Some time in late 2018, my women’s small group featured a lesson about selecting a single word to help you grow. Using a single word as a target isn’t really a new concept; the lesson one of the elder members gave was based on information she’d gathered from a book called My One Word. The idea is pretty simple. You gather up your ideas of everything you want to do with your year and then select a word that best represents your goals–a single, simple reminder of everything you’re working toward.
For 2019, my word was joy. In all honesty, I felt a little bad about choosing it, but it was the best word to encapsulate what I wanted to find. After several difficult years, finding a pure, simple happiness seemed like the most important thing I could do. For King and Country’s song Joy often came up on Pandora, and I thought of it as a regular reminder of what I was aiming for. And the song was an important reminder in multiple ways. The line I choose joy is constantly repeated, a bold statement that made it clear that often, happiness is a conscious decision.
I tried to make a lot of decisions based on what would help create enduring happiness in my life. The hardest part of that ended up being learning not to be swayed from what I felt was best for me. When you’re used to trying to please (or appease) people, saying no can be difficult. But I started early in the year, sometimes with big things, like declining to make a large commitment of time to someone else’s projects… and sometimes little things, like painting my bedroom navy blue even though everyone I shared the plan with said it was a horrible idea. A year later, I absolutely love my dark blue bedroom. And slowly, joy did come.
For 2020, my word was easier to choose. No more than a second after I thought of what I might select as a target, it came to mind. Focus. On the small things. On my family. On my health. My career.
This one’s been harder. It’s tough to decide which aspects of my life need focus–and which deserve it, because they aren’t always the same. But as the year proceeds, I’ve been working on narrowing my focus in everything, from the things I keep on my to-do list, to what projects I aim for with my doll collection, to what stories I’m writing on, to what I’m reading. There isn’t time for anything that doesn’t fit the narrow focus, and slowly, things that don’t push me toward my ultimate goals in life begin to fall away. The hope–and goal–is that by the time 2021 rolls around, I’ll have freed up a lot of time and gained a better, stronger discipline to keep me on a path I’ve clearly envisioned for myself.
Will it work? Eh. Guess we’ll find out.
Can you encapsulate your year’s goals in a word? I’d love to hear your choices.