Late in 2017, as the spirit of reflection was in the air, I encountered an online testimony about the power of picking ONE WORD as an alternative to making a New Year’s resolution. The concept was appealing because my resolutions typically drone on about health, relationships, wellness, and budgeting. While my efforts are generally consistent, I make the same dips and strides in a cyclical manner each year – increasingly disconnected from these resolutions as the year proceeds. So, I began searching for my word, pondering options during free mind moments, and making a list of every word I could think of that might propel my life to new heights.
Two weeks into the year, I was left with a running list, but not a single word that inspired change or growth. After submitting a request to take a leave of absence for the 2018-2019 school year, the urgency to claim my first annual focus word increased with my deliberately unpredictable planning.
On January 14th, while sitting quietly at the New Buffalo Fairfield Inn on an early Sunday morning, with very little additional pondering, a word that wasn’t even on my list swam to the top. OPEN! As in opening doors to new places…helping to open doors for others…having an open heart and mind to new experiences…and opening a window to new relationships.
After selecting my ONE WORD, I created this list of ways it would impact my life during 2018 and bought myself a My Intent reminder bracelet.
- OPEN the door to unexpected opportunities
- Be OPEN to input from others – even when it feels a bit uncomfortable
- Look for OPENings to new friendships
- Keep an OPEN mind and don’t settle for “I’m too old” to try something new
- OPEN my home to a tenant who will allow me resources to travel with ease
- Find ways to OPEN knowledge to students about life around the globe
- Try a bike trip during the summer on the OPEN road
- Try to OPEN my mouth with advice – only when it’s a last resort
- Be OPEN to criticism and use it as an opportunity for learning.
- Remember that the OPEN air is my friend
- OPEN my closets and jewelry box to give away anything that isn’t useful
- OPEN my eyes to unseen beauty all around
- OPEN books – just for fun! Lots of them!
- Find OPENings to communicate HOPE mission while leaving touchstones behind both at home and abroad
- OPEN my wallet – for needs more than wants – and only when aligned with my planned budget
- Be OPEN-handed when giving to others – in unique and interesting ways
- Have an OPEN heart to others who think differently than I do and be willing to learn from them
- Be OPEN-eyed and aware of potential risks – situational awareness is important too
- Pray – and allow God to OPEN parts of my heart that might be closed in fear or uncertainty
Throughout the year, when I struggled with a decision or found my mind wandering into unfocused spaces, I remembered my ONE WORD and pushed myself back on track. As the year closes, it’s time to reflect on this list. Since i feel that I am deeply in the middle of this journey, I’ve decided that OPEN will carry into August, 2019 when I return home.
As you enter the New Year and the season of goal-setting, what will your word be?