Fireworks going off over Bristol harbourside
500 Words

A word for 2022

I’m not really a fan of New Year celebrations. As the year ticks into the next you’ll most likely find me tucked up in bed. However, one thing I do like about starting a new year is the way you naturally look forward to the next 12 months and wonder what might be, what you hope to achieve and what you’ve learnt from the previous year.  

A friend recently shared a New York Times article which discussed the benefits of choosing a word to focus on for the year, rather than a ‘resolution’ which can often have a negative focus (e.g. lose weight, spend less, etc.). I had read a similar article the year before and chose ‘health’ as the word to focus on. Throughout the year, I kept coming back to that word; it hovered in my mind and motivated me. I ran twice as far as I did the year before, ate well without punishing myself and completed a number of ‘challenges’ (Sober for October was a personal highlight).  

There was no pressure to complete any specific tasks, but I worked towards that one word: ‘health’. This year, the word I’ve chosen is ‘thrive’ – I have a few things I’d like to achieve but my focus will be to thrive, to try and be 1% better every day – cliché I know – and to push myself to achieve things I didn’t believe I could.  

I was thinking about work and what it would take to thrive – over the past two years I think many of us were happy to just survive. With the arrival of Omicron before Christmas it feels like we’ve taken a step backwards in terms of stability and the rest of the academic year looks fuzzy, with Professional Services staff largely working from home, students’ exams in question and constant whispers of another lockdown looming. How can one thrive when so much is in doubt?  

Honestly, I don’t have a solid answer yet. In some scenarios, particularly over the last few years, BILT has been required to respond to rapid change. What I will try and do to thrive in these situations is view these changes as opportunities to expand my skillset and experience under pressure. I can grow from change rather than resist it.  

I haven’t had a chance to put this into action yet, and it may work better in my mind than in reality, but I know I’ll always have that word hovering in my mind to help reframe my thoughts.  

If you had to choose one, what would you word for the year be?  

2 thoughts on “A word for 2022”

  1. A few years back my wife and I choose the word gentleness. The year after was the hardest we’ve encountered (and nothing to do with Covid). But it was helpful to remind ourselves to be gentle with each other and with ourselves.

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