I've never been real big on resolutions, but I was at the gym yesterday afternoon and from the look of everyone's new running shoes, I might be the only one who isn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for self improvement and personal growth. I just attack it differently.
Over the last four years, my girlfriends and I have chosen a single word to represent our goals and intentions for the year. And then my friend, Karin, told me about the book. So, I'm not alone in this. Someone has already written a book all about the benefits of choosing a single word.
The idea is a simple one. You take time to reflect on the past year and the year ahead.
- What unexpected joys happened?
- What would you do differently?
- Describe the high's. low's, and the opportunities for growth...
- What would you like to leave behind?
- What would you like to do more of?
- Are any natural themes presenting themselves?
Is there a single word to describe the trajectory of your life? The logic is this: if you are focused on organizing your life under the banner of one word, your goals and priorities will align themselves naturally. And, added bonus, any exercise that has me sifting through words is my cup of tea...
Over the years, my process for choosing my yearly word has changed. I feel compelled to warn you that you need to consider this word very carefully. It's sort of like if you've ever prayed for patience and then found yourself waiting in an endless number of lines. Or asking for wisdom only to find that you are learning every single lesson the hard way. Trust me, it's a bummer.
So, for 2016, I choose the word delight.
The dictionary definition for delight: extreme joy or satisfaction, something that gives great pleasure, the power to grant joy. Synonyms include: feast, joy, manna, pleasure, triumph...
As I looked back over 2015, I found that I did all sorts of new things and wandered into work that really fits me in a great way. In August, I left my "day job" to teach English Composition at the College of Western Idaho. I started tutoring a woman from Japan. And I started selling my block printed tea towels and cards in local shops and on Amazon Handmade. I also got to go river rafting, rode a bike, hiked a lot...
I find that as infuriating as students can be, I love being in the classroom. I love calling college students to think, communicate, and interact with the larger world in a more articulate way. I love working one on one with people on practical skills like communication and language. My Japanese student didn't speak ANY English when I started with her in September. Can you imagine how isolating it would be to walk into Trader Joe's or Starbucks and not be able to communicate what you need? It is a joy to help her in that way.
As for my little prints, it has been such a surprise to watch the tiny doodles in my head find a place in strangers homes across the country. I want to keep doing more of that. I love making things and I'm working on ways to expand that part of my life and work this year.
I find it far more satisfying to choose a word that I want to more fully inhabit throughout the year, but this year, I also wanted to find a word that I would be able to give to the people around me. I love that one of the synonyms was manna. In the bible, manna was the sustaining food that not only kept the Isrealites from starving but they flourished there... they had exxactly what they needed for that day. The other one I like is feast. It implies a party. It implies a grand company of friends. I mean, is it still called a feast if you do it all alone?
Ok. Now it's your turn.
This is journal prompt #19: What is your word for the year? How will you live that out?
This year, I am committing to posting a new journal prompt every single Monday. It's already in my calendar and I hope you'll join me. And, if you subscribe to my blog updates, I will send you a free PDF of my 5 Favorite Journal Prompts to help you jumpstart your new year.
Happy New Year! We are just getting started!