Instead of making new year resolutions, I’ve adopted the practice of dedicating the entire year to a single word. The idea is that the word becomes your personal theme, motto, or intention for everything you do throughout the new year.
In previous years, my words have included gratitude, simplicity, and light. Each year, I get a little better at letting my word guide me through twelve months that usually show up with their own agenda.
I had narrowed down my word for 2017 to about a half a dozen. All of my choices embodied a sense of peace, but I was having difficulty nailing it down to one perfect word. I kept coming back to the word stillness, but it seemed a bit unambitious and self-indulgent to a person who has spent decades glorifying busy.
I was browsing the bookstore a few days ago when a tiny book caught my eye. It was titled The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer. I casually read the back cover,
“At some point, all the horizontal trips in the world stop compensating for the need to go deep, into somewhere challenging and unexpected; movement makes most sense when grounded in stillness. In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing could feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.”
Tears filled my eyes (a sure sign I’d found my word), and I silently dedicated 2017 to stillness.
Now, I’m extremely grateful if you simply read the rest of this post, but to really get the most out of it, consider it a mini-workshop that requires your full participation!
CHOOSING YOUR WORD~ It needs to be a word you feel deep in your soul, a word that holds so much magic you could wave it over every single area of your life to transform how you eat, sleep, think, speak, act, work, play, pray, dress, nest, and relate.
What do you yearn for? How do you want to feel? What makes you happy? What do you want more of? How do you want to live? You might want to get out a dictionary, Google it, or do a Pinterest search.
Here are a few words that might tickle your fancy ~ balance, harmony, serenity, fun, bliss, organization, joy, lightheartedness, happiness, focus, health, compassion, strength, forgiveness, abundance, grace, energy, ease, confidence, calm, love.
Hint: Choose a word that you want, not that you think others would want you to want!
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR WORD BETTER~ Once you’ve decided on your word, thoroughly explore it. Take an hour or so to really make the word yours. Put it in writing. Use your computer, journal, piece of paper, or poster board and place it somewhere you’ll often see.
*Define the word and list synonyms.
*Find some great quotes that have your word in it.
*Cut out pictures or draw symbols that represents your word.
*If it helps, find passages of scripture with your word.
*Find a song or poem with your word.
*List daily practices that will help bring your word to fruition.
Extra Credit: (Sorry, 28 years as a middle school teacher!) Put the word on your computer desktop. Make it your phone wallpaper. Create a Pinterest page. Stick post-it notes with your word everywhere you look. Get a tattoo, or if you’re more like me, write it on your hand now and then!
APPLYING YOUR WORD TO YOUR LIFE~ Journal, or just contemplate, how your word will apply to different areas of your life this year. How will your word affect how you interact with others? What you do with your leisure time? How you spend your money? How you approach your work? Your eating, drinking, and sleeping habits? How you face conflict? Your spiritual life? How you feather your nest? How you care for others? Your reaction to stress? The clothes you wear? Your love life? The books you read? The thoughts you think? The dreams you dream?
Keep your word close to your heart this year. Use it as a touchstone to return to when you begin to feel the world tugging you away from your intention and true self. Let your word help guide you to make this year your best yet!
Whether or not you are playing along with this idea, making resolutions, or nursing a hangover today, we wish you a happy new year filled with all of the lovely things your heart desires and the courage to face the things you’d never wish for, but from which you will grow stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.
If you do join us in dedicating 2017 to your own special word, please consider sharing it with us on the Lessons In Loveliness website or Facebook page!
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” ~ T.S. Elliot
Think On These Things ~ Alicia