Training: Why My “Word of the Year” From 2019 Is Still My Word in 2021

It’s January and you’ve probably already decided what your goals and resolutions are for the new year. But mine this year haven’t changed much from the last two years. Yes, even after the year we all just experienced, my “word,” my goals and resolutions haven’t really changed.


I confess New Years Resolutions were never really my thing. I’m not that consistent, my interests tend to change a lot, plus #momlife means you gotta stay flexible because unmet expectations are the worst. So I never thought that coming up with goals was worth the effort.

But I made an attempt in 2019. It seemed as if everyone was choosing a “word for the year” and so I jumped on the bandwagon. I had already committed to train for a half marathon due to wanting to meet a fundraising goal. So I thought it fitting to choose the word training.

However, I wanted to think about training in every aspect of my life; to not only train physically but mentally and spiritually too. For me that mainly meant resting well; doing something truly restful and life-giving in my free time. I didn’t really have specifics beyond that … again, I’m not a big “goals” person. I just thought when the time came for me to rest, I’d make the “life-giving” choice because that was how I really wanted to spend my time.

So naturally, that worked well “queue eye roll.” By the summer of that year, I had given up on training for my half-marathon due to an injury, my mom came to live with us, and we welcomed a newborn foster child into our home (making us the parents of three kids 5 and under). I was in total survival mode and NOT consistently training or resting well.

I was so exhausted and in need of alone time by the end of each day that I simply did what I always did. Scroll my phone, watch my show, stare at the ceiling, etc.


By the fall, I was running on fumes. So my husband made arrangements for me to escape for a couple of days for a mini personal retreat. Ah, ALONE TIME! SLEEP! Oh yeah … TRAINING!

I remembered how I started the year with great expectations, so in addition to catching up on much-needed sleep, I dove into a book called “The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction” by Justin Earley. He talked about how “40 percent of the actions we take every day are not the products of choices but of habits.” Moreover, he explained that our day-to-day routines are anything but neutral because anything you repeat over and over again shapes who you are, what you think about, and what you prioritize. We essentially become our habits.

scrolling phoneWow, I was convicted. I had reverted back to resting in unhealthy ways, ie ESCAPING, because I hadn’t truly changed my habits. I was realizing how it’s one thing to make up my mind about how I wanted to spend my time, it’s a whole other thing to actually spend my time differently and not automatically go with my default.

Little Moments

One of my favorite authors, Paul Tripp, explains how we don’t live our lives in the big spectacular moments that we spend a lot of time planning or worrying about. We spend most of our time in the small, seemingly insignificant moments of our days.

We like to put a lot of stock in making the right BIG decisions, like choosing a career or a spouse, where to buy a home, going for that big promotion, or when to start a family. And while those moments are important, even determinate of where we may end up, what is truly forming us into the person we will be are the tiny moments in between.

The actions, interactions, inactions, and even thoughts we allow to run through our minds on the average Tuesday are shaping us far more than we may realize.

For me, I can easily say yes to a foster child in a big defining moment, but struggle to look up from my phone when my children want to play a game with me.

I knew making a decision to do something big or hard (like foster or train for a big race) won’t help me become the wife, mother, or friend I want to be in the little moments. In fact, those tend to be the very things I will use to rationalize a moment of impatience with my husband, “The baby had me up last night” or “I was tired from my run this morning,” etc etc.

I walked away from that retreat convicted that though I had failed my training resolution, I had still been training that whole year, just not in the way I meant to. The habits I had formed to cope in a crazy season may have helped me survive, but still left me feeling burnt out. It was like I was quenching my thirst with saltwater because I couldn’t find my way to the fresh stuff.

I came home with a plan to re-train my thoughts and actions by forming intentional habits.

Creatures of Habit

New Year
“The orientation of the heart happens from the bottom up, through the formation of our habits of desire.”
Enter 2020. We’ve all experienced hardship this past year. We’re in a collective survival mode if you will. Very few of us were able to do the things we would have normally spent our time doing in 2020. So I’m wondering … what were you left with? How DID you spend your time?

I have a whole new set of habits I have developed (ie survival skills) to make the most of what 2020 threw at me. Some of which are healthier than others. Going into this new year I want to take stock of what has actually quenched my thirst and what was simply salt water.

The last thing I want is to send you on an unnecessary guilt trip. Surviving in 2020 alone was a big accomplishment. But, I want to encourage you to look back on how you spent your time as a way of self-assessment. Did you develop habits that helped you move forward as a person? Or did your habits simply help you pass the time or escape the harsh realities we’re living in? What habits do you want to keep? What needs to go to the chopping block … or at least be limited?

Look into 2021 with the goal of being intentional with your time. Of training your mind, body, and soul for the things you want to be about. To forming healthy habits. To take one day at a time, one moment at a time. Cause whether TRAINING is your “word of the year” or not, it is your everyday reality. So let’s train well in 2021 friends.