Discernment Is My 2024 Challenge

The first thing I did on January 1, 2024 was climb up a mountain with a friend. A little more than four hours on snow and ice in very cold, grey conditions. When we got back to the car, I couldn’t even manage to click the car remote to unlock the doors, my hands were so frozen. And it was glorious to open the year in nature, in the vigor of my body (which has not always been a given this year), with a challenge and great company.

2023 was its own mountain and as much as I love mountains, I’m hoping that 2024 will bring fewer tears and fears and more ease and flow.

Every year (as many of you do, no doubt, and many of us here at Fit Is a Feminist Issue) I choose a WOTY (here’s last year).  Sometimes the word is aspirational and other years it is a beacon. This year it is the latter—a lighthouse to indicate the shoals, when I fall out of alignment with its intent; and a north star to guide my speech, actions and spirit.

My word is going to be DISCERNMENT. I had a lot of resistance to my WOTY last year, which was WELCOME, because, well, the year was even harder than I anticipated when I chose the word. Now, heading into another opportunity for a reset, I wanted to find a word that was neither overwhelming, as last year’s word felt at times (when I hadn’t just blocked the whole word from my mind), nor punitive. I say that because my first potential word for this year was FRUGAL. Oof. That felt like punishment and deprivation. And yet, I want to capture the intention I have going into 2024, to be more conscious of the choices I’m making. In particular, yes, the financial decisions I make, since my situation post-break up is radically different than it was when I was with my partner. I wrote about the results of those relationship choices in My Fit Feminism Is a Fraud.

Last year was also a no-shopping for clothes year (that was my annual challenge, which I usually have, in addition to my WOTY), so I didn’t want a word that doubled down on 2023. Which brings me to DISCERNMENT. A word that feels more about choices, all my choices, from how I spend my money, to how I spend my time and with whom. I feel, too, the grace in this word and I’m looking forward to exploring that aspect. And, how lucky that I have an accountability partner in Tracy, co-founder of this community. I’m hoping that having her company will help me with the alignment I had trouble with last year, as my 2023 word kept falling out of my mind.

As for my annual challenge (not a resolution!), I’m going to use my word as my challenge. For example, I’ve signed up for Home Exchange, which will enable me to go places that might not otherwise be in my budget. And, after a year without new clothes, shoes or accessories, I want to work on easing back into shopping with discernment, too. The last time I ended a no-shopping year, I was back to my old shopping habits more quickly than I would have liked. I’d like to do better this time. Starting, for example, with much more vintage and second time around, not only to be mindful of my spending, but also to be mindful of the environmental impact of my love of clothing and shoes.

And yes, I did shop on January 1 (while I drank my hot chocolate after the arduous hike) and I’ll admit that I’m excited to wear a new-to-me pair of black jeans and cozy sweater!



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