It’s a new year and another new beginning.
I love taking stock of my life and coming up with a plan to make things better, easier, sharper. I love goals and I love a good revamp. Every January, I vow to improve the quality of my health, my relationships, and my time. More yoga. Less coffee. More sleep. Less phone. It’s always a list of things to be and not to be. It’s a lot of ambition, but it’s also a lot of pressure.
As much as I love New Year’s resolutions, I don’t love falling short. I don’t love failure or guilt or disappointment. I don’t love feeling like a slacker.
And that’s exactly how I feel come February. I start out with so many goals and ideas about my life and self that my list is too long and too unrealistic. All of my ambition deflates and my excitement turns sour. And that’s no way to start a new year.
So this time I’m trying something different. It’s not a new idea and it’s not my idea, but it’s a really great idea that’s worth a share.
This year, instead of the same ol’ resolutions and promises I know I won’t be able to keep, I’m going to try to change the way I look at my world and self. Instead of goals, I’m going to make a new intention. Instead of a list, I’m going to start with a new perspective.
I’m going to pick one word. One word. One word to bring clarity and guidance to this brand new year.
This one word is going to be my chorus, my filter, and my focus. I’m going to try to think about this word every day, especially before I act and before I speak.
I love this idea. I love this kind of “resolution” because the attention isn’t on habits or hobbies, the attention is on perspective. It’s more than a resolution. It’s a change for the better, the kind of better that makes a difference in a life.
So how do I choose a word? The possibilities are almost beyond number.
gratitude, love, purpose, joy, hope, perseverance, humility, truth, connection, patience, flow, discipline, focus, integrity, character, honor, clarity, grace, quiet, listen, surrender, better, enough, contentment, brave, balance, trust, growth, present, happy, change, light, believe, knowledge, excellence, unity, fascination, compassion, creativity, harmony, bliss, magic, virtue, satisfaction, comfort, thoughtfulness, vigor, benevolence, individuality, candor, cheer, serenity, sincerity, ask, embrace, generosity, health, optimism, forgiveness, faith, control, give, peace, finish, awe..
The list goes on and on. But remember, it’s one word. Only one word.
Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon, co-authors of One Word That Will Change Your Life, suggest asking three important questions: What do I need? What’s in my way? What needs to go?.
Similarly, Mike Ashcroft, a North Carolina pastor and author of My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word, recommends a three step process:
- Think about the kind of person you want to be.
- Make a list of characteristics and qualities of that person using single words.
- Pick one word from that list, the word that resonates with you the most.
I thought about all of these questions. I thought about the kind of person I want to be and how I’d describe that person. I thought about what it is in my life that stands in my way. I thought about what I need and what needs to go. I thought about it all week and one word kept coming back to me.
Because I want more pauses in my life. I want to try to resist more of the distraction and the stimulation. When I speak, I want to speak with a calm voice from a calm place. Especially with the people I love the most, especially with the little people I love the most. I want to take more breaths before I react. I want to take more breaths, period. I want to be more thoughtful and deliberate. I want to slow down and slow it down. I want less noise in my life and less noise in my head. I want a still heart.
That’s my hope for this year. That’s my lens. That’s my word. Stillness.
It won’t be easy and it won’t be always, but it will be a nice starting place.
And who knows? Maybe I’ll end up with more yoga and sleep along the way.
Happy New Year.