Last year was a first. A first for me to stick to a Word of the Year for, well, a whole year! My word, which had fallen out of the blue, proved to be the perfect framework for that transition I found/still find myself in between having deconstructed my life and getting settled into a new reality.
“Bien dans ma peau” was my word, which means “to be well in one’s skin” and it proved to be quite a demanding call beyond the initial “make myself feel good.”
When I set out at the beginning of the year, I had explored 7 clues which are vital to being well in your skin (they all proved right, BTW).
Now, 12 months later, here are 7 lessons I learned during this year. Most of them were somewhat expected, but the last one came as a complete surprise. I believe that these lessons are true for every kind of level up you want to do, whether it is feeling better in your skin, creating a better relationship with your other half, finding your purpose and your passion, get organised, settle your debts, get fit or losing weight (more on that in a minute).
7 Lessons I learned from my Word of the Year
1) Back to basics. In order to get a clear understanding on how to feel better in my skin I started with the basics. I wrote down what I ate, how I moved, how exactly I spent my days and how that made me feel. I processed my thoughts and feelings with regular journaling. The simple, age-old exercise to record in writing what I actually did day in, day out, proved to be invaluable. This sort-of vanity project quickly revealed some very uncomfortable truths… if there is any area in your life you want to improve, simply write down what you are currently doing there. You can expect surprises!
2) It’s all in the small actions. Laying out my walking shoes in front of my bed, so I would stumble over them and thus put them on first thing in the morning. The actual walking quickly became the enjoyable part. Putting a glass of water next to my computer which always leads to a fun competition between who is quicker to drink from it, me or the cats… This kind of actions seemed at the time embarrassingly small! But one year later I credit a string of these little small, seemingly insignificant actions to me dropping 25 pounds of body clutter and going down two dress sizes.
3) But it takes time. Logically we all know that things rarely let themselves be dictated by our impatience. Yet how much (illogically but oh how strongly!) do we want things to change now! To my indignation, being well in my skin actually demanded time 🙂. Time to rest (way more than I thought), time to build up new habits, time to find the right people, time to allow things to ripen. It takes time, period. This is why you need to make your actions small and enjoyable – if you have your eyes only riveted at the results, you’ll be discouraged quicker than you can say “Word of the Year”.
4) Don’t walk alone. One of my clients, a brilliant young woman, states at the end of nearly each session: “I didn’t actually think that a session was that necessary, but boy am I glad that we had one!” That could be the resume of my experiences this year: when I got personal support, I moved forward and made progress. When I thought that I could do it on my own, nothing happened. We all tend to believe that because we _could_ do certain things on our own, that we will easily do them… well, no. Recording of what I actually did in a day showed me the difference: what really works is having a support system of capable people, whose expertise, support, mentoring, holding me accountable and encouragement make all the difference. It takes a village.
5) It costs money. If you are serious, you’ll need to invest in yourself, and that involves paying someone else. Being serious on bien dans ma peau meant that I seriously upped my investment into personal support. How much do you need to invest? Here is a formula: how much is your health/career/mariage/mental health/life purpose dream worth to you? The correct sum is what would you need to be paid to give it up. Invest 10% of that sum. I put a sum on being well in my skin and then invested about 10%. Was it more than I thought it would be? You may well believe it was! Was it worth it? Every cent! Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir (prevention is better than cure).
6) The (nearly only) thing that matters is repetition. Most of the time there was nothing complicated in what I wanted to achieve apart from the effort of actually showing up. And I rediscovered what I knew already: in 99% of the cases how you do something matters much less than that you do it repeatedly. Every day. Showing up and doing it is the uncomfortable part. Learning how to get better at it is a piece of cake in comparison. This brings me to the most unexpected and also to the biggest lesson I learned during this year:
7) Success is boring. There, I said it. Over the year I integrated all those lessons. I showed up. I did the right things. I got the right support. I could feel and see the change in my body, my mind, my environment. All was well in the best of worlds. Progress that had been unthinkable became my new normal. I felt grateful, happy, proud – and then I got bored. It was all so expected. Eat healthy and you lose weight. Work out and you have more energy. Meditate and you feel more serene. Journal and you’ll upgrade your thinking. Blah, blah, blah…
Boredom is astonishingly powerful. It whispered in my ear that the success that I had craved for years and was now achieving wasn’t that great after all.That ANYTHING was better than the same old, same old. That really, one day off in the grand scheme of things didn’t make a difference. It was – again – being aware of how I felt in my skin that brought me to the understanding that the solution was not to run after the next shiny new gadget, method, course or discovery, but that what I had to do was what I least felt like doing: committing to consistency and mastering the art of feeling bored.
It marked (still work in progress, naturellement) a huge step in growing up: not letting myself dictated on how I felt short-term in the moment (I know it’s the right course of action, but I’m so bored, let’s do something else), but how I want to feel long-term. To realise that giving in to the feeling of boredom brought me right back to the space where I was delaying my life. That discipline actually means to anchor myself in the big Why, the reason why I desire what I desire, again and again and again.
Once I was clear on what I truly desired and found out the right course of action, boredom, I learnt for myself, is a sure sign that I let myself be disconnected!*
Of all the things I imagined having to learn this year, boredom was certainly the least expected!
Did you have a word for the year? What did you learn? Please share in the comments!