Words for the New Year

This week's Upbeat Authors theme is New Year's resolutions. Instead of making a resolution, I've chosen, as a lot of people do, a word of the year.

I had trouble narrowing it down to one word.

2016 was a tough year for me, due to a lingering injury that messed up every aspect of my life. 2017 was tough too, but for a lot of different reasons and lead to a lot of soul-searching. But all that happened has brought me to this point, and I'd like to think it's made me wiser and also equipped me to better handle anything that comes my way in 2018.

Word one: Steady.

I have to credit Dan Rather for this one. "Steady." is something his grandfather often said to him over the years, when stress and trouble wound their way into his life. Steady is a good reminder for me too. Hold the course, don't lose sight of what matters, don't get pulled into too many directions and feelings that won't help the situation.

Word two: Breathe.

Credit for this one goes to Brent Smith, lead singer of Shinedown. "Deep breath... Now move." is listed in his Twitter profile. Stopping to take a deep breathe often helps you to refocus. When you're stressed, your breaths are usually shallow, and that's not going to help ease you at all. I can just stressed pretty easily (one of the things I'm working hard on changing, because stress is so detrimental to your health), and a deep breath, followed by another, gives you pause. It literally is like pause button. Deep breath, think rationally, and then react.

Word three: Focus.

There are so many distractions, both real and self-created, both externally and internally, and it's so easy to lose focus. Or, things happen that have the power to bring your progress to a grinding halt. There are all sorts of set-backs and mistakes, missteps, and disappointments. But focus is a reminder to keep going in spite of them. I have goals for myself this year, writing projects, fitness, health and well-being, and I'm not about to let anything keep me from achieving them. Not anymore.

So, those are my three words. If you want the new year to be your best year, don't sit on the sidelines and wait for it to come to you. You need to be an active participant in your life. Go out. Make a change. Be excited. Do what makes you happy. Be happy. Get rid of the things that no longer serve you. Remove the negative, toxic people from your life. Be present. Say yes. And above all, believe in yourself.