The start of another year

2014 Yardstick

On this first day of the new year, it is again time to think about goals for the next 365 days.

Resolutions? The classics (lose __ pounds/exercise more/eat better, work smarter not harder, save more money, volunteer) have their appeal, but I know myself well enough to realize, that without some overarching framework, I will lose interest in most of these well before the end of January.

Enter “word of the year.” Popularized by Ali Edwards’ online course, the personal word of the year is rapidly becoming a 21st century alternative to New Year’s resolutions. Ali’s year-long course provides a couple of prompts each month, allowing participants to tailor the content to (his or) her needs. I signed up for Ali’s course in 2011, but typical for me, I didn’t keep up with the schedule through the entire year.

Disappointed by my 2011 performance, I deliberately avoided participating in any kind of word of the year activities in 2012 and 2013. But as 2014 dawns (and someone please tell me how we can possibly be 13+ years into this new century!), I am once again drawn to the idea of a “word of the year.”

For 2014, I hope to use my word of the year as a filter of sorts for what I do during the year. Past experience informs my decision not to participate in organized word of the year activities because I know I won’t/can’t keep up with those prompts. Instead, I plan to apply my word of the year to the everyday decisions I make, in the context of whether this option (or its opposite) is the best for me. I doubt I will make the optimum decision every day (and, honestly, most days I probably won’t) but I can promise that my word of the day will be a factor in each choice I make.

So, what IS my 2014 word of the year? (drumroll, please…). I’ve decided on…

thrive (v) – to grow vigorously: flourish; to gain in wealth or possessions: prosper; to progress toward or realize a goal: succeed.

Of these definitions, I am most drawn to the first, the idea of growing vigorously and well, of flourishing at the creative ventures I consider most important. The second definition, to gain in wealth or possessions, has little appeal because I already have more in worldly possessions than I need or deserve. The third definition, to progress toward or realize a goal, is more reasonable, but I haven’t yet decided on the goal, so that will remain an open question, at least for the time being.

It’s a long year ahead, and it remains to be seen what will become of me and my word of the year. I expect a false start or two and missteps and interruptions along the way but, by the end of the year, I do hope I can attribute some level of personal growth and accomplishment to the study of this word in its various meanings. I hope it will be, simultaneously, a challenge, an inspiration, and, ultimately, a yardstick.

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5 thoughts on “The start of another year

  1. I plan to follow along and watch you thrive – it is always such a pleasure to come here. Your words, images and sharing are continually inspiring. I adore this image – its subtle reflection especially – and the way you have used it to illustrate your “word-of-the-year” post. Here is wishing that you do indeed thrive in 2014. (And yes – I am completely flummoxed that we are 13 years into the new century)

  2. I love your picture and Thrive is a great word. I think I am going with ‘Finish or Complete’ as in ‘finish the project, keep it out of the box of UFO”S or PHD’s’ and maybe even finish some of the projects in the box! I got on great with Learn in 2013.

  3. Love your word and your approach. I always choose a word but have never signed up for any courses – I like to see how my word evolves organically. Plus, anything with any kind of pressure to perform is always going to fall by the wayside pretty early on for me! Looking forward to seeing how your word plays out this year. Happy new year. 🙂

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