According to The Internet, it’s time to begin planning and making resolutions for the new year.* Social media posts and end-of-year articles are now directing our attention toward all the things we should start thinking about to maximize the next 12 months: goals for our businesses, ways to get ahead despite still dealing with the pain of this pandemic, tools to be more organized and productive than ever before, and the attitude needed to Crush 2021!
I’m big fan of planning for success, giving encouragement, and tapping into whatever confidence you need to be a person you’re proud of. Yes, to goals! Yes, to enthusiasm!
And NO to “crushing” 2021. I get that crushing here is figurative – I’m not a Luddite. But I am incredibly aware of word choice and the tricky nature of the language of dominance that shapes our culture.
What’s in a Word?
I am tempted, momentarily, to begin a short treatise about the importance of non-violent communication in an increasingly divisive society. So, too, could I launch into a manifesto about language of The Patriarchy and its framework of control that continues to insinuate itself via all modes of media into everything from one’s psyche to one’s Zoom schedule. But here’s the specific question at hand:
Aren’t we all just a little tired of having to go and crush things? I am exhausted by the mere suggestion.
Saying “I’m going to CRUSH 2021” suggests that the year is something to be conquered, that there is only victory or defeat, success or failure. And crushing is so often used in reference to a person’s spirit. 2020 has done quite a number on many of us in that department, so why would we want to crush the potential of year that lies ahead?
Before you roll your eyes while cursing my attention to word detail, the word “crush” can be wonderful. We need the verb “to crush” for fruit so we can make delicious wine or for flower petals so we can create exotic perfumes. The noun “crush” is equally delectable – that tingly, steamy rush of infatuation when smitten with someone dreamy.
It’s not the word, but he context that chafes. What if we really examined what we are trying to express when saying, “I’m going to crush 2021”?
Consider these questions:
- How do you define “crush the year”? Do you use terms like accomplishment, tenacity, financial reward, or personal development?
- Are there points for partial crushing? What if you discover that you wanted to change direction or add a level of nuance to the crushing that you didn’t know about at the beginning of the year?
- How will you know if you have crushed the year? What are your markers of successful crushing? How will it make you feel?
- Will anyone, including yourself, be harmed in the crushing process?
- If you know what successful crushing looks like, is there any other word that might be more descriptive and less dominance-focused that could be used instead?
And if you really want to crush 2021, by all means do. My aversion to crushing the year is not likely yours. But just ask yourself if “crushing” accurately fits your aspirations.
Here are a few alternatives:
- I’m going to feel deeply proud of myself and my actions in 2021!
- I’m going to make creative decisions and use my resources well throughout 2021!
- I’m going to use my intuition and skill to make choices I can celebrate every day!
If you could look back and say that you had accomplished any of those statements in 2021, how would you feel? How much confidence would you radiate and share? I suspect that if more of us framed our hopes for the year ahead with that kind of clarity, we’d feel better about how each year transpires and, ultimately, have a better time in the process.
And then there would be no need to crush anything other than the grapes for champagne to toast our successes in the year ahead. Cheers!
*I always wait until March 4th for such things. More about that here.
This post appeared first on ALifeOfCharacter.com