I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I tend to self-sabotage. I make a resolution and then I instantly look for ways to break it. On the first day I make excuses- I have to eat ALL the cookies so there aren’t any left to tempt me. I can’t journal tonight, I’m just SO TIRED. This year I heard a new idea- instead of choosing a resolution, you choose a word that will guide you throughout the year. This word can be posted around your house or work (or both) to be a reminder as you move through your day of the commitment you’re making to better yourself. My husband and I decided to go this route this year and, listen, it’s only January 3, but I’m loving it so far.
To find my word I made a list of the words that came to mind when I thought about what I wanted out of life. I thought about balance, of course, because that’s always something we strive for as women. I also thought about simplicity, organic (and not necessarily food), and then came back to the first word I wrote down which was “intentional”. As I thought about each area of my life that I wanted to put more effort into- food, health, family, friends, I kept coming back to moving through life with intent. I wanted to push aside this idea that I do the things I do or foster relationships that don’t need my time out of habit or a feeling of obligation. Instead I wanted to focus on why.
Am I being intentional with my time? Am I being intentional with my words? Am I being intentional with my actions? Or am I making rash decisions in the moment that don’t have any intent behind them? Am I just going through the motions of my life without a purpose. And that’s what it comes down to. The purpose. And that’s where my husband’s word comes in.
When I told Charlie about this idea to come up with a word we were in the car and he thought for about a minute and said his word would be “permanence”. He explained that the words you say and the actions you take, while fleeting, leave behind a permanent mark. You say something in the moment and you can’t take it back. You make an action now fueled by emotion that you can’t undo. Your words and your actions have a permanence. And this goes hand in hand with this idea of being intentional. If we’re intentional about our words and our actions, we can affect what sticks. We can’t change the fact that permanence is a thing. We can’t make that go away. We can’t say react to a situation in a way that isn’t our first choice and say, “Wait, wait!” while we chase after the person. “I didn’t mean it that way, let me try that again.” It’s gone. That moment is gone. And we can try with all our might to say the right thing next time, but those words are there, permanently. Those actions are there, permanently. We can hope to cover them up with kinder words and more gentle actions, but if we don’t move through life with intent, we won’t take that pause to consider whether or not our actions will have a positive or a negative permanence.
I know, I know, easier said than done. When our son was standing IN the dog food bowl for the 10000000th time it was hard to take that second to think about my intent and the permanence of my choices. But the point of the word is that it guides you- it doesn’t consume you. It is a reminder- not a hard and fast rule. It’s a guidepost as you go through your normal life. And hopefully it allows you to see some areas of change in your life. Hopefully, it lets you think about where you can step back and make different choices.
So what would your word be? When you examine your life, what word comes to mind that you want more of in your life? Share it with us and then post it all around your house so you’re reminded of it as you go through the motions.