“What are your Guiding Words for 2021?”

 My friend Chris from Apple Valley, Minnesota, posed that question on the Living Free in Tennessee Facebook Group the other day. 

In the past, I would have looked at that question and smirked.  Then, I would have had the following conversation with myself as I looked at that question:

“Guiding word?  What the hell is Chris talking about?  Seems like a load of New Age mumbo jumbo to me. I know Chris wants to meet up and swap stories with me over beverages, but he seems a little too Woo Woo for me!”*

That was then; this is now.  

*Full Disclaimer: I might be too woo woo for Chris now. Just read along; you’ll see.


New Year’s Resolutions

4 Tips for Keeping New Year's Resolutions, Health and Fitness Renew You, Health and Fitness

Many of us set New Year’s Resolutions at the end of the year and start of the year. I have done previous podcast episodes about New Year’s Resolutions and our absolutely disastrous track record with them.  Research shows that we don’t stick with New Year’s Resolutions for very long. The statistics are clear:

  • By the end of the first week in January, 75% are successful in keeping the New Year’s Resolutions.
  • After Week 2, 71% are successful in keeping the Resolutions.
  • By the start of February, 64% are keeping up with the Resolution.
  • That number drops to 46% after 6 months.

Source: https://discoverhappyhabits.com/new-years-resolution-statistics

To be honest, I was a little surprised by these numbers! I figured most would ditch the traditional “Lose Weight” Resolution by mid-January and dive into some ice cream, especially after last year.  Yeah, I have done that. Guilty!

I have written and talked about New Year’s Resolutions before, and I have assembled links to those articles and podcast episodes below:

Unique New Year’s Resolutions from a Caldera 

 Four Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions 

Midweek Motivation: Fun to Done

Midweek Motivation – 4 Tips to Keep Going 

Problems with New Year’s Resolutions

[4 Tips for Keeping New Year's Resolutions, Health and Fitness Renew You, Health and Fitness, food prepping

While New Year’s Resolutions are GREAT, the problem is that we usually get tired, frustrated with our progress and drop out all together. The numbers show it, and we think we can go from doing nothing to a regimented routine and get immediate results.

No, that is not how it works, Chuck.

Like cooking up some delicious brisket, we have to go low and slow. We have to develop those habits over time, and we have to stop thinking about immediate results.

That is usually where failure enters into the picture. We get frustrated, take a shortcut, a day off or cheat day, and then guilt floods our soul with shame.

We’ve blown it; it’s over!

Shame! Shame! Shame! We are like the Queen Cersei Lannister stumbling naked through the street with the strict looking nun ringing a bell and whole town is looking on with digust. Shame! Shame! Shame!

Then, we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we will start over tomorrow or on Monday. Those days come and go, and two weeks later that little thought enters our brain about restarting that New Year’s Resolution (that we have completely scuttled).  After a little pity party, we calmly scoop some more ice cream into the bowl, and may throw some chocolate chips in there for good measure.

Shame this, lady! (Yes, I used stronger language as I wrote that, but I censored myself).

I have been there and got several t-shirts.  After all, I have tried and failed 16 weight loss programs.  Yes, you read that right. 16 bloody weight loss programs have come and gone. This cycle has played out time and time again, and I am saving up cash to send the 17th program to college.  Such a cute program; it’ll be a great plumber some day!

What if there was a different path forward?

Guiding Words: Nicole Sauce

homesteading, self-reliance, gardening, canning, simple living, living simply, small business, tipping points with Nicole Sauce 

Over 2020, I kept hearing Nicole Sauce from Living Free in Tennessee talk about Guiding Words.  Clearly I missed that podcast episode somewhere, because: 

  1. I had no clue what she was talking about.
  2. I kind tuned her out when she mentioned it all year long.

 Silly me, and so sorry, Nicole. I meant no disrespect, of course!

A quick search yielded results: Change Your Life with Jenni Hill.  Click on the text to listen to this podcast episode.  

So what are Guiding Words?

Hawaiian Cairns; caldera; Guide Words

What if we replaced very specific and (obviously) hard to achieve New Year’s Resolutions with a Guiding Word? A Guiding Word can be defined this way:

Focus on this one theme all year. This is your Guiding Word.  It helps you filter decisions, calm emotions, and face each day with resolve. A Guiding Word serves as a theme that may just meet you exactly where you are and help you live out 2021 in an intentional way.

Strip all that away, and the key words here are “one theme, filter, meet you, and intentional.”  We are intentionally setting a theme that will help serve as a filter for everything (thoughts, decisions, feelings, actions, words, activities) in 2021.

Instead of trying to meet some impossible or too general goal/New Year’s Resolution, what if you hit that big red easy button and developed a theme for the entire year?

Developing that theme would be called “setting your Guiding Words.”

As a guy who has struggled with keeping New Year’s Resolutions, I am first in line yelling “Hell yeah!”

Healing the Land; Unlocking Energy

 Eagle's Ridge Homestead, Hitching Post, Fall 2020

As I started 2021, I have made some significant changes to my life and my soul. I have consciously taken steps to eliminate guilt for some old programming (religion, belief systems, thought processes and some long-standing emotional baggage).  I have worked on these with Julie and some good friends who will be on the Small Scale Life Podcast soon.

At the same time, there is a new purpose and focus in my life. The Eagles Ridge Homestead (garden, stairs, house, shop and land) have renewed and energized me.  My soul has moved from the theoretical urban homestead in dangerous Minneapolis to this idyllic riverside retreat.  Eagles Ridge is brimming with life: from the frogs to the birds to the fish to the deer to the eagles. 

Yeah, ok, the field mice and pocket gophers too (little buggers).

Julie and I are healing the land, and we are healing ourselves.  This will be a future topic for the Small Scale Life Podcast.  There is something incredibly rewarding and spiritual removing the buckthorn, prickly ash and honeysuckle from this land. These are invasive species, and it is like the land and native trees are breathing again. 

The project has unlocked energy, curiosity and creativity that I haven’t experienced since I wandering around my first rail yard when I was 14 years old.  This is different however. This is a deep awakening, deep in the soul.  I feel connection and a deep energy when I am at the land.

As I went into 2021, I am in a different place mentally and spiritually.  I am ready to give, receive and connect.

My Guiding Words for 2021

Before 2021 started, Julie and I attended a Full Moon Drum Wash with Maria, a Reike Energy Healer. This was our second Drum Wash, so we knew what to expect. It was a fantastic experience, and we made some new friends as well. It was meant to be.

As an aside, I can’t wait to have Maria on the show. We are probably going to talk for 4 hours or something.  It is going to be glorious to talk to her and get into her brain.

Guiding Word: “Beginnings”

Beginnings; Guiding Words 

Back at home the next day after the Drum Wash, Julie and I had a mediation session. A word came to me during that session: “Beginnings.”

Beginnings mean the start of mental, physical or spiritual journey.  With any journey, we start with happiness and optimism, and we must not get bogged down if the way gets hard or when tough decisions need to be made.  We need to make solid decisions based in our truth and power.

This is a key word for me this year. It really has already shaped some decisions that I made and executed this week, and I’ll talk about that near the end of the article.  Don’t skip ahead yet!  There is more!

Guiding Word: “Lighthouse”

 Lighthouse; Guiding Words; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

The Second Guiding Word for 2021 is “Lighthouse.”  This came to me during the Drum Wash. I a vision of a black and white lighthouse at sundown, guarding a safe harbor.  I knew what this meant.  As Captain Lumbersquatch Greg Burns and Michael “Bee Whisperer” Jordan say often:

“Be the Lighthouse.”

We all have talents and skills. We all have passion burning deep in our soul and have the knowledge or skill to make that thing come alive. Talking about or doing that thing is like pouring gasoline on a fire: the fire flares and burns bright in the night’s sky.

We need your skills and talents now more than ever. We need you. As the storm of life and chaos approaches, we must build that community and use our skills and talents to help our tribe.

By letting your energy shine by using your talents and skills, you are being the lighthouse for your group, your tribe.  You are an example to others, whether you think you are or not.

People naturally are attracted to energy, vibration and activity. They want to see what is happening there, and once they see it, they want to be part of it.  These folks want to know what is your source of energy and what ARE you doing?  

It is interesting to see this in play on Eagles Ridge.  People are reaching out, showing up and wanting to see what is happening.  Neighbors, family and people online from the community have reached out and showed up. It is pretty fun to see and experience that.  

 I take that as a sign, and when you see our plans, you will want to come too! 

 That is part of Being a Lighthouse: marking the harbor and showing the way to ships tossed about on boiling seas.  We are keeping them from sinking or crashing on the rocks of fear and despair.

Putting Guiding Words into Action

I made some big decisions this week that will quietly play out over time.  As you might of noticed, this is a different kind of article than has been on Small Scale Life in a while.  It signals a New Beginning.  We have turned a corner and are bringing back Wellness as a subject on Small Scale Life.  I have some significant plans for Wellness in the future, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Of course, friends like Amy Dingmann from A Farmish Kind of Life, Maria the Energy Healer, Hannah from the Wisconsin Homestead Podcast, Smilin Trish, Bert Weasel, my new friend Matt and of course Julie have helped me along on this decision. I am grounded and feeling EXTREMELY excited about this.

At the same time, I have started writing at Small Scale Gardening again. Why do this (again)?  Well, I know people will struggle with gardening in 2021.  Many of their COVID gardens are a year old, and they might have struggled with weeds, pests, blight or lack of production in 2020. They need help, and I am the Lighthouse. I know and love gardening.  I am writing there and making videos again to help people.

The first article has been published, and it is titled “A New Garden Season is Dawning.”   I discuss 2020 (gardening and escaping Minneapolis) and the future of the Small Scale Gardening platform.  I have already recorded videos for the YouTube Channel.  Please go to that site and check it out.

As with the Life Cycle, when something is born, something dies.  I have cancelled the Small Scale Gardening Podcast for now. I will focus on a video platform for Small Scale Gardening.

How about You?  Set Your Guiding Words Today!

Be Bold; Guiding Words 2021

I have found my Guiding Words to be incredibly powerful. I am moving forward boldly this year. I am making decisions and acting with these guiding words in mind.  Things are changing fast; however, I am acting confidently and boldly moving forward in 2021, even with the messes and disasters happening around us.  Now is the time!

How about you?

How are you feeling about 2021? Do you have any Guiding Words for 2021?  What are they?  Post them in the comments below!  We would like to know what they are!

If you don’t and don’t know where to start, please reach out. We can help you.  Send a note to us using the Contact Us page here at Small Scale Life. Don’t hesitate. Just do it. We can help you.

Remember: you matter.

We want you to have a great 2021, and we hope to empower you to be bold and stand strong.  Your best days and the best you are ahead.  You just need to step forward.

Raido: your journey begins now.

Ride forth boldly and with confidence!