There are many kinds of practices, athletic, art, music, martial arts, meditation. Our practices are the habits we choose, that shape who we are and who we want to become. What we practice gets stronger.

So, what will you practice this year?

I am STILL, Practicing Presence. For me, the habit of being present continues to be the foundation for everything. I also like to begin the year by letting go of something. Instead of making a resolution to do more, we can focus on decreasing or eliminating what no longer serves us.

For example, I’d like to let go of the panel of judges that seem to have taken up space in my mind long enough. Those nagging voices that are always comparing, criticizing, and have a running commentary on just about everything I do.

My guess is that both nurture and nature have contributed to this “trait” of judging. I was trained by two Olympian judgers (parents) and then married a Master judger; it must have felt familiar. The question is, can we rewire something that is so hardwired? Neuroscience says yes, but it takes practice to make those new neuropathways. In my case, I’m going to have to be alert to the inner critic and have a strategy to pivot when I notice the self-deprecating commentary and replace it with something positive. Something sincerely positive, no sarcastic quips. This is going to be challenging to say the least.

To help rewire the judgmental tendency, I’m pairing this with my annual “word of the year” practice. In this practice you choose a word that is a reminder of what you want to focus on in the year ahead. Think of it as an anchor for your year.

My 2021 word is Judgelessness. Yes, I made it up, and the definition. I’ve defined it as a mental state requiring focused awareness in the present moment of having a critical point of view which can be recognized and discarded.

Think of something you grappled with last year. Choose the word that represents how you plan to overcome that struggle. Or consider what you want more of in your life and choose a word that best depicts this. I considered making my word this year, acceptance, but I wanted something unique. Your Word of the Year sets an intention, a theme per se, for what you want to practice or notice in your life. If you have a moment, send me your “word”. I’d love to see what others are practicing.

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