Word of the year 2018
So it is New Years day and many are all about making New Year’s Resolutions. I could go ahead and list some things to achieve and sure as eggs I will get to the end of this year and say ‘well, it started out well, but the steam ran out at 4 weeks, 2 months, 3 months….and I didn’t get there. My resolution list would have looked something like this:
Experts talk about making sure goals are SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely or time bound. Resolutions can fall down in any one of those areas and in my experience they lack the timely element – you have a year. That is a long time to let yourself off the hook! ‘Resolutions’ is a cringe worthy word for me because of all the things I have said I will change about myself and never did. I feel I have let myself down and that is worse than a friend letting you down. It is depressing.
A word of the year is a better way. Last year I didn’t have a specific word, but ‘courage’ was very much part of the decision making that led me to where I am today. I 54321’d my way to making decisions and have the courage to study, the courage to try new things, the courage to come to Vietnam, the courage to learn to ride a motorbike at age 54.
About Word of the Year
This year I want to be more specific about my Word of the Year. There is plenty of material out there on the Internet about a word of the year approach to bettering ourselves. Here is a neat excerpt from Create and Connect:
- A resolution addresses the DO level of your life. If I DO this (exercise), then I will HAVE that (a healthy body), and then I will BE that (confident).
- Choosing a word, turns the thing around and starts you on the BE level. It starts you from where you want to BE. So if you want to BE confident for example, your word of the year could be COURAGE.
- Awareness: once you have chosen your word, the whole world starts shifting. Not massively at first. But your word is with you all the time. It will pop up in everything you think or do. Whenever you shy away from something it will make you think ‘How would a courageous person handle this situation?’.
- Baby steps: a word is not a to do list. It doesn’t say ‘you have to go to the gym 3 times a week in order to achieve your goal’. It allows you to go at your own rhythm.
- Bigger and better: a word is a much broader topic and hence engulfs your whole life and not just the fitness part for example. So you start shifting little things, but in more than one area in your life.
The word that has been popping into my mind all week has been minimalist. I am curious about a minimalist lifestyle or minimalism in general. I am living and working in Vietnam, so I do not want to collect too much stuff. In the words of my Sister who watched me pack suitcases on my recent trip home for Christmas, ‘if you take it over there you need to get it home again!’. I am in a position to live with very limited resources, like using only a Thermomix to cook, (and maybe a toaster!) having only 2 sets of plates and cutlery, one for me and one for a guest. (OK, maybe 4). Having only 2 towels, and 1 set of linen. (Yes my sheets will dry in a day and go back on the bed!) Doing digital scrapbooking – a very portable craft. But minimise has some connotations of being without so as the word of the year I am not sure it is a good fit.
On one site I visited it suggested the word of the year for Taurus people is knowledge. That would work. I am learning new skills every day. Better teaching strategies, Vietnamese language and culture, and of course reading stuff. I can get more knowledge and apply it to my new lifestyle. But, on reflection over this words I realise my whole life is about knowledge – I have studied and I have taught, so knowledge may not be challenging enough. The word I choose does need to give me some sense of challenge for growth and change.
It’s all good. Adapt
I have given this some thought, since mum commented that I said ‘it’s all good’. It is my way of saying I choose not to make an issue of this. It is my way of saying I accept your choices. It is my way of saying I have more important things to put my time, energy and emotions into. It is also saying no problem, I can deal with it. It is also a way of dealing with change. On a recent trip home my mum noticed me saying ‘It’s all good’ to things that could have caused some upset, and in another time not too long ago I may have. She had altered my room. I could have got upset, but really I did not have the energy to make a big deal out of it, and to some extent since I am not living in that room anymore, what would be the point of being upset? I realised she would adapt to my absence as much as I am adapting to life abroad.
Here in Vietnam, things are done differently, so I have had to be adaptable. Life is less predictable here, at least for now and I have had to go with the flow. I can recognise the things I can change and deal with those I cannot, such as the crazy red tape hoops you jump through for things like visa’s and work permits. I have also had to adapt my communication skills, speaking slower English. My tastes in food have to change. My daily routines have to flex to meet the demands of working evenings and weekends. Life is now very much all about being adaptable and not being full of angst about change. As human beings we notoriously dislike and object to change, yet we live in a modern world rife with rapid change, so rather than expend energy fighting the changes we do not like, we need to adapt to them. A little research on having an adaptable attitude has confirmed for me this is to be my word for 2018. (Links below)
10 things Adapt looks like for me….
So it is settled then. A little research on having an adaptable attitude has confirmed for me this is to be my word for 2018. (Links below) Here is some of what that will mean for me in terms of the year ahead.
- Learn enough Vietnamese to communicate at least on a basic level so my needs can be met – physically and socially.
- Adapt the morning routine to something new that will work with Vietnamese lifestyle.
- Adapt to living with less ‘stuff’ – become minimalist.
- Discover new ideas and adapt my teaching methods to help students learn English. This means recognising when something is not working and fixing it.
- Adapt recipes for food I cook when ingredients cannot be found. Be creative!
- Adapt to becoming a money hoarder rather than money spender. Taking care of my needs is as important as looking after others.
- be open to the richness of new friendships.
- Find new ways to be creative as I no longer have a craft room.
- Be open to saying yes to new things.
- Say it’s all good, when something has not worked out the way I may have liked it to.
Here are just a couple of the posts I looked at before finalising my ‘word’. These are really in addition to tons of ideas that come from reading books like the ones in my 2017 reading list.