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2022 Recap: My Year of No

For so many years, I’ve chosen an inspirational word to represent my year to come… and then promptly forgotten about it. I am a champion at forgetting my yearly goals, sometimes for multiple years at time! This year, when I saw other people posting their words for the year to their social media accounts, I realized I hadn’t picked a word of my own. I hadn’t picked one for 2021 either. I was struggling with my health and trying to find a balance between my job, my body’s need for rest, and time to spend on and with the things and people I love. Something had to give.

I posted this tweet:

Choosing “no” as my word felt bold. I was making a statement about what I wanted, and moreso about what I didn’t want. But more than that, I was giving myself permission to pass on anything that I didn’t have the capacity for, that would be too much for my health. Permission to let go of what didn’t serve me to make room for what really mattered.

I can’t say that I never agreed to anything I shouldn’t have, because it’s in my nature to do it. I’ve always wanted to try and do and experience more than I have time for. I could live ten lifetimes and still not have the time to do everything I’d like to.

I also can’t say that I never dwelled on something negative, never replayed a miserable interaction in my mind, scrubbing it backwards and forwards, finding every single tiny thing I’d done wrong. That, unfortunately, is also in my nature. I’m working on teaching myself a new way of being, and reminding myself that I could forgive myself and move on has helped immensely in that.

I can say no to self-hatred. I can say no to overthinking. I can say no to replying to that person baiting me into a debate.

I don’t need to buy that new fountain pen that I really want but can’t afford.

I don’t need to read this book right now if it’s not connecting with me. I can read something else.

Giving myself permission, even encouragement, to say “no” was the most liberating and healthy choice I could have made for myself. It’s helped me to find some semblance of balance. It allowed me to stop working when I needed to for my health, and to go part time when I started back up, so that I could avoid burning out again. This choice has allowed me to be more productive and successful at my corporate job––doing less is absolutely doing more for me.

I feel like “No” still has a lot to teach me, and it’s going to be part of my life philosophy for 2023, though I’ll be picking a different theme word. Check back for my next post at the beginning of the year to find out what word I’ve chosen and why.

If you haven’t chosen a word for 2023 yet, I highly recommend adding “No” to your short list of options. Of all the words I’ve chosen in the past, this one has helped me the most.

Did you choose a word for 2022? If you did, how did it help you––or not––this past year?


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

December 30, 2022 at 6:55 pm

“No” is an excellent word for when your health issues are flaring up! I’m glad it worked so well for you. 2022 was my healthiest year so I chose “play”. That was the perfect word for me because I didn’t have to be serious about anything. I just played with all kinds of activities and ideas without judgment.

Wander Girl
December 30, 2022 at 8:24 pm
– In reply to: Robin

That’s wonderful! I love that!