's why I picked the word FUEL. It will never make me feel like I failed or was less than successful if something doesn't go the way I plan, but it will be my guiding light on how to get back to where I was and continue to grow in areas important to me.
I know this "FUEL list" has just started and is still incomplete because other needs will grow as the year continues. But, I figure I can always ask myself when situations arise, "Is this giving me FUEL?" and I'll figure out exactly what I need to do, how to return, or what to continue to find my 2021 peace.