Welcoming 2018: New Year, New Word -- PRESENT

Happy New Year (again). I hope you had a restful, joyful holiday and that your year is off to a good start.

watercolor art print calendar, Anne Butera's watercolor art print calendar, calendars, artist studios, botanical watercolor, vintage typewriter, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

My Christmas and New Year celebrations (family time, food, movies, games) were wonderful and over in a flash, but I've been taking some time for slow planning and thinking and goal setting. Journaling. List making. Brainstorming. Day dreaming.

Taking it slowly and not putting any pressure on myself has really helped me to clarify my thinking and come to some interesting insights, not just about the future, but about the past as well.

I hope you can take some time for such thinking, too. Sometimes surprising things happen when you put pen to paper. (I know we all work best in different ways. I'd love to hear what works for you).

The result of all this planning is that I am overflowing with ideas and I can't wait to share them with you!

But before I jump into all of that, I wanted to share my word for 2018: Present.

word of the year, 2018, New Year, Intentions, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Choosing a word to help guide my year has become a fun tradition for me.

2013: Bloom
2014: Realize
2015: Flourish
2016: Intention
2017: Create/Nourish

I love ideas. I love planning. I love to think about goals. But I also know that life "in the wild" doesn't happen like it does on paper.

Last year at this time I was certain that taking time off for a self-directed Creative Retreat would get me out of a creative slump. I chose the words Create and Nourish to direct the course of the year, urging myself to make art and to take care of myself.

In spite of my intentions, my creative slump lingered (and lingered). Sometimes we have no control. Ok, let's be honest, much of the time we have no control. We can fight it (and still have no control), or we can accept it and find joy and ease in letting go.

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Four out of five years, Bloom, Realize, Flourish, Create/Nourish -- my words were chosen to facilitate success and accomplishment. They were chosen to direct the course of the year. Then in 2016 I chose the word Intention. That word was a reminder to be thoughtful, to slow down and pay attention, to take my time and make the best choices for myself, my art and my business. That was, perhaps, the year that I most needed a word that didn't fight against a lack of control, but rather asked me to find ease and joy within my days. Even so, with all of life's uncertainties and challenges, that year I accomplished A LOT.

Right now as I look on the coming year, I feel extremely energized. I have so many ideas and plans and intentions and goals. I know this energy can't last, but I'm going to make the most of it while I can.

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I have no idea what 2018 will have in store for me, but I want a word that will accompany me through the year no matter what happens (or doesn't happen). I want an internal word. A word that's more about me and who I am on the inside and less about about what goes on outside. I want a word that will help me grow and find wisdom, whether I accomplish my goals or not. In Present I see mindfulness. I see slowness. With Present as my word I hope to be more aware and relaxed. I hope to listen more closely to my intuition.

I recently stumbled this quote and it really resonated with what I'm wishing for this year:

"The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything."
                              --Bill Murray

It's hard not to be relaxed when you're in the moment. Being present brings with it a sense of calm, no matter what's going on around me.

It feels good. It feels right. And that's just what I want from my Word of the Year.

What about you? Do you choose a word for your year? (If you need some help, I shared some tips for choosing a word back in this blog post).

Here's to a wonderful 2018!


  1. "Present" has so much room for interpretation, Anne.

    ---"Being present."
    ---"May I present..."
    ---"I brought you a present".

    I look forward to seeing all the ways that you are present in 2018!

    About six months ago I embarked on a journey to better fitness and health. It's been slow and steady and it feels really good. The word I embraced for becoming stronger was "progress". "Progress" leaves so much room for gentleness with my self. The word feels more like a partner to me (that I can embrace), rather than a challenge (that puts me at odds with myself). Subtle. I love it.


    1. Thank you, Karen! Yes. I think it's a very good word. :)

      And I love Progress, too. Slow and steady. Realistic. Celebratory.

      Here's to a wonderful 2018!!

  2. Happy New Year, Anne. I too set goals this year, and each year my dear friend of over 50 years and I share our goals at the beginning of January. I chose "Soar" as my word this year. I want to stop being afraid of failure and use my abilities to create something wonderful. (At least as wonderful as I'm capable of! lol)
    I love your word, and love how thoughtful and reflective you are as you plan your year. Looking forward to seeing the beautiful work I know you will be creating! xo

    1. Happy New Year to you, Judy! SOAR is a fabulous word!

      It's so hard not to fear failure, but I think it can also help to goad us to keep trying.

      Here's to SOARing and being PRESENT in 2018!

  3. Anne, I just finished the best book and you may enjoy it as well since your word for the year is present. It is: "Present Over Perfect" by Shauna Neiquist. Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks so much for the recommendation, Annie! Sounds like it would be very inspiring!

      Wishing you all the best in 2018!!

  4. I like your new year new word Anne. My word for 2018 is optimize. I have written about it on my blog. I have not lived up to the word so far and hope that my resolve to do so improves! I hope you are enjoying the first weekend of the new year. :)

    1. Hi, Simone! Optimize is a great word. Once the excitement of the new year passes, it's hard to get back into the swing of things. Carrying our theoretical energy over into actual, real-life energy can be hard! It's ok to go slow and to ease in to the new year. You'll find your way (after all this is January... not the most energetic or inspiring month!).

      Here's to a wonderful 2018!

  5. I've been choosing a word of the year for almost as long as I can remember. Focus, intention, breathe, simplify, gratitude, see, are a few of past words. Some I've used more than once. The 2018 word is grace. It covers a lot of territory! I hope to receive it, see it around me, and to share it. Happy New Year!

    1. Hi, Barbara, thanks for sharing your word. Grace is a wonderful choice, as are your others. Very thoughtful intentions you set for yourself!

      Wishing you much GRACE (in many ways) in 2018! Happy New Year to you!


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