Let’s make New Year’s resolutions simple this year — instead of coming up with a list of resolutions that fade away in a week, here’s a different idea — choose one word. Not that there’s anything wrong with “lose 10 pounds” and “be a better partner” commitments. But, unless we make a concerted effort to change habits, the excitement will fade and we’ll forget by Valentine’s Day.
Instead, I’m challenging you to choose one word that captures who you want to be this year.
Why one word? — Whether we realize it or not, we create our lives from the thoughts – the words – we think and and speak, even silently to ourselves.
So, be sure to create what you want!
There’s some controversy about what comes first, the thought or the word or the feeling, or if there can be a thought without a word (i.e. symbol) to describe it. Personally, I’m not going to think that hard about which comes first. I think it’s good enough to say a word represents something to me and by choosing a word that is imbued with meaning for me and repeating it will reinforce whatever I want to create in the world.
For example, the word I’ve chosen for the year is flourish. It’s a favorite word of mine and I’ve even chosen this word to use in my business because of the feeling I get from it. To me, flourish means abundant and beautiful. It’s overflowing. Not only do I want to flourish, but I want my clients to flourish, too. In order for that to happen I need to expand myself and give my best. So, all year long, I want to remind myself to flourish.
I was in a workshop once with writer Gunilla Norris. who gave each of us a word on a slip of paper to begin the workshop. We didn’t know it, but everyone received the same word, “already.” Later, Gunilla told us the significance of the word, that we were already every thing we needed to be. Boy, that’s a relief, isn’t it? That word still carries a special vibe for me and reminds me of her very special presence.
You may have heard that Shonda Rhimes, producer of tv hits like How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal, lived the year of saying “yes” to every opportunity. To see her TED talk, go here.
Now, what if you want to start saying “no”? For example, you want stronger boundaries on your time and you have a hard time saying no when others ask for your time. It might be easy and clever to create a campaign for yourself around “Just Say No,” but what is it that you really want and why? Do you want more time with family? Do you want to focus more energy on a specific area of work? or something else? Wherever you put your attention will get fostered. So put it where you want more. If you just focus on saying no, the energy is about cutting others off, rather than expanding what you want.
Here are some tips for choosing and using one word:
- Choose a positive word – it’s about what you want to create. We create from the words we use, so choosing a negative word or one that represents what you don’t want only reinforces it.
- If you are so inclined, make a piece of art or choose an object that represents your word. Place it where you’ll see it; the bathroom mirror, on your nightstand, on your desk, etc. It can be a subliminal reminder for you.
- If your word represents a theme for you, that is bigger than a single action, take time to make it real by thinking about where you would apply it and how it will impact you. Visualize specific situations and how you will react in them with your word activated. In addition to changing how you think, this word should inspire you to also change your behavior.
- Set appointments on your calendar to check in with yourself to see how you are living into your word. You might do this daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly.
For 2019, what is one word that…
… is your guiding light in the darkness?
… directs your decisions?
… says you are already?
I’d love to hear your word and why you chose it in the comments below.