2018 – Stronger than Before

As with every year, I kept an ongoing list for my possible words in 2018. I tend to start this list around February because sometimes ideas come to me early in the year and I want to track them for different reasons. Throughout the year, different words feel like winners. They feel like they have potential. Here’s a peek at this year’s list:

  • strong
  • open
  • light (not heavy) – lighten
  • fresh
  • balance
  • tend
  • calm
  • alive
  • whole
  • belonging


Here is a reminder for my rules for picking a word:

  1. I don’t want to pick a word for something I wish I were. Like “easy” or “calm.” I feel that when I pick a word that’s likely to make me feel intimidated, I spend most of the year feeling bad about letting myself down. The word should push/encourage me but it shouldn’t be aspirational. It should be inspirational.
  2. I loved my 2015 word (brave) so much that I feel I am always trying to find a word that will be as magical as brave was for me. I am learning that I will just have to carry brave around with me forever and not worry about having such a powerful word each time. One of the gifts of brave was that I realized how brave I already was. It was a perspective-shifting word.
  3. Some words are more action oriented (like brave, adventure, nourish) and some are more introspective (like easy, equable, magic) and what I want is a combination of both.

As it seems to be my trend lately, I picked my word around July. Even though I went back and forth many times and I am still finding myself wavering at times, I’ve settled on STRONG for 2018.

This word came to me from several different angles: physical, mental, and emotional. I feel like I am in a good place at the moment and I want to build on this momentum to really take the time and strengthen areas of my life that I care about and want to focus on. Strong also has the potential to propel me like brave did so I am hoping it’s as impactful a word. 


I made a list of some of the mottos I want to carry with me as I move my way through this year and towards a version of me that’s stronger than before. Many of these are inspired by the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do article.

Here they are, ways to be mentally, emotionally, and physically strong:

  1. Let Go of the Past: There is no need to hold on to the parts of me that don’t serve me or make me stronger. The past is in the past and I’ve already learned all the lessons it was here to offer me. It’s time to let it go and face forward. Each day is a new one and I get to decide who I choose to be on that day. The deal is: I do, I reflect, I learn, I do better.
  2. Take More Risks: This is not stupid risks like jumping off a cliff and hoping nothing happens. This is calculated risks. Pushing outside of my comfort zone. Finding the boundaries and then stretching them a bit. This is how I get stronger.
  3. Embrace Change: I don’t like change but so what? I can’t stop it from happening. Life is constant change and 90% of it is outside my control. So my plan this year is to do a 180 here. I embrace change. Bring it on!
  4. Create Boundaries: This is a really important one.  If I don’t create my boundaries, people will create them for me. If I don’t decide my hours of work, people will call me at all hours. If I don’t decide who gets to hurt me, everyone will. Boundaries means I am self aware and I am intentional about my life. 
  5. Choose Whom to Please: Similar to my boundaries, if I try to please everyone, i please no one. I need to prioritize and I need to consciously choose who matters. Everyone doesn’t matter equally.
  6. Learn More and Deeper: I love learning. Love love love. But I feel I am often too busy to build this into my life properly. Too lazy to really stick with things and too interested in too many things. One of my goals this year is to decide where I want to go deep. I don’t want to stay on the surface.
  7. Believe in Abundance: It’s very easy for me to fall into the scarcity mindset. It’s easy for me to feel small, scared, and worried. I don’t want to do this. Being stronger here means believing in abundance. Giving freely. Knowing there are many pies to go around. And knowing that was you give out comes back to you many-fold.
  8. Show Up:  I should have put this one first. Because it’s the first rule of life, in my opinion. You must show up. Show up for your people. Show up at the gym. Show up for yourself. Show up at work. Show up at the school. Show up at a social event. Show up.
  9. Try Harder: My hope is that strong will show me what trying harder looks like. Can I give a little more? Am I really trying my hardest? Does my hardest change with time? Effort?
  10. Keep Going: The other big rule about getting stronger (and about life) is that we don’t give up. We show up. We try. We try harder. We rest. We keep going. We always keep going. Never, ever give up.
  11. Choose Joy: Because really, that’s the point of life. Joy. Abundant joy. I want to choose gratitude because it’s my path to joy.
  12. Sit with It: Being Emotionally strong means living the length and the width of your life. Feeling all the feelings. Not hiding, not burying, not ignoring. Sitting with it, letting it pass through me. The only way out is always through. 
  13. Make Mistakes (and Learn from Them): If I am not making mistakes, I am not trying new things. If I am not trying new things, I am not growing. There are very (very) few mistakes that are unrecoverable in life. Being stronger means taking more chances. Taking more chances means making more mistakes. So I make mistakes and then take the time to learn from them. Like I mentioned above:  I do, I reflect, I learn, I do better.
  14. Live your Values: Being strong means being who I am. Knowing who I am and honoring that. Each time I see one of my coaching clients struggle, it’s because their life is not aligned with their values. So here’s to living with my values of unconditional love, learning, peace, service, and gratitude.

So there we go. Here’s to a year of strength. Here’s to a stronger me in 2018!

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