More succinct (and more lasting, possibly) than a New Year’s resolution, a “Word of the Year” can help us identify and clarify what we want to focus on in 2022. Over the years, I’ve made my share of New Year’s resolutions, only to abandon them before the first day of spring. Consequently, in recent years, I’ve shied away from making them, and have taken a measured, delayed approach to deciding what changes I want to make. That approach worked well when, six years ago, it wasn’t until April that I decided to set a goal of losing 65 pounds. I did it and I’ve kept the weight off, and one reason why is that I did it without the pressure of announcing it.
That year, my Word was Determination. The Word I’ve chosen for 2022 is Cognizance. The definition of cognizance, according to dictionary.com , is “awareness, realization, or knowledge; notice, perception.” For me, it also means being cognizant of my health (mindfulness); being cognizant of what I need to work on (honesty); and being cognizant of the feelings of others (empathy).
Mindfulness, being mindful, and making mindful choices have become overused, trendy words and phrases. The British “mind the gap” and “mind how you go” were in use much earlier. Nevertheless, making intentional, mindful decisions stems from awareness. Before we can adopt healthier habits and make positive changes, we must be aware of what we’re doing and recognize what we need to change. Eating less (and doing it mindfully), plus daily exercise has led to a much lighter, healthier, and happier me. Shopping and dressing up are much more fun, and so are dancing and long walks on the beach. In 2022, I’m going to focus on continuing to be cognizant of what I eat and what I do to stay active.
Another ingredient of Cognizance is honesty. That means being humble, taking an honest look at myself, and following up with action. It translates into being disciplined and driven, the way I was during my weight loss journey. In my writing, it means adhering to deadlines, finishing my works in progress, and polishing them later this year with the help of my editor.
Finally, Cognizance is about being perceptive of others and of their feelings. That focus leads to kindness, empathy, and being more present in my relationships. One very happy memory of 2021 was my son’s wedding in September. He’s been through more than most people ever face (see my book about his journey with cancer, “All the Above”). During the reception, he reminded me of his promise years ago that one day, we would dance at his wedding. I felt present in that moment, extremely grateful, and joyful.
My 1st author appearance in 2022:
On Saturday, February 19th, I will appear for the first time this year in Florida at the Author Expo at the Amelia Island Book Festival, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. I’ll have copies of my books to sign, and I am looking forward to meeting readers and engaging with other authors at this wonderful literary festival. For more info, click on my Events page on my website, juliamcdermottbooks.com.