So for 2013 my word was FOCUS. I'd been focusing on one habit and one spiritual discipline at a time. I broke them each down into a month and really concentrated on reshaping parts of my life into better run areas.
It went well. I really felt like, while not perfecting things, each of the areas I wanted to improve really did. Which led me on a longer journey than usual for my 2014 word. When choosing my word for this year I kind of had a paradigm shift in thinking.
Usually I know what word I want around late October, early November. This time I knew what I wanted to happen from my word, but I couldn't settle on the word to describe it. And that's what led to my shift in thinking. You see, each year I know what I want to accomplish with my word, but it's more of a "to-do" or a "to-change" intention. Since I liked my progress with FOCUS, but wanted to kind of continue that in more honed way, I was looking for words that speak to that need.
I was originally thinking DO. One thing I learned this year while focusing is that when I don't succeed at it, it's mostly a matter of just doing it, not procrastinating, not avoiding. I was thinking of a word that would help me keep choosing action. Then I realized something. (cue beginning of paradigm shift) I was feeling a desire to accomplish but not a love for the action I was seeking. Maybe I didn't need to "do" more or "Do" better and create my tasks around this word. Maybe what I needed was to love what I'm doing. So I started thinking about LOVE for my word. The shift in thinking here was that I needed to focus more on the fulfillment persuing my word would bring, not necessarily the measurable improvement of checking things off my list. (Because I am so against always using something numerically measurable to gauge success) LOVE - as in loving what I was doing- sounded like a start, but never quite settled with me.
Cue paradigm shift #2. I couldn't figure out why love wasn't totally doing it for me. I mean, I could concentrate on loving what I was doing right? Then it hit me (and I don't remember the converstation I was having with my 4 year old when I hit me, but it was during one of those conversations), what I really wanted through my focusing was to improve my part of my family's life in a way that reflected my love for them and what I want for our lives. But what I wasn't doing was embracing those opportunities.
This aha moment led be to my word for this year- EMBRACE. What really filled my heart and made me latch on to this word when it finally popped into my head was the connection with mental images of the life I want within my world. And it really does piggy back onto FOCUS because it gives me the "why" behind all the things I've been focusing on. (I can't believe I skippied the why before! Basic tennent of goal setting!) For example, when I am avoiding being playful with my kids, I'm not embracing the short opportunities I have to create memories and connection with them, and I want that both for them and for me. When I'm avoiding housework I'm not embracing the opportunity to give myself the environment I want and bless my family with a relaxing environment. When I don't feel like working on my curriculum writing I am not embracing the chance to use a part of myself I love to use and to bless my life with extra money. When I'm not taking care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually because I feel like I have too much other stuff to do, I'm not embracing me, and I'm worth embracing!
When I think of embracing I think of a tight cuddly hug. That's what I want to do with these things and many others. I don't want to just do them, I want to love them because I love my reasons for them. I want to hold them tight. I want to embrace the opportunities I have now to create a more fulfilling future both now and later. I needed a paradigm shift to focus on the root that leads to progression in both my life and the lives of those around me.
So EMBRACE- embracing life, health, family, the daily opportunities to create love and success and enjoyment. I'm pretty sure when Ali Edwards came up with One Little Word idea, she had in mind a guiding priciple, not a goal word. I could see that when reading her posts but not really see that I was using the goal thing. EMBRACE is more of a guiding reminder to not look at doing what I want as a task to finish or reach, but it's a reminder in the back of my head that there is a reason for this action, and I want to hang on to that reason. It is valuable. It's only taken me 4 years to really catch on to the purpose. :)
So for those of you that have been with me a while, you know I don't really scrap my word. I kind of journal it. I've already set up my sketchbook this year for my lists, notes, feelings, mind dumps, sketches, charts, etc... The opening page has the word EMBRACE and and few of the things I want to embrace written into the background swirlies. I am EMBRACING the ongoing possibilities and leaving room to add more later.
This year I'm focusing less on the preplanned parts of this word and more on the chance to see something new everyday to embrace. Here a the words I have down so far:
opportunity to work on Teachers Pay Teachers
prayer and power
That's it for now. Like I said, I plan to add to it and to use the whole book this year as more of a daily journal than a planner/reflector.
How about you? Are you choosing a word this year? I'd love for you to share it in the comments!