One Little Word

I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t make them, haven’t for years. I’m great with setting intentions and making goals, but there’s something about the idea of vowing to make Big Life Changes just because it’s the beginning of a new year that smacks of desperation to me. If you truly want to make a change, you’re going to make it, regardless of what page the calendar is on.

I gave up the habit of making resolutions many years ago because I never saw them through, and I’m not a fan of setting myself up to fail! But I do love traditions and rituals, so I thought long and hard about what would work for me.

As the end of each year approaches, I think about where I’ve been, what I’ve done, who I’ve met along the way, and all the lessons I’ve learned. I think about where I want to go next and – more importantly – what energy I’d like to create/embrace/encourage in my life for the coming year.

Then I boil it down to a simple phrase or – even better – a single word.

That’s my word (or phrase) for the year; my personal mantra, if you will. I write it in my journal, on the whiteboards in my kitchen and my office, put it on the virtual sticky pad on my computer monitor. I get to live with it, work with it and explore it for an entire year, and it quite often takes me places I never expected to go.

I’ve spent years in the company of mindfulness, compassion, joy, acceptance with gratitude, playfulness, creative flow, focus and balance. I’ve been fearless and followed my bliss. Each of these taught me invaluable lessons about myself, my relationships and my work. They brought me here, to this place, the cusp of a brand new year.

2011 was a landmark year for me in many ways, and I’m ending it with my book out on submission. I’m hoping 2012 will see things move to the next level, whatever that may be, and I look forward to the new experiences and new writing projects the year will bring.

So what’s the word for 2012?

I considered going back to joy, because I want to be mindful of all the wonderful things in my life and not get caught up in projections and expectations, but that didn’t feel quite right. I wanted an action word for this year, something that implies movement and participation, not just an emotion (even if it is an incredibly delicious one). As I sat sipping coffee and staring at the Christmas tree early one morning last week, my eyes landed on the ornament up near the top – the silver scrolled word JOY – and it hit me.

Enjoy. [from the 14th century. < Old French enjoïr < Latin gaudere "rejoice"]
To like, love, revel in, relish, delight in, appreciate, adore, benefit from, be blessed with, take pleasure from, savor.

YES!! That’s exactly what I’m after! I don’t know what this next year holds (who does?) but I want to relish all the moments along the way, to appreciate each and every one of them as they happen, to truly benefit from all my blessings (because I’m staying vigilantly aware of them), to savor the company of those I love and take delight in my creative pursuits and the writing, which I adore.

Enjoy. It’s my word – and my plan – for 2012. What’s yours?


7 responses to “One Little Word

  1. Hmmm… One word. I like it when someone causes me to Pause to Reflect. It like my life to have purpose. The calendar pages fly away. In my life, more than half are gone. Of that I’m certain. I will not live to one hundred thirty, nor do I wish to. Consequently, each day holds more meaning, is more important than the last, far more so than when I was in my thirties. But one word? I like that. Never having done it before, I’ve written a word to remind me.


    Thank you, Lisa.

  2. Mine is — and will always be — a phrase not unlike your word — “Be happy.” It’s a mantra from a special teacher, and it reminds me that no matter what we do in life, what we have, who we are — we need to be happy, or life truly is meaningless.

    Great post, Lisa.


  3. My word for the coming year is progress. I’ve got a lot of different irons that I’ve just put into the fire this past year, so I want to make progress on my goals this coming year.

  4. Sell, sell, sell! That’s my word. According to the Myan’s 2012 might be the last chance–in this world. 😉


  5. Great words, guys! (Wally, yours made me laugh, but if I had to pick a second word, I might steal it!)

  6. Brava!

    You know me, I’m more flighty with my yearly stuff. I tend to shift goals/words/aspirations throughout the year. It’s easier for me to focus on a smaller chunk of time and then move on as success (or failure) dictates. 😀

    2012 feels like the homestretch for me. (and not because of the Mayans 😛 ) After years of clawing, scraping, fighting, I’m coming up on the finish line for two major life goals and everything about this is really exciting. (*grins* I’m even buying myself a doormat with a Finish Line on it.)


  7. Well, this is tough for me (and I, like Lisa, do exactly this every year) – only because the word I want to use is a noun and the verb form doesn’t have the same ring to it. I’m kind of living with it for a day or two and then I’ll commit to it – or something else.

    I’ve got a few quiet evenings between now and January 1 and I’m pretty sure I’ll come up with the perfect word.


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