One Word for 2021

If anyone set traditional goals for 2020… I’m sorry. I feel for you.

A few years ago I moved away from making New Years resolutions and opted for a gentler approach to goal setting. Since we never know what the year will look like (I don’t think anyone saw 2020 coming), intentions are a way to still be focused in your growth without the negative self-talk that almost inevitably comes with failing your goals. Intentions allow for the normal waves of life, without derailing your progress.

I still do make goals. But I’ve learned to let go of the needless pressure of self-inflicted deadlines. For example, one of my goals for 2021 is to hike more often. However, “hike more” is really just an intention. Inside of that, my goal is to do 52 hikes, which gives me something to aim for. But even if I don’t do all 52, it will still get me closer to my intention.

And especially with the way 2020 turned out, who can really even make solid plans for 2021?

That’s why I chose a word, one intention, to focus on for the year. It gives me opportunities and areas to grow, even if my plans get thrown out the window and the world shuts down. A word to guide my year allows me to focus on who I want to become instead of goals that can quickly become outdated.

For 2018, I chose pursue.
For 2019, I chose cultivate.
For 2020, I chose awareness.

For 2021, I choose tapestry.

I originally had a different word that I was all but set on for 2021. It was a more optimistic and hopeful, a stronger word. I like to keep my search open into January because I want to choose a word that suits me and not just pick a word off a whim.

Despite my best intentions, my original word choice fell horribly flat and didn’t resonate only a few days into the year. Eventually, I chose “tapestry” as my word of the year.

noun /ˈtæp·ə·stri/ a strong cloth with colored threads woven into it to create a picture or design

Our lives are made up of a wide array of emotions, experiences, and lessons. Combined, that’s what makes us who we are. If we were always joyful or happy, we would miss out on enormous personal growth. One of my favorite quotes used to be:

“All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.” – an Arab proverb (according to the internet)

Our lives are filled with sad, exciting, peaceful, and sorrowful moments. And that’s what makes the tapestry of our lives so beautiful — even if they are moments that only you can see. Even before the pandemic, we lived much of our lives online. And now that has become an even more primary way we connect with each other. It’s tempting to focus on one angle in how we portray our lives. Yet, it’s the sum of our experiences that make us into the beautiful people that we are.

This year, I want to embrace the beauty of each moment — messy or not. To fully whatever feelings my days or months hold. To sit with the difficult emotions and celebrate the easier ones. To keep the tapestry of our lives in perspective while still admiring and holding space for each of the individual threads.

What areas do you want to grow in in 2021? I’d love to hear about your intentions for this year!


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