By now the Christmas trees are coming down and wreaths and angels are going back into boxes. New Year’s resolutions are being made and broken or forgotten about. A New Year’s resolution is usually something you think you ought to do but don’t really want to. You are going to stop smoking or go back to gym, drink more water and less alcohol and never say another mean word to your mother-in-law. You are going to supervise homework or stop doing it. You are becoming a vegetarian and losing weight. Chances are you are going to do none of the above. Why? Because you don’t really want to.
Have more fun!!! Do it our way.
A dream is something we hope comes our way. A goal is a decision to bring it into being.
Step 1 – Pick ONE WORD for the year. This is your word and you are going to keep it in mind all year until it becomes a part of you. You will think about this word, write this word and imagine this word often. Think about when you are on the toilet or in the shower – you can’t really do much else. This is YOUR WORD. Get into the habit of writing it in your diary every single day. Tell people that this is your word and ask them to find their word. Be a pain if you have to but bury this word into your being
Step 2 – make a sentence using your word. THIS ONE SENTENCE IS YOUR COMMITMENT FOR THE WHOLE YEAR.
For those of you that read the book “Eat,Pray, Love” you may recall that she talked about each city having a word that typifies it. With enough patience and attention its very essence can be crystalized into a word. Italy was about sex and New York was about ambition and drive. Off and on for many months I tried to find a word that I thought might typify myself. I struggled and eventually decided that maybe a human personality is too complex to sit easily with one word. Notwithstanding I decided to stay with the idea of the word.
In 2013 my word was ATTENTION and my sentence was “IF YOU WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH PAY ATTENTION”. It was a year of discovery for me. I paid attention to what I saw and what people said and what people failed to say. I listened carefully to their choice of words. I noticed how cheaply people use the word “love” and promised I wouldn’t. I hear things like, “I have been out with him five times and he adores my children”. Are you serious? Why would it be necessary to use such a huge word? What is the truth here? I watch how messy people make messy conversations. I looked at mind mess and physical mess and asked questions about mess. I was in search of the truth by paying attention and it was illuminating beyond my ability to describe to you.
In 2014 my word was GRATITUDE. My sentence was “I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY LIFE AND ASSUME THAT THE PARTS I DON’T LIKE I DON’T YET UNDERSTAND”. I practiced gratitude all year and by the end of last year I really felt like the luckiest person alive. I found so much to be grateful for – all of which was there all along but I failed to notice. Of course a year is a long time and life, being what it is, will present challenges. I stopped complaining and began to assume that at the end of this I would be smarter, tougher or wiser. I honestly began to see them as opportunities to learn and grow. I was no longer sleepless and sure that the world was designed to irritate me. That beautiful assumption that even the tough stuff was somehow there for my benefit has been one of the blessings of the year.
Now I find myself in 2015 and paying attention has become such a habit that I don’t know how not to do that anymore. I am grateful that I pay attention and am sure that every situation is just another opportunity for me to be better at life. People are there because I need to learn something from them even when I would prefer that they weren’t.
I have my word and my sentence for 2015. Find yours. Ask other people to find theirs. Live your word and your sentence.
I read this blog to a group of women at my mother’s retirement home. The average age is 80. At the end of the story, they all sighed at how beautiful it was. I asked them to choose a word. Most of them chose the word “love” and the sentence was that the wanted to find love and feel loved. It appears that this never subsides completely.