Well, it’s that time again. January 1st is just a few days away. The year’s end is a period to reflect on the past and brings renewed hope for the upcoming year. All the goals that were not met will happen this year for sure…maybe…hopefully. I do love setting goals. Without them we walk around somewhat aimlessly. However, I have found simpler practice that acts as an umbrella for decisions in the upcoming year.
Words are powerful. Word combinations can make a seemingly neutral word come to life. Take the word “am” for example. Alone it does not have much mean. But if you put the letter “I” in front it, suddenly it becomes a name of God (Exodus 3:14). Or consider the word “daughter”. There may be a special connotation but put the word “my” in front and the word daughter now has a name, a face, and a bond. Enough words strung together form sentences and sentences make paragraphs and paragraphs turn into pages and stories and shape our thoughts and opinions and life. Words matter.
Let’s consider words that can stand alone and set the pace for your entire year. In the past I have practiced this on occasion: each new month or year I choose a word to focus on, one that will captivate my attention for the year, a word that I will filter every decision through.
One word. That’s it.
A couple years ago that word for me was “encourage”. My first year as the Clinical Coordinator for Dietetics & Nutrition at the university I worked at in Florida was a time of learning. One of the greatest lessons was that I could stand firm on decisions and keep boundaries with students while still encouraging them. For my second group of interns I strove to be more encouraging while keeping high expectations. Encourage. That was my word.
I am still searching for my word for 2016. “Decisiveness” is still in the running. I tend to second-guess many of my choices…okay, almost all of my choices. I believe I will feel more freedom if I stop analyzing every decision, especially ones that cannot be undone. A current example? I cannot decide on a word for 2016!
Another word that I have used before is “present”. How many times are you with someone but not with someone? We miss out on right now because we are dwelling on the past or longing for the future.
What is that word for you? Maybe “healthy” will be your word for the year, helping you to make good choices for your body, mind and spirit. Or “thankful”. This year you may decide to be thankful for everything from the small gifts like a snow day with your family to the news that your cancer is gone to finding out that a loved one found Jesus.
As we roll into the New Year, pick one word, just one. And let your goals and choices filter through that word. Simple. Easy.
Just one word.