Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Blossoming into the New Year

By Tim Atkins


“Make New Year's goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you're interested in fully living life in the year to come.”
—Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency

Ever since 2016, I’ve been picking a word that serves as the theme for my year: a single word that I want to serve as my grounding; my personal lodestar for the upcoming year.*

Joy. Embrace. Explore. Delight. Authenticity. Roots. Each of those words has represented a year of my life. Part of my New Year’s tradition is reflecting on those words from prior years, and how my year was influenced by that theme.

In January 2021, I chose “roots.” During challenging times throughout the year, when I wasn’t sure what to do, I used my word to guide me: I meditated on “roots” and found an activity that helped build the roots I had been seeking. It motivated me to do tasks I normally would never have attempted – like my backyard rose bushes. It helped give this introvert the motivation to meet people in my neighborhood and attend some local neighborhood festivals. It helped me pay closer attention to state-specific and local justice issues. I will forever remember 2021 not as “Year Two of the Pandemic,” but as my year of roots.

After I’m done reflecting on the past year, I think about what comes next: Where am I on my Life’s Journey? What would I change if I could? What do I notice happening in my own personal evolution? What do I want to come next? What do I need to come next? After careful consideration, I decide on my single word theme for the new year.

The year "2022" written in flowers, leaves, and pinecones

For 2022, my word will be “blossom.” Sure, it flows naturally from last year’s “roots,” but I’ve also noticed new facets of my identity that are starting to blossom. It’s time to let myself try new things and really truly allow myself to blossom, and observe what beauty develops. It’s time to truly blossom into a new, more fully-realized version myself.

If this is your first year to the idea, I invite you to consider making this one of your own personal New Year’s traditions, too. When you think about your 2022, what word do you want your theme of the year to be? What word might you use as your centering lodestar for 2022?

Prayer

Give me comfort as I reflect on the past year and remember all the peaks and valleys on the journey. Give me wisdom as I seek out what is right for me for the new year. Give me inspiration as I define my intentions for the new year. And give me courage to live the life I yearn for.

*Editor’s Note: for longtime readers of Braver/Wiser, this is our third year celebrating the New Year together with Tim. If you’re new to his practice and curious about it, you can read about his 2020 and 2021 experiences.