My 2021 Word of the Year

by Kyndra Bailey

Nothing says “ 2021 is MY YEAR” like not settling on a “word of the year” until two weeks late. (JK – I picked it a while ago, but I was waiting to write about it until it felt right.)

If you’ve never heard of this practice, choosing a word for the year is something a lot of people do instead of (or in addition to) setting New Years resolutions. It’s a single word or phrase that will guide you for the year, and it’s something that you choose based on your unique situation.

2020 was the first year I did this; I had heard of other people picking their “word of the year” but it didn’t really make sense to me until I reached the end of 2019 and I was bone dead exhausted. I had overworked myself to a limit that I hope I never reach again – and that’s saying a lot, because I’ve done a lot of overworking in my lifetime.

I remember laying down in 2019 thinking “I’m not making any New Years resolutions. I’m going to pick a word for 2020 and that’s it.” And I chose balance. All throughout 2020, when things got hard, when I felt like I was reaching a limit, when I just wanted to nap, I repeated to myself “balance, balance, balance.” And in those moments, if things weren’t balanced, I would make the decision to give myself exactly what I needed – no matter how it affected anyone else.

Sometimes that meant emails went unanswered. Sometimes that meant orders shipped late. Sometimes that just meant having a nice date night with my husband. Whatever I needed – I’d repeat that word to myself and do whatever it took to reach a balance.

My word for 2021 didn’t come so easily to me. Like 2019, I ended 2020 completely exhausted – that’s just what the holiday season does to business owners. Not to mention that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic that has worn down so many souls. Of course, the year also ended with a bang after having a couple of viral videos on TikTok.

I started reflecting on the year (as it inevitably happens) and realized that 2020 truly did have some of my highest highs and lowest lows. I remember consecutive nights where I cried myself to sleep thinking my business was destined to fail. I remember the rush of October 19th, when I had my biggest product launch to date. I remember having all of our wedding plans slipping through the palms of the pandemic’s hands, but I also remember the beauty of what came out of it. What I remember most was telling myself that everything was happening the way it was meant to.

As I was thinking ahead to 2021, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was going to be a big year; I still have that feeling. I’m not really sure what I mean by “big year.” Maybe it’s more viral TikToks, maybe it’s a big life event. Maybe it’s discovering more about myself, or maybe it’s something that I can’t even dream about right now. I truly don’t know where this gut feeling is coming from; all I know is that I think this year is going to require a lot of trust: in myself, in others, in the way things are working out. So I decided to base my word of the year on this big gut feeling.

Trust. Trust that everything is happening exactly the way it should. Trust the timing of my life, and of my business. Trust my gut when it’s telling me to do something, or when it's telling me to change something. Trust the process of learning and growing and getting better every day. Trust trust trust.

I settled on this word on January 4th – right before the restock for the Taylor Swift design went live. I had been spiraling, convinced that no one was going to purchase anything. Then they went live and I made 200 sales within the first hour; it felt like a fever dream. I should've been trusting my self the whole time instead of doubting.

I let it sit with me for a couple of weeks – I wanted to make sure it felt right. After all, I’ll be repeating this to myself for the rest of the year. But it’s right. I know it is. I’m putting trust into myself this year – and I’m proud of that. Cheers.