We all love a new year. We all bid the previous year farewell, often with a “don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” This new year is going to be MY year, we proudly exclaim. Three months in, we’re already bummed out about what the new year has actually meant. Nothing actually changes unless we do. People we love die. Things don’t go according to plan. Life is hard. Every. Single. Year.

The last year I actually made resolutions was 2016. Lose weight, budget better, succeed in business, organize my time. The same big goals (with very minor variations) I had attempted to achieve each prior year. I won some, I lost some. In 2017, I decided to forgo the tired trope of self-fulfilling failure and made no resolutions. In fact, I actively mocked the idea of resolving to be a different person simply because one number had changed on the calendar. I know who I am. It’s not a “new year, new me”. I’m the same person deep inside that I have always been. The work to change and grow is important, but it’s important ALL THE TIME. Not just when the clock strikes midnight. Yay.

For 2018, I embraced the “word of the year” trend. I wanted to intentionally choose one word that I could apply to these facets of my life. A straightforward word to bridge the gaps between who I am and who I want to be. I chose “strong”. I thought it was applicable everywhere. Be strong in my resolve to achieve whatever goals I set. Have strength in the face of challenges within my relationships, my business. Moving away from the cursed number on the scale and working on my physical strength. Like all things, there was an ebb and flow with my word. I do feel like it helped to have one simple concept to which to return if ever I lost my way. Be strong. Things are hard, but be strong and overcome.

Although my arm muscles are the weakest they have ever been, I feel good about my inaugural attempt at a word of the year. For 2019, I’m doing it this way once more. I have some big ideas and plans and projects going forward, and I’m going to use my word of the year to bring me back to center as often as I can remember.

While listening to a podcaster talk about their personal goals, on a piece of paper beside my laptop, I scribbled “new word”. Because my brain has been all over the place recently, I wrote down “focus”. But that won’t work. Sometimes, one has to let go of focus to branch out and find something new that may or may not work. “Experiment”. Too chaotic for me. “Motivation”. Too cliché and broad to actually do any good for me. “Confidence”. Confidence is something with which I have struggled for a very long time, nigh on my entire life. Here and there, I feel confident, but more often than not, it’s just the absence of shame rather than a true belief in myself. While it can be a helpful tool in many areas of my life, it’s too daunting at the moment. And then, it came to me.

“Empower”. My word for 2019 is “empower”. It brings all the things together. It honestly makes me emotional just thinking about what that means to and for me. I can use it to broaden my intent of being strong, but I can build on more with it as well. Empower my friends, empower my marriage, empower my children. Empower myself to build upon what I have already built. Empower whoever and whatever I can, including my arm muscles.

Happy New Year, folks. Here’s to continuing to kick ass and rise the fuck up.