My Word of the Year for 2024 is…

January 1, 2024 — 4 Comments


I’ve been sitting at my kitchen table for over an hour now actually doing what I said I would. I read a couple poems from Billy Collins’ Whale Day And Other Poems, did day 3 of Brittany Polat’s Journal Like A Stoic (great Christmas present from my wife!), completed today’s Bible App devo, started setting up my Best Self Journal, and now I’m writing this…

And speaking of my journal…for the first time that I can even remember, I went through my journals from the past year. One of the reasons I did this is because I ACTUALLY JOURNALED CONSISTENTLY FOR MOST OF THE YEAR. Like a lot of people (most, I’d venture to guess), I usually start with good intentions and then my journals fizzle out quickly. I’m looking at the one that was supposed to be June-August of 2020 and there are seven entries. Seven. Total. Sept-Dec 2022 journal…16 entries total. I can’t even find any journals for 2021. And here comes your patented Ryan vulnerability…

Mostly I feel shame and embarrassment when I look back at my old journals. It’s so painful to see the same struggles and self-pep talks over and over and over and over again for years. It can very easily spiral me into the negative space of self-doubt, apathy, sadness, etc etc. There are actually entries where I say something to the effect of, “I’m so sorry to whoever finds these things after I die. So embarrassing and boring. Sorry I wasn’t able to do better.” Not really the legacy I want to leave.

But, as I looked through the three nearly full journals from 2023 I saw a ton of growth. I saw consistency. And as I’ve said in this space before, continuing to try even when you’ve fallen down a million times truly is a show of strength. I could give up, but I’m not. And I won’t. Setting the intention to get physically healthy is still good, even if it’s the umpteenth time I’ve done it, for example.

Three nearly full journals from 2023 and a fresh on for the first quarter of 2024.

My word of the year is ACTION and I’m excited about it. I’m an introvert by nature (believe it or not), so my thought life is…rich. Yeah, let’s call it that. I prepare and plan to death, oftentimes at the expense of actually doing anything. Brianna Wiest says, “When we have a goal, dream, or plan, there is no measure of intent. It is only whether you did it or not. Any other reason you offer for not showing up and doing the work is simply you stating that you prioritize that reason over your ultimate ambition, which means that it will always take precedence in your life.” Damn, Brianna. This quote is from her book The Mountain is You, which is one that has affected me deeply (she has many that are amazing).

This year I will be a man of action. I will be courageous in the face of fear as I confront the things in my life that I don’t want to be there anymore and as I push through the frustration of establishing new, healthy habits in the place of ones that don’t serve me anymore. I’ll continue to give myself pep-talks when I fall, but this year I’m going to give more energy to the actual doing. And yes, it’s incredibly important to give yourself grace and to recognize all growth. In fact, I’m working on not defining growth as “big or small,” but rather, good. Because it’s all good, no matter the size. That said, for me at least, I want to take more action. After all, ideas and intentions are great, but ultimately it is only whether I did it or not.

Here’s to 2024. Let’s freaking get it.


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I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

4 responses to My Word of the Year for 2024 is…

  1. Hi! I’m a random person on the internet who recently broke his arm and Googled how to shovel one handed with a snowstorm expected tomorrow. I ended up at your blog post about that and, while you didn’t give me the life hacks I had hoped to find, just want to say you have an interesting blog! Good luck to you in 2024 and I hope you’re successful in taking action!! Let’s freaking get it indeed!

  2. (Also as a follow up to my previous comment just want to be clear that I am not trying to imply anything like “my temporary situation is the same as yours” or anything like that, just wanted to explain how a stranger ended up here)

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