Instead of New Year resolutions, I usher in the year by choosing my three words as guiding principles for the coming twelve months. This focus has grown into a meaningful tradition. Others, like Ali Edwards, focus on “one little word.” Wendi Kelly, of Life’s Little Inspirations, has chosen “vibrancy” (she is focusing on “healthy” and “serenity” as well).
Drink.More.Champagne (2010) Implementing this focus was fun! Little did I know, though, how inspiring my three words would be, reminding me to celebrate, appreciate, and support. Complimented by a friend who cited my example as inspiration, the sentiments associated celebration are infectious! The champagne has continued to flow, along with many blessings.
Only.What.Matters (2011) These words led to clarity and simplification, not only in what we did, but what we expected. I wanted to implement the principles of acting purposefully as well as choosing to minimize the impacts of persons and situations that didn’t serve us well. At the same time, I ceded a fair amount of control in exchange for trust in the Lord’s plan, which is revealed in accordance with His wishes, not mine. This focus was hewn from loss, but its gift had great reach.
Rich.Beyond.Measure (2012) Using Thoreau’s definition of wealth – the ability to fully experience life – my three words during the past year honored our redefinition of success in our value statement: simplicity and freedom in work and life. As I wrote then, ” ‘All’s right with the world’ is something that can’t be priced.” We have accumulated even more such wealth in 2012: our time continues to be our own, our business grows, we’ve traveled extensively in North America, and now we move to paradise on the island of Kauai as we begin the next leg of the journey.
What should the focus be for 2013? I queried whether anyone has decided, and I checked social media status updates, emails and blog posts from others for clues, New Year resolutions, or words of choice.
A friend from France vows to be the same but even more so in her résolutions de la nouvelle année (New Year resolutions): “plus gentille, plus casse bonbon, plus attentionnée, plus économe, plus râleuse, plus avec les gens que j’aime, plus chiante, plus à l’écoute, plus sur fb, plus d’invitation d’amis et famille, plus tout koi!”
Chris Brogan believes 2013 is a year for “bravery” – where you commit to the work that needs doing. Citing the fact that we often “get messed up by the simple fact of not knowing what to do next,” Chris, in his personal newsletter (sign up here and let him know who sent you), tells us to “walk away from where you failed and walk back towards success.” Finding the bridge (back) to success includes asking hard questions like what have you given up on or where do you still feel regret for choosing a safer path. If you do New Year resolutions, asking these questions would be a great start.
Shawn Parr, writing for Fast Company, gives us great New Year resolutions based on values, purpose, and taking “personal control of how you approach your own life.” Parr believes taking responsibility for your own attitude will produce “foundational principles” which guide decision-making for life and work.
Other friends responded that they resolve not to make resolutions. Even though perhaps somewhat tongue-in-cheek, this spoke to me as the ultimate in awareness. Resolutions are routinely broken within days and weeks. Aren’t guiding principles, like the ones Brogan and Parr describe, or those in my three words, more realistic? Can goals and objectives be governed in a more fluid way? I think so.
My words for 2013 presented themselves a few weeks ago. I’ve been reflecting while preparing for our big move to Hawaii. This is self-implemented change with huge ramifications. We’ll need to be adaptable and open (not so easy when you’re an older person, perhaps?). New surroundings and new habits will emerge. Our days will hopefully be similar enough to withstand the many differences, which could be overwhelming.
Simultaneously, I’ve been relishing everyone and everything in the life we will be leaving. Being fully present requires attention – not easy when there are so many details to distract. But my three words for 2013 will remind and set a standard for the adventures that lie ahead: