Hi guys! Thanks for joining me today! Last week I shared my word of the year as SURRENDER. At first look, that seems like an odd choice… surrender is a word that usually brings up images of defeat or giving up. But here me out. If you know me, I am anything but about giving up. I am all about persistence, hard-work, motivation, etc… so why surrender. Keep reading to find out. Before we get into the weeds of why I chose SURRENDER as the word of the year (and also the research), let me remind you of
And finally, in 2020 it is SURRENDER.
What does the word mean?
Verb: cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.
Noun: the action of surrendering.Dictionary.com
Why choose a word of the year?
For the last three years, I have moved away from New Years resolutions because I find that they simply don’t work. Rather, I have been drawn to choosing a word, or a word of the year, to set intentions and themes to guide my actions and outlook for the year.
And here is some research for you that drives this point home:
About half of all people make New Years resolutions…and about 80% of them FAIL!!. A lot of it has to with unrealistic expectations and what psychologists call the “False Hope Syndrome”. Essentially, as the year end rolls around we take the time to reflect on our year and we automatically see things we want to change or that weren’t that great. The main reason that people don’t stick to their resolutions is that they set too many or they’re unrealistic to achieve. False Hope Syndrome is characterized by a person’s unrealistic expectations about the likely speed, amount, ease and consequences of changing their behaviour. One of you reached out to me and said that she didn’t realize she had pretty much an amazing decade until she read my blog post last week, because she hadn’t reflected on the things that she did accomplish.
Let that sink in.
Our brains are automatically wired to look at the things that we did NOT do right. We focus on things that did NOT work out according to some comparative standard (there’s a whole research area in social comparison theories I won’t go into here). It’s built in into us, and social media can totally magnify our comparison. My solution to this has been implementing the word of the year, and really thinking through the WHY.
We focus on things that need to be changed, and we try to fix them. This is because no one wants to feel like they aren’t good enough or don’t have it under control.
We set these lofty New Years resolutions.
And we set ourselves up for failure.
This year I am replacing these resolutions with a word of the year.
Rather than have unrealistic goals I know I won’t be able to achieve, I’m going to give myself some grace and pick a theme for the year. I am going to try my best and push myself to live my life to bring that theme into reality.
No, I’m not giving up to anything or anyone. But rather, I am shifting my focus to being more present, more intentional (from last year), and more balanced in my approach to controlling things in my life.
I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life in a meticulously planned way. I planned when I would start graduate school, detailed timelines for courses/clinical hours/research/dissertation… heck I even planned (god willing) when we would try to get pregnant because I didn’t want to miss a term in school (success: Liyana was born 10 days after my term ended! Alhamdullillah- Allah made that possible).
So this decade – I will still plan because I have to live life.
The “How” of “Surrendering”
What I won’t be doing is planning and having every single detail of my life figured out. I am going to surrender and embrace life, and roll with the punches as they say. I am going to try. This doesn’t come naturally to me. So it will be a work in progress.
Some other things the word surrender means to me are:
- experience emotions, and actively reflect on them and consciously try to not shove them away.
- be simultaneous and flexible in planning “life”
- have faith/tawakkul in Allah and His plan for me and our family.
- trust my instincts a bit more, rather than overanalyzing things to death (which is my typical pattern).
- give up expectations of others – this is where I run into problems usually!
These are all aspirational goals and guidelines for me based on my word of the year. They aren’t resolutions to check out.. but rather give me the flexibility of trying to work on them constantly because after all, I am a work in progress.
Now tell me… do you have a word of the year?