Written by Malinda Just Tuesday, 17 January 2012 15:42
The New Year is no longer new. And the transition to 2012 was probably pretty uneventful for most.
Remnants of any celebrations have long-since been cleared. In fact, trash from one of the world’s largest New Year’s parties—Times Square in New York City—is cleared well before dawn, leaving one to wonder if up to 1 million people ever really rang in the New Year together.
Even if you vowed to somehow make 2012 different, for the majority, life continued in the manner of 2011. There’s work, school, family responsibilities and daily duties. Most of 2011 rolled right in to 2012 without much notice—even this pesky head cold of mine…good riddance!
By now, the freshness of New Year’s resolutions has probably worn off. Perhaps you are still gung-ho, but I’m guessing, for most, resolve has started to wane.
Don’t feel bad though. The last time I made a resolution, I failed miserably. All I set out to do was make my bed daily. I started off great, making my bed every morning. Soon, however, morning turned to late morning, late morning to afternoon, and finally, I figured it was almost time to crawl back in, so I just didn’t do it.
So resolutions go. It’s easy to make them, easy to start them, but not easy to keep them. Once you fail, it’s over.
But last year, my friend Dana heard about a new take on resolutions on the radio—it’s all in a word.
That’s right. One word.
The idea is to pick a word that you want to focus on for the year. It can be something you want to improve, something you want to increase, something you want to add. The possibilities are nearly endless.
“I can incorporate this one word into every aspect of life,” Dana said. “I'm not saying I will lose a bunch of weight or make huge life-changes, but by focusing on one word, I know I can change, even a little.”
The positive difference I can see compared to resolutions is that by choosing a word to focus on, you limit the pass/fail measure of a resolution. As soon as I missed one day of bed-making, I failed, but one failure to develop your word doesn’t mean your entire year will fail.
Take Dana for example. Last year, she chose to incorporate the word “joy” into her year.
She said: “It was hard. I felt like my joy was constantly being stolen from me and my home. But I felt successful, too, by the end of the year. My family and I went through several difficult challenges, and we came through them with our joy and faith intact and stronger than before.”
It seems to me we could all enjoy some success where self-improvement is concerned, rather than a bunch of self-guilt and disappointment.
This year, Dana is focusing on “play.” (I think this is a great word, by the way. I wish I would have thought of it!)
“My son started saying, ‘That's boring.’ It frustrated me,” Dana said. “So I want my kids to see that life can be fun and playful if you make an effort to make it that way. Even my housework can be playful.”
See what I mean? I bet you wish “play” was your word, too.
Another benefit from this process is internal improvement. After a year of focusing on your word, it likely will become more than a goal. It will become a natural part of life, rather than something forced.
“Choosing one word is just a baby step toward being a better person, who Christ has called me to be,” Dana said. “I don’t feel I’m biting off more than I can chew. And I know there will be challenges ahead, but I can stay focused on Christ and, for this year, find the play in every situation.”
I’ve decided to focus on a portion of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)—gentleness.
What word will define your new year?