What's Your Word-of-the-Year?

I love the new year. There's something exhilarating about a fresh start, a clean slate, and a chance to begin again. 

In the sport of swimming, teams are often training over the New Year's holiday. We had a lot of international athletes on our team. We had a new year's count down for the different time zones across the world and even learned how to say "Happy New Year" in lots of different languages. 

I wanted to take time to celebrate this new beginning with the team - and tap into this powerful energy. Since we were already training hard and the team was pretty tired, I didn't want to add another serious "goal" to their plate..like coming up with a bunch of resolutions. I wanted to do something more fun...more powerful...more meaningful. That's when we started our annual tradition of choosing a word of the year. 

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Reflect, Reset, & Realign for the year ahead

This is the time of the year when days are darker and shorter. The holidays can ramp up a whole new level of stress in our lives. Give yourself the the gift of taking some time and space to reflect, reset, and realign for the year ahead. If you are working with your team right now, it can be great to give them this time and space as well.


Before you think back on your year, give yourself some time to get grounded and centered. You may even find it helpful to light a simple candle - something to signify this intention of allowing yourself time to reflect. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Feel your feet on the ground. Be in your body. Notice the rhythm of your breath, the beating of your heart, and any sensations you are feeling inside. 

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The Power of Undoing

We live in a society where we are constantly trying to have more, do more, & be more. I think it's about time for us all to just chill out.

All of the effort we put into perfecting and striving is driving us into the ground, burning us out - leaving us unmotivated and uninspired.

I hear more and more people who are pushing themselves to the brink - getting to the point of asking questions like: Why am I even doing this? How can I keep this up? Is it even worth it?

When you are constantly pouring yourself into your work - whether work is your job, or work is your family, or a combination of the two - you have to find ways to fill yourself back up once you've drained what you have to give. Most of the time, we think that this means DOING more or GOING somewhere. In reality, it means doing less and undoing all of the things that take us further away from our center in our daily lives.

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How to quiet the mind

Do you ever notice anything about the inner voice in your head? Have you stopped to actually listen to all the chatter?

I've been paying attention to mine over the years and have noticed 4 trends:

  • My inner voice prefers to focus on the past or the future. She rarely lives in the present.
  • She focuses primarily on ME.
  • My inner voice can be super negative!
  • She repeats many of the same messages...over and over again.

What's wrong with this?

Focus on past or future: The past brings up guilt, blame, and resentment. The future brings about worry, fear, or anxiety.

Focus on self: When we're absorbed by the self we have a hard time listening, connecting, or caring about others.

Negative self talk: Living in a state of scarcity...I'm not _______ enough. (pretty, skinny, wealthy, tough, strong, good, smart, or whatever it is you'd like to fill the blank with).  

Repeated messages: Take the message that you just created from above and repeat it over and over and over again. The impact of the repetition is exponential.

How do you quiet the mind? 

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Get vertical!

I learned a powerful concept last week. It's the idea of going horizontal versus getting vertical.

Let's see if I can bring this concept to life for you...

When you are horizontal...

...your attention is splattered all over the place. Your mind is scattered and you can get overwhelmed. Your emotions are on a roller coaster ride that slowly go up the hill, then quickly go down the hill. They veer quickly around corners and come to an abrupt stop. You literally feel as if you have left your body.

When you are vertical...

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Word of the year - a powerful new year's tradition

New Year's Resolutions - an outside in approach

There's nothing inherently wrong with setting new year's resolutions. It's great to have goals to work towards and things that you want to change in your life. The problem with resolutions that I've set is that they bring out my perfectionist tendencies even more. And when I fall short of these resolutions (which I always do) I end up getting down on myself and usually end up blowing them off completely by February. Bad habits return and I adopt a familiar "oh well" attitude.

One of my mentors provided a simple explanation for this. When we set resolutions, we are trying to DO this thing so we can HAVE this other thing so we can BE more of this other thing. For example, it's common to set resolutions to workout more. Essentially, by working out more (do) we hope to (have) more self esteem so we can (be) more confident.  This approach skips the most important part of the equation...which is who we want to become in the process. To be more confident, we need to work from the inside out...instead of the outside in.

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