I can’t remember when the tradition started, but I know it has been a few years now.
We used to go over to my parents for a New Year’s dinner before we had my son and, as we were sitting around the table, I’d prompt everyone to share their word for the year.
It felt different than goal setting, which can still be fun. But the final list can feel repetitive and surface level. Instead, narrowing it down to one word, or sometimes I’d allow one phrase, to encompass your hopes for the year felt like an exciting challenge.
I remember many of mine over the past few years involved being present and being in the moment. I’ve come a long way in being able to sit in the moment and not run from all that can come up internally when leaning into ourselves.
I know it comes from much more than choosing my one word, but narrowing down my goals to one word has helped keep me grounded, and makes it simple and easy to remember when I’m in the middle of all that a year can bring.
So, I’m keeping this going. And for 2024 my “word” is a phrase this year from Brene Brown:
Strong Back, Soft Front and Wild Heart
As I continue in the field of mental health, I know that I will always have much to learn. I’ve always loved to learn and foresee that continuing to be a strong characteristic of mine. So I don’t imagine continuing to learn being a problem.
But, I feel now I’m stepping into a point of having much to share, too. I’ve been able to do that through Intersections KC and have greatly enjoyed this space and the challenge it provides me of taking my thoughts to a coherent, written piece. So, I hope I have a strong back, I hope I have confidence as I continue to share what I’ve learned. And know that it is worthy of being shared and taking up space for others.
This also pertains to my parenting. There are many opinions out there on how to best parent. As I continue in the journey of parenting, I feel firmly that all parents are trying their best on this wild journey. But, I hope to remain confident in the choices I’m making, especially when they differ from those around me.
While having a strong back, I also hope to have a soft front. The latter half of 2023 was a bit cruel in ways I’m still processing. There were times I wanted to numb out and armor up. While I did give myself moments to do that, I always found my way back to sitting with the wealth of emotions that were coming up for me and processing them. I hope I can continue to do this. I hope when there is pain, grief, heartache and sadness that I eventually pull out a seat at the table and sit with those emotions and hear them out. Equally, I hope I don’t become jaded or too scared to fully lean into joy or happiness when it presents itself, too. And, again, when it comes to parenting, I hope I keep showing up with a soft front. Willing to see things from my son’s perspective and willing to implement the healthy coping skills I so often tell others about so that I can best sit with my son on his roller coaster of emotions.
And, lastly, I hope to continue growing in my wild heart. This past year, more than any other, I’ve stepped away from many values our society holds. I no longer drown in immense busyness, I no longer say yes to please everyone, I no longer strive to have all the latest and greatest of what is out there. Instead, I crave simplicity, I yearn for the sacred mundane beauty that is right in front of me, I grasp for what makes my house a deeply comforting home, and I seek a grounded knowing within myself. This may not sound wild to many, but for me, it is. And I hope I keep having more of it in 2024.
So, if you’ve already made your New Year’s resolutions, no need to throw them out. But, I encourage you to think of a word or phrase that you hope encompasses your 2024. A phrase that can be a grounding reminder throughout the year, a phrase that you will possibly find can be a root foundation for the resolutions you’ve already created.
May you find time to sit, be still and listen to all your hopes for this year to come.
Happiest of New Years.
Kylie Larson, MA, LPC