2018 was quite the year for my family. We started knowing we wanted to make a big change but not knowing our direction, and ended our year having moved closer to family and me in a new career that I love. There’s a lot I’m looking forward to in 2019, and one thing that I know will help me with all of my goals and plans for the year is choosing one word to focus on.

2017 was my first year of choosing a word. I had seen others choosing a word to center their year rather than a resolution: a word like grace, forgiveness, or peace; a word to focus on and inspire them throughout the year. 2016 had been a really rough year. I had just graduated with my masters and entered the career force, but hadn’t found the right job or field for me yet. My health had really gone downhill, finally leading to my two biggest diagnoses that have led to most of my other complications. I knew I wanted 2017 to be different, so I chose the word “well” to focus on. I knew with my lifelong, life-changing chronic illness diagnoses, I would never be healthy. But I could cultivate wellness, a sense of being well, of things being “well with my soul,” like the hymn says, despite my physical illnesses. And honestly, with the word “well” to focus on, 2017 was a year of a brand new perspective. I was able to focus on and make choices that led to me feeling well and holding that sense of peace about my illnesses within me.

2018 was a less effective word year. I think my word was “light,” but it never really stuck, and it didn’t motivate me the way Well did. By late September, I had gone back to using well as my main motivating word. The word “well” has honestly become my life word. My goal has become to move about life sick, but with a powerful inner wellness. I will never be healthy, but I can be well.

I still want to choose a focus word especially for 2019, hoping that it can center me the way “well” did in 2017. I wanted to choose adventure, but honestly that is more aspirational than anything. I have a bit of a travel bug, but I know we aren’t going to be doing any major trips in 2019 (I want to save up for a Disney/Universal 2020 trip for when Snowy is 6). We will have little adventures here and there, and everyday is honestly an adventure with Snowy, but it didn’t seem like the right word.

It didn’t take me long to land on resilience. In my job in an educational nonprofit, we have been learning a lot about emotional intelligence: the skills like empathy, kindness, and self-awareness that help kids succeed in life. One of those key traits is possessing grit. Grit is defined as courage and resolve, possessing a strength of character. Grit is the determination that helps one push through the hard stuff and emerge resilient. Someone with grit knows that things are going to be tough, but they are tougher.

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This is what I want to possess in 2019. I know it won’t be an easy year because no year is. I have many chronic illnesses, a marriage, a nearly 5-year-old, and a new career I am just growing in. I could easily let those things either overwhelm me, or excite me. Though I know I might be temporarily overwhelmed, I want to choose excitement whenever I can this year, to see my challenges as things I can deal with, that I can have the grit to overcome.

Related to that, I have a few general goals that I want to use a new sense of grit and resilience to reach. I want to continue to be the best mom, wife, family member, and friend I can be. I want to talk to long-distance friends more often, and get together more with my newly more local friends and family. I want to see the small trips we are going on this year–a week of camping and volunteering at the campground I grew up going to every summer; a train trip to Chicago in just a few days; an annual trip to Michigan’s Upper Penninsula–as the adventures they are, and embrace them for that. I want to continue to grow and learn in my new career, and support Mr. Snowflake in his. I want to support Snowy as she starts Kindergarten. I want to save money towards future goals and paying off debts. I want to continue to blog and to work on publishing a novel. And I want to continue to cultivate the grit to work towards all these goals: a grit that knows I can always keep going despite setbacks, and that there’s always tomorrow.

I am sure 2019 has more than a few surprises in store for our family, and that not all of them will be positive. Like every year, there will be challenges and punches we all have to roll with. But my goal is to possess grit and push through these challenges, and to pass this grit down to Snowy.

Do you have any goals or dreams for the new year? If you do a “one word” resolution, what’s your word?