I hate New Year resolutions, those commitments that we make to ourselves to stop doing something we consider bad or to start doing something we consider hard. I hate the heavy righteousness around sticking to them and the feeling of failure that hits when I give up – usually in the dark days of mid January.
Something I love to do instead of a resolution is to pick one word that I will use as my focus for the year. I came across this idea from Gretchen Rubin’s blog post. Usually I do this in January and choose a word that will inspire me towards change, like a mantra to uplift and challenge me.
In the past I’ve chosen ‘open’ when I wanted to learn something new and studied for my coach certification, ‘bold’ when I worked on my self-confidence to expand my work into front of room training and ‘connection’ the year when I focussed on connecting with friends and family, really listening and started regularly meditating. Friends of mine have chosen ‘yes’, ‘happy’, ‘love’ – I’m sure you get the idea.
In January of this year, on the cusp of a big move abroad I opted out of my one word and buried myself in the logistics of clearing out, packing and filling in forms ahead of the move.
That’s why I’m choosing to write about this now, in May, at the start of spring.
I’m now living in Anchorage, Alaska where the snow has finally melted, the bears are waking up, the days are getting longer and the first yellow daffodil buds are just emerging.
Everyone’s talking about summer – getting outside – to fish, hunt, hike and explore. The energy of the city is excitement, poised for action and adventure.
My one word this year is ‘lighter’. This works for me on so many levels. Sometimes I get too serious and I want to live lighter, be more playful, laugh and have fun. I notice that when I do this life seems easier, I’m more creative, less defensive, I enjoy my friends, I feel freer and get more done.
Last week I was getting stressed about taking my US driving test – worrying about failing, looking stupid, making a mistake. I asked myself how could I lighten up around this? I told my husband how I was feeling and we made it into a game – we spent the weekend taking turns to do the online practice tests learning the signs and rules of the road and making up silly ways to make the answers memorable.
And, in a lighter frame of mind, I decided that the worst that can happen, is that I fail it, use it as a chance to learn more and just re-take it again a week later – no big deal.
Needless to say – I passed, we both did, and I now know what to do if there’s a moose in the road!
I love the sunshine and by 21 June in Anchorage, we’ll have nearly 24 hours of daylight so lots of time ahead to practice living ‘lighter’!
Have you tried this one word approach to focusing your year before, how did it help you? If not, what word would you choose?
Carol Conway CPCC
Coach & Collaborator