fitness · motivation · WOTY

Collective Word-of-the-Year Update

Image description: star-shaped word cloud featuring the repetition of four words in block letters: GROWTH, WELCOME, PURPOSE, THRIFT.

A few of us chose Words-of-the-Year back in January and we are due for a check-in to see how the chosen WOTY are working for us.


I couldn’t even remember my word, when Tracy proposed this post. When she reminded me it was WELCOME, I had to go back and look at why. Oh right, because I knew how hard the year was going to be and I wanted to find something that expressed a willingness to receive what was given this year and, in that way, find flow and ease, dynamism and stillness. I rejected the words GRIT and RESILIENCE, as too much focused on survival (versus the potential to thrive). I’m glad of my choice. At this point, every time someone tells me I’m resilient, a part of me wants to punch them and then collapse to the ground screaming and crying to prove that I’m not and that I need their care. I am welcoming those feelings. I am welcoming grief. Sure, some moments I set my grief off to the side, to try to focus on work or a friend or the potential of a pleasurable moment. But I am never denying grief, or pushing it away, as if it doesn’t belong. This opportunity to be reminded of my word and welcome it anew is well-timed. Welcome springtime.


My WOTY is PURPOSE. I also forgot what it was and Tracy reminded me. I thought it was BLOSSOM, but turns out, that was last year’s word. I think there is something to the way my memory has worked with respect to the WOTY. Perhaps, 2022 was getting my mind ready to BLOSSOM, but I wasn’t in a place to actually BLOSSOM. After leaving my last job and having some time to find my next opportunity, I had the privilege of time to think about where I would like to work. I have landed in a place that will provide me with an opportunity to learn, grow, use my legal skills and work at helping others. This seems like an opportunity to BLOSSOM. It also seems like an opportunity to do my work with PURPOSE (2023 WOTY). With respect to exercise, sometimes I have to remind myself the PURPOSE of my exercise. I am good at keeping my schedule, but lately, I find myself tired and cranky, on occasion. I blame it on menopause, but it could be other factors. Either way, in the moments of tiredness and crankiness, I believe it would be wise of me to remind myself of the PURPOSE of why I exercise. It provides me with energy and a clear head and strength – life transitions be damned. I also am purposeful about appreciating the ability to experience these life transitions, as I am more often than not, cognizant of this privilege that not all are afforded. I’m glad to be reminded of my WOTY. I endeavor to use PURPOSE in both my work and working out, for the remainder of the year.


From my original WOTY post, “My word for 2023 is GROWTH. I want to expand in lots of different ways. I want to learn new things, make some new friends, discover some new music, travel to new places, read some new authors, and think about new problems. I want to challenge myself to think big and take risks. I’m not sure yet what the specific fitness applications of this new focus will be but I’m open to ideas.”

How’s that working out for me?

Well, on the one hand, not as well as I’d hoped. It feels a bit more like Groundhog Day, as I’m halfway through medical leave for the second knee replacement. Instead of doing new things, mostly I’m working hard to get back to old things. I keep thinking words like “grit” and “determination” might have served me better.

On the other hand, if I think about life on the other side of this surgery and recovery, “growth” is still a word that excites. I keep thinking about new things I can do and new places I can travel with two working knees. It’s also pushing me to think about goals bigger than mere recovery. I’m excited about a lot of strength training in my future.


New things I have EXPLORED so far this year:

  • Tap dance lessons (first time ever)
  • A new position in soccer (first time ever)
  • Handbells choir (first time in 35 years)
  • Some wild high-tech shorts that measure your shape in 3D (review post forthcoming)

Last year during a tough time @fieldpoppy wrote about following Adriene’s yoga series, Begin, in which she describes the “Beginner’s Mind.” It’s exactly the non-self-critical headspace that gives the rest of me permission to explore new things: “presence, simplicity, no decisions. […] Experience what’s there now, not what was once there, or what could be there in the future.”


My word-of-the-year this year is THRIFT. Not in the sense of “thrifting,” where you shop for bargains at thrift stores, but more in the sense of being thrifty or frugal overall. It dovetails with my no-buy challenge, which involves no purchasing clothes, jewelry, accessories, or camera equipment in 2023.

These things all made the list because they are things I tend to spend way beyond my needs on them. There is simply no need to browse the clothing every time I go to Costco, to buy earrings every time I travel, or to keep adding to my camera kit when I already have more equipment — and it’s good equipment — than I regularly use.

The no-buy challenge and my WOTY have combined to make me think more carefully about my “allowable” expenses. As has everyone, I’ve noticed the prices shooting up in the grocery store and at the gas station, making everyday necessities quite a bit more expensive than they used to be. Taking a more thrifty approach means I will sometimes forgo things I would otherwise have purchased.

It’s also gotten me to try a discount airline for the first time. I’m flying out to Vancouver to see my step daughter and her partner and meet my new grand-baby. on Swoop the round trip ticket is a mere $163 CDN! If I can get away with just a small back pack (I’m gonna try!), I won’t have to fork over the additional $60 EACH WAY for a carry-on! If I wasn’t trying to economize this year I’d probably just do it. But now I feel as if it’s a challenge.

Related to my no-buy thrifty year, is a more aesthetic desire for minimalism. I’m not there but I wish I could be. If in the second half of this year I can combine no-buy with also shedding some stuff, so much the better.

I find having a WOTY can be a motivating touchstone for me when I’ve chosen well. This year I feel I’ve chosen very well. I had a brief moment today where I started browsing for dresses on a website, and pretty much the only thing that stopped me was my no-buy thing. Indeed, I almost said “screw it! I can buy a couple of dresses,” and then a friend who I ran it by said, “but think how you’ll feel after you’ve done so well so far.” That got me over the hump. The moment passed. I didn’t buy new dresses and instead I committed to going through my closet to remind myself what’s in there as far as summer wardrobe goes. I’m sure there is plenty.

I anticipate one exception, which is I need new running shoes pretty soon. I think that should be okay since it’s a well-considered purchase and my current shoes are reaching their training mileage limit.

All-in-all I’m happy with my word THRIFT and can already see a slight shift towards more intentional MINIMALISM in my future for next year.

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