Late last year a friend told me he’d decided to focus on being more proactive about finding the good things in life in 2017 and on acquiring some achievable habits to promote that outlook. He’d had a tough year and I was (and am) impressed at his resolve and determination to rise above it all and to chooses to make positive changes to his life.
He later asked me, ‘Are you much in the way of New Year’s Resolutions?’ Well, although I do think about the year ahead, I’m actually not at all prone to making resolutions. Instead I generally just aim to get more things done, to be a bit more patient (!) and to do more stuff. None of these are resolutions, as such, and nor are they life changing, but I find they’re usually achievable. Perhaps because they’re so non-specific?
Then, on New Year’s Eve, my BBF told me about her resolution for 2017. Instead of making a list of wannas and gonnas (and having them turn into shouldas), she’s chosen one word around which to frame her year.
After much thought, the word that emerged was one that’ll encourage her to she achieve her goals and that she believes she can commit to on an ongoing basis for the entire year.
As we talked (and sipped our NYE bubbly), I realised that choosing a word can provide direction, without being dictatorial. It’s both a clear focus and a soft target, covering any number of possible outcomes and thus a wide range of opportunities for success.
I could see that the process of reflecting on what you’d like to achieve, broadly speaking, and then condensing that into one word would be a valuable exercise. Actioning the word across the year… now that would be empowering. I loved the idea!
I went to sleep in the early hours of New Years Day thinking about it – and woke up with it still on my mind several hours later. Since it was pretty clear that inner-me was trying to tell me something, I spent the next few days considering what, in broad terms, I want to achieve this year. Is it the usual ‘get more things done in the year ahead, to be a bit more patient and to do more stuff’ or do I want more from this year?
Since 2016 was a relatively stagnant year, the short answer is I want more. More engagement, more activity, more learning, more fun. (But no more dogs; two is quite enough!)
Choosing just one word to encapsulate all that proved to be surprisingly difficult. It should be both broad enough to encompass many things and specific enough to result in action/outcomes. I need it to be something with direction, with a certain amount of gravitas. And, whatever word I chose, it should be one that will influence the way I think, the way I behave and the choices I make.
In the end I came up with a short list and noticed a distinct trend in the sorts of words that had popped up: Achieve / Focus / Expand / Purposeful / Learn. All of these are active words, all of seem to want to carry me forward into the year, towards completing projects and starting new ones, into new experiences and opportunities. So, rolling all of this into one big glom, I’ve come up with my word.
This year I plan to be more ACTIVE – in all possible ways. What word would you choose?
Would you choose a word at all? I’m interested to know what people think of this idea.