As someone who makes a living putting words together, it's hard to imagine distilling something as complex as a year into a single one. But I found this (at christinekane.com, through Jeri's blog), absorbed it, and decided it was something worth trying.
The gist, in case you don't want to jump around: Choose a word - just one word - as your goal for the year, instead of making the same old resolutions. Apply this word to everything you can - as Christine says, "Hold that word in your mind throughout the year, and let your word guide you to take action."
To me, the idea feels like naming something that is a common thread across many aspects of our lives. Maybe it's something we've only just aspired to; maybe it's something we keep trying to achieve and never quite feel as though we've succeeded. Maybe it's things we want to do, something we want to be, a feeling we want to express and receive.
But in any case, choosing a Word is like taking the old model of all the promises we make to ourselves and turning it inside out - getting at it from the deepest levels, instead of starting at the surface. Throughout 2008, I started the process of unearthing a lot of old, hidden things in my life in a variety of ways...and I like where it's gone so far, so the Word seems like a natural extension, maybe even the next step in my journey.
Others have chosen words like Compassion. Joy. Release. Now. Yes. There are thousands of possibilitites, each bound to mean more at the end of a year's exploration than they do at the beginning.
My word for 2009 is Motivation.
For now, it's something I keep trying to achieve and never feel as though I've fully succeeded. Maybe it's also something I need to examine when I think of the why of things I do, or don't do.
At the least, I want to use it to inspire me to get up off my rear, literally or figuratively. To do more of the things that need doing, or that I aspire to do. To do the things I already do, but better. Not just to do things. Not just to Be Motivated To.
Maybe just to Be Motivated.
I'd be honored if anyone wanted to join me (and Christine, Jeri, and a lot of other folks) in choosing a Word. Read the original post and give it some consideration. You don't have to make a quick decision; you can choose a different one later; you don't even have to tell anyone (though I'd love to hear it if you do). Just ask yourself: Where could one word take me in my life?
It's an interesting question for a writer to ask herself, at least. In 363 days, what will this one word mean to me that it didn't mean today? What will it have inspired me to achieve? How will it have changed me?
I can't wait to find out.