About this time of year, every year, we set a resolution for change. The resolutions are promises we make to ourselves or to others to do things differently, to be the best version of ourselves. And every year, several weeks later, most of those resolutions – the things we were so excited about changing, have ended the way they have every year before – unfinished, unchanged, forgotten, or simply pushed aside.
Resolutions in and of themselves are not bad. Nor is the desire for change. However, unfinished resolutions lead to feeling defeated. The problem is not the resolutions. It’s the way we go about it. We want to fix our health, and oh yeah, that means we need to eat better, which turns into we need to exercise, and then we need to buy new clothes to work out and food to fuel our bodies, which means we need to get our financial houses in order, which then turns to getting our physical houses clean and organized, and then we need to be the best parents possible, but then we have to be a good partner too because you can’t be a good parent without being a good partner. Whew. It’s exhausting just thinking about how quickly wanting to change one thing spirals into an extensive list.
For the past several years, I have not set a resolution. I have chosen a word to focus on for the year.
Just. One. Word.
It has been difficult. It has been challenging. It has fostered growth in areas that I did not expect. And it has been life changing. You see, by choosing just one word to focus on for an entire year, I can concentrate on just one thing. My one word touches every area of my life: relationships, finances, health, spirituality, creativity. Putting my attention into one word has made me more effective at engaging in life change.
I started this journey by reading “My One Word” by Mike Ashcroft. As I read, I had my pen and journal ready so I could answer the reflection questions and choose one word. Each year, after choosing my word, I found ways to keep it front and center. I created a sign for my desk at work, colored the word to hang in my office, wore my word as a bracelet, told my good friends about my word so they could keep me accountable, used my word in my daily quiet time. Anything I could think of to keep my word front and center, I did. Ashcroft states “What gets noticed and measured gets done. And what gets ignored, gets, well, ignored.”
Choosing one word to focus on has changed me in ways that my previous resolution making never did. I was able to focus – to notice – to measure just one thing throughout an entire year. I suspect that if you decide to focus on one word for the year, it will change you as well. This year; say no to making a long list of resolutions. Just choose One Word.