My 2021 One-Word Theme of the Year

I don’t think I need to say what a shit-show 2020 was. I don’t think I know anybody who hasn’t lost at least one person or fur baby this year (I’ve lost several). And we all have had plans dashed this year. I was planning on knocking out at least 5 states this year, and planned on attending more concerts than I ever have. I know we are all looking forward to leaving this year behind us. However, it’s not like everything is going to be “back to normal” at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2021. But, we are resilient and will carry on, and things will gradually improve.

I am hopeful that this is going to be a good year. I have never made New Year’s resolutions before, and I’m not going to start now. I had always gotten a jump on self-improvement. I joined the gym in September 2012, took on Adriana as a personal trainer and started running again (for the first time in more than a decade) in October 2013, got the idea of my Rhode Runner journey in the summer of 2015, and officially kicked off the journey in September 2015. Nothing around December or January. That’s just the way it worked out.

However, January does sound like a good time to get a fresh start. When I started my running journey in 2015, I started following several running and positive podcasts and social media accounts. Some of them had mentioned finding a word or mantra to live by for that year. I have been going through a lot of changes recently, including entering a new decade of my life this past year. I have been inspired and moved to live by a word of the year this year.

My Word Theme of the Year: Spark

Every day of the year this year, I am going to try to find something that lights a spark in me. I am off to a good start so far. Thanks to the podcast episode “How to Read WAY More Books in 2021” from the Detail Therapy with Amy Landino podcast, I discovered a book called The Daily Stoic.  If you have been following my blog this year, you know that I have been covering a chapter a day and giving my thoughts on it. Both reading and writing lights a spark in me. So this makes for a great one-two punch. I usually do this first thing in the morning while drinking a cup of coffee to start the day.

But, that’s not the only reading and writing I will be doing. Besides The Daily Stoic, and whatever I have to read for school, I will be reading more books this year. Some people have been setting goals for a number of books they will be reading. I have absolutely no idea how many I can read. I will just do as much as I can. I have already finished Why Not Me? by Minday Kaling. Now, I just started reading by Mindy Kaling. Now I just started reading, Good Morning, Good Life: 5 Simple Habits to Master Your Mornings and Upgrade Your Life by the aforementioned, Amy Landino. 

I will also continue working on my memoir, Journey of the Rhode Runner. Realistically, I will try to have the first draft done by the end of the year. I would like to do it sooner. But, I am going for my Master’s degree, so I know that will be taking up a lot of my time, which is also good. When I get “in the zone” while I’m writing, it’s the equivalent of getting a runner’s high.  

In addition to my Daily Stoic reading and writing routine in the morning, I am also exercising. I’ll either do an at-home workout, go running if my ankle is agreeing with me, or I’ll go to the gym for weight training or group classes. This routine really sparks my day, and gets me ready to take on work for the day. I haven’t been setting my alarm, and I’ve been waking up between 4:30 and 5:00. When I wake up at that time, I get excited for my routine, so I’m not able to go back to sleep. It makes a huge difference when you give yourself something to look forward to instead of having to get ready for work as soon as you roll out of bed. Just think of Christmas as a kid (if you celebrated). You couldn’t wait to get up! Giving myself something to look forward to every day brings back that same feeling. I know there are going to be dreadful days. But, blocking off at least a short amount of time for joy will make things so much better. I struggle with my moods in the winter. But, so far I am doing very well.

In addition to that morning routine, is that I am freshening up the podcasts I listen to, and the social media accounts I follow. I am only listening to podcasts that excite me. If you’d like to see a list of podcasts I listen to, you can check out the Daily Stoic article where I mention them. If I’m able to, I will write individual articles or do a podcast episode for each one. I also recently performed an extensive clean-up of the Twitter and Instagram accounts that I follow. I honestly do going scrolling through them too often. But, I am able to catch some things there when I post my own stuff. So, I want to see positive posts. 

Another thing that sparks me is positive people. Surrounding yourself with positive, and authentic people is life changing.  It puts you in a better mood, and can spark new ideas. 

Speaking of people, I’m hoping to be able to travel and see new people this year as I try to pick up more states. But, I’m not banking on it. If it happens, I will be so excited. If not, I’ll do some virtual races, and I’m sure 2022 will be the best year. In the meantime, I will find something that will spark me every day, and ignite me into the future!


Do you have any New Year’s resolutions, or have you picked a word of the year yet? I’d love to hear from you!

You can connect with me either in the comments below or in the following places:

Twitter: @TheRhodeRunner

Instagram: @TheRhodeRunner


You can also download and subscribe to the Journey of the Rhode Runner Podcast at:

Apple Podcasts





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