What’s Your Word?

by Jessica on January 2, 2012

Priorities.  That’s mine.  All year.

Let me explain.  A couple of years ago I finally accepted that I was no good at all with resolutions.  Oh,I excel at making them. I’m just exceedingly bad at keeping them.    I love to make nice long lists with copious details laced with good intentions, but in no time at all I find that I have failed.  Resolutely.

I think there are a couple of reasons why resolutions don’t work for me.  Even with the best of intentions, I just lose focus and forget them.  It seems to be pretty trendy now to have ADD, so I wish I could claim it was that, but it’s probably more truthful to say that I never outgrew the need to give up when something becomes mundane or difficult or cuts into my free time.  I’ve also found that I expect too much out of my resolutions.  I would resolve to lose ten pounds, reread Tolstoy, and completely reorganize my closet.  Then for tomorrow, I would like to…  You get the idea.  By setting unreachable goals I became my own worst enemy and set myself up to never even begin.  

Last year I happened upon a new resolution idea.  Rather than make a list, I choose a single word that serves as the overarching theme to guide my choices and focus in the New Year.  

I know this is not an original idea, not only because I am perpetually several steps behind any trend, but also because I have read about other people doing this too.  I’m sure it was the brain child of some deep thinker out their somewhere, but I have found the simplicity works for the average and easily distracted like me.

Last year my word was intentional.  Throughout the year, at anytime, I could challenge myself to consider whether my actions and choices were intentional.  Often, I would ask myself this question after spending two hours surfing the web and I would have to admit that I indeed did not intend to continue clicking mindlessly.   Just as often, though, I could remind myself that I wanted to be intentional and that helped me to focus on giving my best to my kids, or my friends, or my work.  Of course there were also plenty of times that I fully intended to stay up past midnight watching Friends reruns or frittering away the hours on Pinterest.  On the whole, the simple focus that it generated was good for me.

This year the word is priorities.

When I took a helicopter view of my life I realized that I was spending far too many of my resources-time, energy, money-on things that didn’t help me to achieve my life goals.  I needed to focus in on the things that mattered to me and spend most of resources on those things.  (Notice I said most to leave me a little room for Friends and Pinterest.)  Pinpointing my priorities was easy.  Finding a way to focus on these priorities will be the hard work.  Good thing I have all year.

Will you choose a word this year?  Remember, this is not about making a list of what you should do, but making a choice about who you want to be.  Who do you want to be in 2012?


walkingontravels January 3, 2012 at 11:45 am

I love this! It's easier, but also so much harder than a list of resolutions. I'm a perpetual list maker. Some for the day, week, month, year, decade…you get the idea. But one word helps you hone in on your priorities and even focus those lists. It's so easy to get lost in the everyday and an endless amount of distractions. I'll be pondering my word for the year. Ha, maybe my word will end up being ponder cause I'll be thinking of it so much. Anywho, thanks for the new years challenge!

Steve January 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Hmmm…the only word that's coming to mind is "chocolate", and somehow I just don't think that's a great guiding word considering my resolution to lose weight. It does explain why it's the only word to come to mind though.
Seriously, I think "priorities" is a great word for your year. It's always when I lose focus on the big things that stuff goes wrong. When I'm acting according to what my priorities tell me is important, everything seems to go much smoother. I'm guessing that you're in for a fabulous year! 
PS. I'm adding a new resolution to my year that at least once I will answer the security question on your wall before I click Post Comment.

Lisa January 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Great idea, Jessica!  I'm also very bad at keeping resolutions so I gave up making them years ago – perhaps a defining word is just what I need.  Steve shouldn't feel too bad – I forget the security question every time too.

Jenni January 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I think my goal this year is going to be the word FINISH. I need to finish a million projects/obligations that I've started. This year will be the year I finish all my projects!

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