“One word you can focus on every day, all year long… One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.” (oneword365.com)
When I was a young girl, I had the New Year’s resolution every year of reading through the Bible. On January 1, I would read 40 chapters of the book of Genesis and then by January 8, I would be on Genesis chapter 43. I’ve made that same resolution about 20 more times at points in my life and guess what, I have never read through the whole Bible no matter what I’ve tried. It’s been the same for me with exercise plans, diets, organizational goals, etc. You know what I mean. You feel the same pain. Bottom line. Resolutions don’t work.
On the flip side, I’m all about HOPE. I love a fresh start. A new day. A new week. A new month. And especially a NEW YEAR. Hope is what “rocks my socks.” And God knows this about us. That’s why we have fresh starts every morning, even every moment. I don’t know what I would do without the place where I can begin again, take a first step toward change, growth and healing, and then come to that same redemptive position again and again. HOPE.
Hope, my first Word of the Year (hereafter known as WOTY) in 2015, is the main reason why I opted to throw away all New Year’s resolutions and choose a WOTY. I need hope. Hope is an inner, gracious guide that allows room for us to change and grow. Resolutions are harsh external masters that heap shame on us when we “fail” to keep them. Here’s why:
- A resolution concentrates on “DOING.” A WOTY values “BEING.”
- A resolution instructs. A WOTY inspires.
- A resolution is mandatory (“work out three days a week”). A WOTY allows for room to go at your own pace (taking the next baby step).
- A resolution is limited in possibility (“lose 10 lbs”). A WOTY is expansive and limitless.
- A resolution can be “broken.” A WOTY cannot (it is a gentle friend).
I am so thankful that my husband stumbled upon the idea. It has been life-changing as we approach the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one. (One major caveat here. We spoke yesterday and realized that 2017 has been a tough one on this exact note. We don’t even remember our words for the year. But there is hope for a fresh start again in 2018…YAY for hope.)
If you’ve never done this, it’s a lot of fun. Today, New Year’s Eve, might be a good day to spend the time. Or any time in the next couple of weeks. I know people who spend an hour (me) and some who spend a weekend (Allen). (Click on my second post to understand why that’s the case.) It’s not a race. I woke up today at 3:30 am (not planned BTW) and decided to write this post and spend some time in the wee hours of this morning before the hustle and bustle of the day to come up with my WOTY. All that to say, it doesn’t matter when. But it might matter if. It might seem overwhelming. It’s not. It’s just fun. Give yourself the treat.
- Concentrate on who you want to BE(come) this year, not what you want to DO.
- Be true to yourself. You want your word to represent your unique needs and desires.
- Remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be perfect. This isn’t traditional goal-setting. This is grace-filled friendship-making. There is plenty of room to change your mind.
- It’s intended to be a kind guide that walks along side of you during the year, not a harsh master that dictates a set of “to-do’s” (God knows we don’t need any more of those voices in our heads). It’s a friend that accompanies you during your journey.
- Ask yourself a simple question: What do you need? Many times, we concentrate on improving ourselves instead of being kind to ourselves. This is a huge starting place. Don’t skip this step. Write down all the random things that come to your mind.
- The next question can be (after you haven’t skipped the first one) who do you want to be(come)? Write down a few of the most important things that jump into your head.
- Make a list of words that come to mind. Write as many as you want. It can be a noun, verb or adjective. If you need help, click here for some ideas.
- Cross out the words that don’t work for you. Narrow it down to at the most 10.
- Check out the definition of each of the words, it’s origin, synonyms and antonyms. You might just be surprised at what you find out!
- Give yourself some time to process the list. Allow yourself to “try each one on for size.”
- Take a deep breath and choose your word. Take a few minutes to write your thoughts about how you hope it might play out in different areas of your life and relationships.
- Write your word down on something and post it on your mirror, your car, your computer, wherever you will see it every day. You can even by a customizable bracelet by clicking here (I don’t get anything from this. Just thought it was a cool idea.) Look at it each morning and remind yourself about this friend who is with you today.
- Give yourself permission to change your mind. If you want to, take the time to reflect and re-evaluate your word at any point in the year.
Drum roll please!!! My word for the year in 2018 is TEND and here’s why (but a cool pic first of my process…by the way, that alphabetical list was helpful to me):
Tend means to “apply oneself to the care of, watch over, cultivate.” I want to:
- TEND to myself and others in their bodies, minds, souls and spirits.
- become a TENDer of my relationships, health, home, and work.
- atTEND to peoples’ hearts and my own.
- exTEND myself to other people, my own dreams and what new things life brings this year
- inTEND or direct my mind on what really matters (which is the above)
I don’t want to:
- conTEND (strive)
- disTEND (enlarge because of pressure)
- overexTEND (to expand beyond a safe point)
- preTEND (not be genuine)
My mantra is “hope for healing and wholeness (with a little humor along the way).” I pray that your Word of the Year would provide just that! It’s fun to be on this journey together! Let’s have some extra today!
Would love to know your Word of the Year once you’ve chosen it. Write it in the comments section (if you remember to come back here after you’ve done the process) or even more fun, a comment on Facebook or Instagram! I like those more!