My favorite scrapbooker, Ali Edwards, has been leading a year-long workshop called One Little Word (OLW) for several years now. The premise of the project is to choose a word in January that will help guide you through the year, whether it's towards self-improvement or to encourage you through a year that might be difficult. From Ali's blog:
Having a single word to focus on each year has made a difference in my life.
In 2006 I began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January – a word that I can focus on, mediate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life. My words have included play, peace, vitality, nurture, story, light, up and open. These words have each become a part of my life in one way or another. They’ve been imbedded into who I am, and into who I’m becoming. They’ve been what I’ve needed (and didn’t know I needed). They’ve helped me to breathe deeper, to see clearer, and to grow.
What do you do with this one little word?
You live with it. You invite it into you life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.
Each January, when she blogs about her word, I think about choosing one too. And, in typical fashion, I don't follow-through and I muddle along for the rest of the year with no guiding principle to help me become a better Me.
2014 is going to be different, my friends. My plan is to find ways to hold myself accountable. So I signed up for the workshop, and I thought about my word and what I want my life in 2014 to be like (or not be like). A lot of the pain I bring upon myself comes from my inability to let things go. I dwell on the past. I focus on the negative. I worry. I know all of these things prevent me from enjoying the Now and just plain being happy.
I seriously considered choosing "Let It Go" as my word, but if I could change my personality and just let things go, I would've done it a long time ago. Fundamentally re-tweaking the way your mind works and how it deals with things is a process, a long one at that. I feel like choosing "Let It Go" as my OLW would've set me up for failure. I needed to start off with baby steps, and to take this life change one day at a time. In the end, although it's a bit counter-intuitive, I decided on a word that's not a verb: TODAY.
When I wake up in the morning I can ready myself to deal with one day. When I go to bed at night, I can rest assured that I either made a positive step toward my goal, or I can start over the next morning if I've had a bad day. TODAY is manageable. And that's what I need: realistic expectations based on my past actions, incremental change, and permission to mess up sometimes.
Let's see how this goes, shall we?