Look, I’m not going to lie, trendy “power words” aren’t my thing. I didn’t take to social media on December 31st announcing my big #wordoftheyear (because it doesn’t count unless you can hashtag the heck out of it, lol). I don’t have an issue with other people doing it if it brings them joy and helps them focus, but I personally find them a little too much like a resolution, something else that I just don’t do. Instead of coming up with a hashtag friendly tagline for 2048, I thought about what I wanted to accomplish in general, not just in the year ahead but for the rest of my life. One word showed up in just about all of my goals: be. That simple two-letter word holds more meaning to me than any hashtagable phrase on the planet. If you’re looking for a life-changing word, there you go.

 Powerful Things to BE in 2018 & Beyond

1. BE Kinder

Above all other things, be kind. I feel like we were doing pretty well at becoming a kinder species, right up until 2016. Then something changed and hate got just a little too trendy. I’m not going to get into politics here. I think it’s probably pretty obvious just from my personality and general themes on my site which side of the political spectrum I fall on. Being kind isn’t really too hard. It all comes down to one simple thing: empathy. If you’ve got it, use it. Sadly, there are too many people who just don’t have it, so those of us who aren’t sociopaths need to work a little harder to make the world a brighter place.

Be: The Most Powerful Power Word of 2018

2. BE Positive

I’ve kind of sunk into a downward spiral of depression these last few years and it’s gotten harder and harder to find my bliss. I used to be a relatively emotional person. Sure, sometimes those emotions were extreme (I’d bawl at the drop of a hat, but I’d also laugh like crazy). Lately, I feel dull and numb, like it takes energy to get excited. I fake it pretty well, but my “resting emotion” is just blah. I’m trying to be happier again, to actually get excited about the little things that used to bring me so much joy. Part of that is finding the positive side of things as often as possible. For example, instead of grumping about shoveling snow, I revel in the beauty of a white landscape. THEN I grump about shoveling! 😀 I’m not going to lie and say that every cloud has a silver lining. Some clouds are just grey and miserable, with no bright side at all. My goal is to find the positive when feasible, not become one of those annoying people who says is perpetually saying “look on the bright side” about every horrific tragedy.

3. BE Braver

I have way too many fears. I probably will never get over the majority of them. I’m 40-ish years old, if I haven’t gotten over my fear of heights, small spaces, and driving on the highway yet, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Those fears don’t really hold me back, though. Well, aside from driving on the highway, but there are always ways around that. I want to be braver when it comes to the things that actually ARE holding me back. Things like my fear of saying no (because I don’t like to disappoint people), my fear of asking for what I’m worth, of standing up for myself. My fear of talking to new people, of speaking up when I have an idea. Those things are keeping me from reaching my full potential, so I will try to be brave.

 

4. BE More Patient

Patience, my friends, is NOT one of my virtues. I joke that when the gods/universe/whatever was handing it out, I got bored waiting in line and left. When I found myself starting the stop watch app on my phone because I wanted to see how much of my life I was wasting in line at the post office waiting for my 2-Day Shipping package, I realized that my lack of patience had reached a new breaking point. To my post office’s credit, they did get through an out-the-door line in under 20 minutes.

I’m never going to love standing in long lines, or waiting an hour past my appointment time to see a doctor. No one loves those things. I can, however, control my response to the situation. Instead of seething for an hour, I can plan ahead and use the time to catch up on reading. I can work on my “be braver” and strike up conversations with strangers, or my “be kinder” and actually let someone go ahead of me if I can see that they’re struggling trying to juggle packages, or if they have one item to my 50.

5. Just BE

Sounds simple, right? We all are, so why can’t we be? The thing is, ever since I started Pretty Opinionated 7 years ago, I haven’t really felt like I had time to just be. Nearly everything I do has an ulterior motive these days: to benefit my brand. I don’t just make brownies for fun, I think: how can I make these look pretty so I can publish a recipe and maybe get some traffic? Then I end up not making them because I think “well, the lighting isn’t right, I don’t have props, I don’t have sprinkles to make them more eye-catching,” and so on. When we go to new places, I see more of it through my camera lens than I do with my naked eyes because I’m thinking “I can write about this!”

In 2018 and beyond, I’m focusing more on just being. I’ll leave my camera at home more often, or take pictures of real life and not worry about whether they’re “Instagram-worthy.” I won’t spend every waking hour writing in my head, brainstorming ideas, and trying to figure out how I can turn every aspect of my life into a blog post. I know this isn’t a problem specific to bloggers. Social media has turned all of us into people who don’t know how to just be anymore. We’re all comparing our dinners to our favorite Instagrammers, measuring our kids’ crafts against the most popular pins on Pinterest, and trying to be witty enough to go viral on Twitter. We all need to just stop and just start being ourselves again.

Think about your resolutions, power words, and goals and how you can change them from abstract ideas into ways to be. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, change it to “Be comfortable in my own body.” Even changing something like “organize my whole house” to “be organized” shifts something in your brain. Try it if you don’t believe me!

What are some things you want to BE in 2018 and beyond?