Having a word of the year for 2017 instead of New Years resolutions. Click to read or pin to save for later.
Photography source: Unsplash

As we rolled over into 2017, I made the conscious decision that I wasn’t going to set any New Years resolutions. To be completely honest with you, I just wasn’t feeling it this year.

While that might sound quite negative, my intentions were actually pretty positive. It’s not a case of foregoing goal setting or giving up on hope or ambitions. But rather that I want to take an unpressured approach to the year ahead.

I’m simply going to take things as they come. If I manage to achieve what I want, then that’s fantastic. But equally, if I don’t, well… there’s always next year!

I’m setting no expectations and instead choosing to be grateful for anything positive that does happen for me.

What I am doing instead

One thing that I am totally getting on board with, in 2017, though, is the concept of having a word for the year. I kind of subconsciously did this last year and found myself relying on a specific word to help me through the difficult times.

My word for 2016 was hope

2016 was certainly an up and down year for me where my health was concerned. I started the year feeling pretty poorly and, though it was only natural to fear that my health was regressing, I clung onto the hope that I would feel better again.

I thankfully did but my progress was short-lived. My health then plateaued and I felt like I had completely stalled in my recovery. Frustration took hold for a while but eventually hope made me look for alternative strategies and lead me towards Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). When HBOT didn’t work out for me, hope then got me through one hellish setback after another.

Hope kept me going

I never wrote about it at the time but I wanted to give up many times in 2016. I was ready to throw in the towel and stop trying so hard to get better… but hope wouldn’t let me.

Ultimately, it was hope that led me towards attending Breakspear and finally getting to the root cause of my health issues. Hope is what helped to move me forward in 2016.

My “Word of the Year” for 2017

When thinking of a word for 2017, I was initially drawn towards words such as strength, persistence and determination. And while these are great words and would do well to carry me forward, I’ve made a conscious decision that, in 2017, I will not be putting as much focus on my health. I felt that these words would definitely do that and so I decided against them.

Given the fact that I am recovering from Lyme disease, it may sound a bit surprising that I don’t want to focus on my health. Don’t get me wrong, I am going to continue to treat my Lyme disease and I will still very much actively be working towards recovery. The difference is, I’m not going to let it consume me.

Share on Pinterest:

Choosing a word of the year for 2017 instead of New Years resolutions. Click to read or pin to save for later.

The last few months have felt very full on

I’ve had to get used to a new diagnosis, along with new health regimes and treatments. Treatments that have resulted in me experiencing numerous herx reactions (an exacerbation of symptoms caused by bacteria die-off), meaning I’ve spent a lot of time feeling rough AF. Understandably, this has also meant spending a lot of time being unable to do many of the things I wanted to.

Following my diagnosis of Lyme disease, I also had to work through a lot of emotions and mental stuff I didn’t anticipate having to deal with. And while I no doubt still have a challenging road ahead of me, I want to make room for other things in my life.

That’s why my word for 2017 is going to be joy

Joy very much feels like a doing word. In 2017, I want to do more of the things I enjoy; including things I’ve not done for a while and possibly even some completely new hobbies or challenges.

In the last couple of weeks, I definitely feel like I’ve turned a corner with my health *madly touches wood*. I am starting to feel better in myself, I am experiencing less payback and I am recovering quicker from any payback that I do experience. While I can still have bad days, they aren’t as bad as they use to be and I’m starting to see less of them.

I’ve been here before and I’m glad to be back here again

In fact, I will tentatively say I’m starting to feel the best I have in a long, long time. And while I will, of course, continue to work away at improving my health, I feel like I am in a good rhythm with everything and I don’t have to think about it as much.

My energy is finally starting to shift in a positive direction and I feel I am in a position to start doing more of the things I want to do; the things that have had to take a backseat while stuff relating to recovery took shotgun.

IΒ am under no illusions

I know that the road ahead won’t be plain sailing and I won’t be feeling the joy all of theΒ time. But, we are only in the 2nd week of the year and so far I have:

  • Spent time gaming with pals (Overwatch is slowly taking over my life!)
  • Completed a watercolour painting
  • Spent time with both sides of the family
  • Began reading a book (reading is something I’ve only recently been able to do without payback)
  • Had a spa day with my mum
  • Signed up for a beginner’s Spanish class (I’m hoping this isn’t being too ambitious!!)

Making time for things that bring me joy is going to be my priority this year and I’m definitely off to a good start! Already I’m feeling happy, motivated and ready for wherever 2017 takes me!

What do you think about choosing a word for the year? Is it something you would do? Or do you prefer the more traditional New Years resolutions? Let me know in the comments down below.


Hello, I'm Donna. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013 and started this blog shortly after. After my health declined significantly the following year, I decided to become my own advocate and searched for answers. It took two years but, in 2016, I finally discovered I had Lyme Disease. On February Stars, I share my personal journey back to better health; discussing what has helped me and the mistakes I've made along the way. I also cover topics on self-improvement, managing symptoms and living life to the fullest with chronic illness.


  1. This is such a wonderful, positive post. Here’s to a joy-filled year for you!

    I abandoned resolutions a couple of years ago in favour of giving my years broad “themes” – it’s the same sort of idea, I think. Life is too short to beat yourself up over things you decided when you had no idea what was in front of you.

    • Thanks, Lis! I think it’s a much better idea than resolutions. I totally agree with you, it’s daft to feel like a failure over stuff you didn’t do when you had no clue how the year was going to pan out.

  2. This is such a lovely positive post Donna and I’m so proud of you for what you’ve achieved this year already, I know how much all of those things will have meant to you and it sounds to me like Joy is a fantastic word for the year ahead πŸ™‚ I’ve been seeing so many spoonies having a positive time at breakspear, it’s so inspiring to hear there’s finally somewhere taking these illnesses seriously.
    Sending you lots of love and gentle hugs <3
    Love Holly xxx


    • Thank you, Holly that’s so nice of you to say πŸ™‚ Yes, there’s quite a few of us at Breakspear who seem to be progressing quite well. I hope through sharing some of the stuff I learn and go through that I’ll help others who aren’t in the position to go there πŸ™‚ I hope you are doing as well as possible

  3. I love this Donna. Joy is a beautiful word for 2017. Glad to hear you feel your health is turning a corner. I keep waiting to find the corner, but feel I will in 2017! Lyme is like that, when you’re in the trenches it is hard to see the stars for the clouds. Blessings and I hope 2017 is joyful and filled with healing. I have enjoyed reading your blog so very much this past year.

    • Thank you, Valerie. I hope that you find that corner soon. It took me by surprise after feeling pretty rotten for a while. I hope just it continues. I too have enjoyed reading your blog and learning more about Lyme through your experience πŸ™‚

  4. Love this lateral perspective. Too often we focus on ‘getting better’ and becoming consumed and fatigued by the process, ironically. This is a good reminder to also find joy in living. Thanks!

    • Thank you, Sheryl. That’s so true and is exactly why I have decided to do this πŸ™‚

  5. This was such a positive read! I’m still deciding on my own word of the year (I should probably hurry up, right?) but I think it will be either ‘Courage’ or ‘Belief’. I hope your 2017 is full of joy! πŸ™‚

  6. Geneva Waldorf Reply

    Great site and with an interesting topic. My self-discipline to the majority of the things I need to change. I am capable at a lot of things, however, surrender at the main obstacle. I need to do stuff and really stick to it. Also, I wanted myself to be surrounded with positive people with minimal drama and issues that can easily be avoided.

  7. LOVE this. I am starting this new year with a lot of trepidation due to my lyme and/or bartonella possibly being out of remission and having my CRPS spread and spread. I have had so much dread and fear. This post was so helpful to read and I will definitely be following your footsteps in reframing my thoughts and looking for joy.

    • Thank you, Genevieve. I am sorry to hear you are having so many problems with your health at the moment. I can absolutely understand why you must feel scared at what’s to come. I’m glad you found this post helpful. We don’t really know what the year ahead holds and sometimes what we fear most will never even happen. I hope that is true for you.

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.