Documenting my life

Category: goals (Page 4 of 5)

Word of the year – ideas for 2022 goals and resolutions

A few years ago I was listening to the podcast Happier and I discovered the concept of “Word of the year” and I have been doing it ever since. Having a word of the year has been really helpful in setting my goals and resolutions. It also helps me make decisions throughout the year.
It’s something I look forward to as the new year approaches, definitely one of my favorite traditions!

What is a Word of the Year?

You choose one word that will be the “North Star” for the upcoming year. It can guide your New Year’s resolutions and help you put more thought into what you want to focus on throughout the year.

The word of the year is also known as One Word or One Little Word.

How do you choose your 2022 word?

Maybe you already have one word you immediately thought of as soon as you read the introduction.

And if not? It’s the most common reaction, so don’t worry! Here are the steps I follow:

  • Start by looking back at the year that is ending and examine what was missing or what you want more of
  • Think of what you would like to focus on in the upcoming year, how would you want your days to be like? Relaxed and slow, buzzing of activities and/or friends, focused on a big project?
  • If you are stuck, simply scan through the list of 100 word ideas below and select the 10 or 20 words that are related to the questions above. Then remove synonyms and continue to reduce the list based on what resonates the most until you find the final one

How to use your word for goals and resolutions

  • Think of all the possible meanings and interpretations. For example, “Light” can refer to daylight and sunshine and will prompt you to get outside more; it can be connected to feeling “light” and it might lead you to delete Twitter and pick up a new hobby instead of doom-scrolling; or you might want to “find the light” on gloomy days and start a gratitude list or a journal. Come up with as many interpretations as you can, see what comes up and which ones you want to set as resolution/intentions for the new year
  • Write down the meanings and interpretations that you want to work on and include in the next year and journal about it, remembering to include practical activities
  • Remember your word, think about it often. A simple way to not forget it in two months is to find an image that is related and use that as your phone’s background picture. I’ve heard some people buy a t-shirt with their word printed on it for example. You can even get a custom charm for this specific purpose!
  • Think about it when making decisions Choosing a word for the year can be useful also when you have to make a decision. It might sound a bit extreme, but thinking of your word can offer a different perspective or remind you of what you set out looking for.

    For instance, you can ask yourself “Which one of the options would bring more __________?”

    Following the example of “Light”, I would probably say yes to a picnic in the park even if I am tired, or it could be a gentle nudge towards speaking up immediately rather than keeping a grudge or overthinking what a friend said.

Help – I can’t pick a single word/I want to change my word of the year

The idea is for this to be a helpful reminder of the main theme you would like to focus on for the upcoming months, but nothing is set in stone!

You can (of course) adapt it or adopt a new word altogether whenever.

Some folks prefer to have multiple words, maybe one per quarter or one per month, to focus on a new area each season!

105 Word of the Year ideas

  1. Abundance
  2. Accept
  3. Action
  4. Adapt
  5. Adventure
  6. Authenticity
  7. Awareness
  8. Balance
  9. Be
  10. Become
  11. Begin
  12. Blossom
  13. Bold
  14. Brave
  15. Build
  16. Calm
  17. Care
  18. Challenge
  19. Change
  20. Commit
  21. Connect
  22. Creativity
  23. Courage
  24. Daring
  25. Decision
  26. Discipline
  27. Dream
  28. Driven
  29. Energy
  30. Enhance
  31. Evolve
  32. Explore
  33. Family
  34. Flow
  35. Focus
  36. Follow
  37. Freedom
  38. Fun
  39. Generous
  40. Gift
  41. Give
  42. Go
  43. Gratitude
  44. Growth
  45. Habit
  46. Happiness
  47. Health
  48. Help
  49. Ideas
  50. Immagine
  51. Improve
  52. Innovate
  53. Intuitiion
  1. Joy
  2. Kindness
  3. Laughter
  4. Learn
  5. Light
  6. Listen
  7. Love
  8. Meaning
  9. Mindfulness
  10. Mission
  11. Movement
  12. Nature
  13. Nourish
  14. Nurture
  15. Opportunity
  16. Organize
  17. Patience
  18. Persistence
  19. Play
  20. Point
  21. Positive
  22. Practice
  23. Present
  24. Progress
  25. Question
  26. Radiate
  27. Reach
  28. Relationships
  29. Relax
  30. Reset
  31. Resilience
  32. Rest
  33. Share
  34. Silence
  35. Simplify
  36. Smile
  37. Start
  38. Stillness
  39. Strength
  40. Support
  41. Teach
  42. Tell
  43. Think
  44. Trust
  45. Try
  46. Unique
  47. Understand
  48. Useful
  49. Vibrant
  50. Why
  51. Work
  52. Yes

I’d love to know your word for the year, please share it in the comments below!

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How to deal with the fear of saying the wrong thing

Months ago I came across a phrase that has really stuck with me. I have been thinking about it a lot and in very different scenarios.

So as simple as it is (as some of the best things are) I had to share it here.

“You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person”

The idea behind the phrase “You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person” is really powerful for two main reasons.

  • It takes the pressure away. If you say something and the other person reacts negatively, THEY were not the right person, since they didn’t fully understand where you are coming from or are in a different place. That is completely fine, of course, but it has nothing to do with what you said.
  • It acts as a red flag detector. If someone rejects you because of something you said, it probably means you don’t share the same values, and it’s best to find this out sooner rather than later.

Real-life examples

Job interview You are applying for a job and you ask about work-life balance in the interview. They might give a generic response, and start to doubt your work ethic. They might not extend you an offer. But, if you think about it, you would not want to be hired by a company that will demand you to put in extra hours and will lead you to be burnt out.

Asking the question might seem like you’re shooting yourself in the foot, but if you’re worried they will get the wrong impression and you will be perceived as “lazy”, the truth is the worry should be “on them”, they should be excited to show you how they are currently implementing good work-life harmony strategies to ensure employers aren’t overwhelmed.

Moving in You are considering moving in with someone and they act surprised when you tell them you want to discuss how you will manage the household and how you will split the chores. That is a sign that something is off, probably their views on how often and who should clean/tidy are very different to yours and you would not be compatible housemates if you can’t agree and work together on this point. The key thing to remember is that the issue rarely is in “saying the wrong thing”, but in the reaction and the response we get. As much as a negative reaction might lead to you not moving in together, it is better to figure this out before signing the lease.

Learning something new You have started a course and you will have to spend your Sundays working through that. Your friends are always pressuring you to go out, saying the course is useless anyway, and they refuse to make plans at a time that would be more convenient to you. This is a sign they have no flexibility and they don’t value learning and growing your knowledge as much as you do. In this case, the “right person” would support you in this new endeavor and encourage you, and would be happy to say yes to plans that fit all schedules.

Closing thoughts

The obvious caveat for this post is that communication is key, you must always be kind and respectful when talking to others. It’s always important to let the other person have a chance to explain themselves and give them the chance to work on something they want to improve if this is compatible with your needs.

This sentence can be helpful to deal with the fear of rejection since it reframes it as a sign that the match is not ideal, which is something you would want to find out as soon as possible.

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5 key things to do at your first job

There are many things I learned the importance of during the first years of my first full-time job. I have found myself repeating some of these points to multiple people recently. I sometimes need to remind myself too! So here is a list of the key ones.

Take notes and send meeting minutes

During meetings, calls, when people explain things, etc. Make sure to write down any action items and who is supposed to do each thing. You can then send the minutes after the meeting. It doesn’t usually matter if they are just bullet points, it’s a great way to check your understanding and make sure there is a written record. This allows everyone to be on the same page and correct any misunderstandings before you start working on something. It will also come in handy when you want to get an update on something that was discussed. Or when you are not sure of when you are supposed to share your results. Lastly, it shows you are organized and helps you earn trust, and shows your coworkers you value their time

Be curious

Ask questions. Ask why things are done in a certain way and not another. Learn from everyone.

Especially at the beginning, you feel like your questions are pretty simple and basic. You might be afraid of making a bad impression. What I’ve found is that people actually appreciate questions. It’s a chance for them to explain themselves better and improve their answers for the next time they get asked about the topic. They are happy to know you are curious about what they have been working on. Another benefit is they will see you as someone who is curious and eager to improve. I doubt this will be the case, but if a manager or team member discourages questions, you should think about this: “You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person”

Communicate effectively

It is critical to communicate clearly both in written or verbal form. You can do this by adding data and presenting your points in a structured way, so that the story you are conveying is clear. It’s very important to clarify the goal or the main point at the beginning, no matter if it’s an email, documentation, a paper, or a presentation.

Make sure there is a clear thread throughout, like a narrative that allows the reader/listener to follow along easily.

Try to give specific data points. Rather than saying “a lot of people”, you should say “85%”: it’s more precise and gives the reader a clearer picture. If you think about it, “a lot of people” could mean half or all of the community. If you are presenting the sales’ growth versus last month, for example, saying “sales of x increased by y% from March to April” is very different than saying “sales increased significantly”: In the second case, the reader will not know how much the sales increased, what product or service you are referring to specifically and when the sales increased.

Manage expectations

When asked to perform a task, estimate the time it will take, and inform the other person, even if they don’t mention timelines at all. If you have higher priority tasks at hand, let them know when you will be able to help; this will allow them to decide if they prefer to ask someone else.

If you think there might be any issues that could come up during the task/project, call it out as soon as possible. You will show domain expertise and help you earn trust. If everything goes smoothly, you deliver earlier than expected, which will be a win-win.

This is related to another idea connected to expectations: the concept of “underpromise and overdeliver”. You might want to add a buffer to your timeline, in order to ensure you have the time to tackle unforeseen issues if something comes up.

On the other side, when you discuss a new project or task with your manager, it’s good to make sure that you are fully aware of the expectations from their end and what the completed task ideally would look like.

Keep track

Set up 5 minutes to do a weekly review. I usually do this at the end of the week, on Friday afternoon, just before turning off my laptop.

I have set up a file to track the following things: what I worked on, what tasks/projects I finished, what issues I had and what I learned, any feedback I got (positive and negative), and what I am proud of. The last point sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s good to reflect back on your week; sometimes what you’re proud of is not in any of the other sections and it’s nice to be able to think about this kind of accomplishment too. Lastly, I will write down the main thing I will work on the following week. I have follow-up posts on my weekly review as well as my project review coming up. They will have examples and a Notion and Excel template to download.

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On being a beginner – advice by Brené Brown

I recently started a new project, which uses a tool I have never used before. It was interesting to notice how I deal with new things, learning to do something for the first time, and how I respond to challenges and roadblocks.

I am usually a very determined person and I have a growth mindset, i.e. I believe things can be improved and I can learn and change my behaviour.

However, I found myself struggling when I felt like I didn’t have a clear path ahead of me.

This is what I did:

  • I reminded myself of other times when I was a beginner and how I was actually praised on multiple occasions for being a fast learner
  • I took a step back and defined the steps I needed to take. This includes searching for information and educating myself online
  • I identified two people I could reach out to and ask questions to

Having a plan is useful because it means you know what you need to do. Any task can be broken down into small and relatively easy steps, so you should not feel overwhelmed.

In the moment it can feel like something is really tough and difficult to manage, but it’s key to remind ourselves that starting something new means the initial learning curve will be steep and that this is normal.

This situation and the frustration I felt reminded me of a podcast episode by Brené Brown, in which she discusses the topic and calls this type of situation an FFT, i.e. a F****** First Time.

Brené Brown is a research and expert on vulnerability. She defines it as uncertainty, risk, emotional exposure. Being new at something is the epitomy of vulnerability. The only way to get to the other side is to push through.

New is hard and we don’t like the discomfort. […] Sometimes we get so afraid of the vulnerability that we actually stop trying or doing anything that we’re not already good at doing.

When we just give up being new and awkward, we stop growing. And we stop growing, we stop living.

The more we’re willing to embrace the suck, and try new things, the more new things we’re willing to try.

And it’s not because being new gets comfortable, it’s because we learn how to normalize discomfort.

Knowing we have the strenght to survive those [though] moments […] is how we get braver.

She advises to do the following:

Name it and understand it. Recognize you are in an FFT. Discuss the situation with someone you are close with and acknowledge your feelings of disappointment and fear. “When we name and own hard things it gives us power, to effect change and achieve purpose

Naming your FFT allows you to do these three things:

  • Normalize the situation. Knowing this is exaclty what it’s supposed to feel like, it’s something that we haven’t done before. We don’t have previous experience to draw on, so it will be difficult and scary.
  • Put it into perspective. It will feel like it’s ok to struggle, since you are doing something new and that’s just how it is. The important thing is to know it will get better with practice and that some time in the future we will look back and think of how much progress we have made.
  • Reality Check expectations. With yourself and others. I am generally quite optimistic and tend to underestimate the time and effort required to do something. And actually, when you are doing something new, there is no way of knowing how much time it will take you to complete a task, of course. And since we might be very good in similar aspects of our lives, we tend to underestimate the effort for something new. Know that it will take time, that you will do many mistakes. Ask questions if you can, take notes and try and not repeat the same errors. Remind yourself that it’s normal for this to take a lot of time and that you will feel stuck multiple times

It’s very encouraging to think about this and to know that although being a beginner is tough, it’s the best way to learn and improve and that I will make progress and the discomfort will end.

Why I think the most common advice for beginners makes sense

The most common advice for beginners is “quantity over quality”. The important thing to do at the beginning is to focus on sharing many new articles, rather than working on a draft for a month, trying to make it perfect.

Not because of laziness or lack of willingness to put a lot of effort into each post. On the contrary, publishing more posts arguably requires more hard work, given that you have to come up with more ideas, go through the manual process of finding a title, adding a nice image, and other things that go along with hitting “publish”.

Why focus on quantity?

The best way to improve is through practice. You can spend hours researching different topics and how to guides, but it’s only when you actually do the thing that you are confronted with problems to solve, things that need to be improved and questions you didn’t know you had.

So, we want to focus on practicing as much as possible.

white space

Publishing imperfect posts can feel really scary.

But hear me out!

Especially if you are a perfectionist, here are my thoughts on the topic and what made me decide to hit “publish” sooner rather than later.

white space

What does not liking something mean?

The good thing about recognizing that something you made is not as good as you wished, means you have an idea of what you would like. You can see that there is a difference between where you want to be and where you are. That is normal and it’s a good sign! It means you can appreciate the nuances and recognize what your ideal is.

Now, knowing something isn’t perfect does definitely not mean being able to also know exactly what needs to be done to get there and have the technical ability to do so in a brief amount of time.

POV: give yourself many chances and document the progress you make

The less spoken power of creating often is that doing “the thing” every day or every week means you will have another chance tomorrow or next week. So there is less pressure for each one to be a masterpiece (or any, really).

If one post has a typo or is unclear? I get to post another one next week, where I can show my progress! If I were to post every four months, it would make sense to expect a top-notch, extremely well-produced and polished post with tens of academic articles as references. If I post every week? Everyone will see the progress and I will know I have made improvements over time, simply by looking back at the history of published posts.

Nobody instantly knows how to do everything, and I think there is value in doing things, analysing where they could be improved and working on that. By posting often you get to showcase your progress.


On top of getting in the reps necessary to improve, another advantage is that it allows you to build a larger “bank” of posts, forcing you to come up with different ideas, topics and you will become more creative and experiment in many different ways.

This will give you a larger sample to be able to know in which direction to move forward: what did you like the most? What drove the more interesting comments? With which post did you learn more new things? Which topic was more fun to write about? It’s only by having tested out different things that you can collect enough data to make a decision.

Not everything is set in stone

Also, an important thing to remember: in most cases, there is the possibility to go back to something and correct it or edit it. In a blog, of course. But in many other life situations. Even in professional environments, sometimes more than one “final” version is shared if there is an update or correction needed. In this case, I think that by documenting the process and sharing the imperfect results you will learn faster and improve even more.


This is why “quantity over quality” makes sense to me as the top advice for beginners, especially because it gives you the chance to learn by practicing hands-on.

In my case, I am aware that I am a beginner and that my knowledge/skills are limited. So, I will try my best to make all my posts as good as I can, but I will draw the line and aim for one post per week. This means that I will “have” to publish even if I am not 100% satisfied with the results. As I mentioned in my previous post, this blog is a challenge for me and a way to learn more, so constructive feedback is welcome!

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