Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Words

...as opposed to resolutions. I'm sure I must have been a teenager when I figured out that most New Year's resolutions were little more than whims of a moment. Wishful thinking. Statements that began with "This year, I'd really like to..." and ended right there, with little more thought to them, let alone any action taken, or a few weeks of success at best before old habits kicked in again. Although I love the sense of starting over that accompanies January 1, the day after Labor Day, and sometimes birthdays, I find that most resolutions -- real resolves to do something, or change something -- are not primarily motivated by the calendar.

Recently, I've seen people settle on *words* to keep in mind for the coming year. Single words like Focus, Patience, Joy, Simplify, Begin, Finish, Persevere, Faith, and even No (for those who need to practice pursuing their own calling instead of constantly letting themselves be talked into staffing someone else's) have been chosen as watchwords for a year. Although I've been just as remiss in choosing a word for an entire year as I have been in making resolutions (and neither neglect bothers me a whit), I am interested in the idea of words for seasons of life, words that sum up where we are right now and where we need to go.

Have you chosen watchwords or bywords for yourself in recent years (or felt chosen by a word, almost the way a writer is sometimes chosen by the story)? Do you have a word for 2015?

Happy New Year!

20 comments:

Dawn Malone said...

Happy New Year, Marcia! I have been trying to come up with a word for days, ever since I saw the 'one word' challenge to define 2015. I think it would have to be 'opportunity' because of the personal and professional milestones that lie ahead this year.

Faith E. Hough said...

I'm not a resolver either--more of a hopes and goals person, though the beginnings of Advent and Lent tend to be when I set goals, rather than the new year. But I did decide to create a theme for myself this year, something to remember when my goals aren't going as planned: "Consider the Lilies." I always try to control everything, and it's good for me to remember that God makes things beautiful when we sit back and give Him a chance!

Marcia said...

Dawn -- Opportunity is a great word for the new year. I have a feeling I'll love all the words shared here.

Faith -- That brings the song to mind, "Consider the Lilies." Do you know it? I have to rehearse that scripture in my mind every now and then, too, as I had fallen into a bit of a worry-pit over the last year.

Kelly Hashway said...

Patience and perseverance would be great words for me this year.

Melissa Sarno said...

Happy new year Marcia and thank you for stopping by my blog. It's lovely to 'meet' you here. : ) I haven't chosen a word but I've thought a little about it and, for some reason, the word 'acceptance' has been coming to mind. I don't know what I'll do with it but it's something I feel I have to remember.

Vijaya said...

Marcia, love this post. *words* do call me. Last year it was Patience, the year before Fiat. This year ... Clarity is what's calling me. I have to ponder this of course, what it means and why.

Medeia Sharif said...

"Ambition" is a word I focus on. I have some goals in mind and I've been trying to stretch myself for the past year. I did well last year and hope to do more this year.

Happy New Year.

Mirka Breen said...

If I am to pick a word I would like to echo my days, it would be THANKS. Inhabiting a state of gratitude is a good place to start.

Marcia said...

Kelly -- That duo is always good, isn't it?

Melissa -- Thanks for coming! Good word. It speaks of openness.

Vijaya -- Clarity is one of the words I love just for itself. I need to add it to my list of favorites. :)

Medeia -- "Ambition" is a word I heard a lot as a child. My dad used to say of one person or another, "He doesn't have much ambition." :D I learned to see the word in a positive sense.

Mirka -- I truly believe the key to happiness is being thankful!

DMS said...

I have been seeing this idea around a lot this year. I do like the idea of picking a word to focus on this year. I am giving this some thought, but right now I am thinking about kindness. So many great words out there!

Wishing you a Happy New Year!
~Jess

Leandra Wallace said...

I really like this! A word for the year. I must think about this a bit! =) Though Kelly's perseverance would also be a good pick.

Toni Evans said...

My word needs to be the opposite of comparison. I have failed to remember lately that comparison is the thief of joy. It steals precious time. I just googled it and found a blog that says 'Contentment is the opposite of Comparison' but I think my word will be 'Individuality' which is celebrating the differences.

cleemckenzie said...

Each year a group of local writers gathers to drink some champagne, nibble on chocolate and talk about writing. That all seems to go together. Each year we write down the word we want to guide us through 365 days. It's interesting. I think my record (you remember what those are, right) has a groove in it. I keep choosing the same word.

Marcia said...

DMS -- Happy New Year, Jess! Kindness is a perfect word.

Leandra -- For us as writers, I think perseverance ranks at the top of the list a lot.

Toni -- Very thoughtful process! As I was reading your comment, my mind went to some form of the word "individual" as well.

Lee -- Yup, I well remember records. But you didn't tell us your word! Guess I'll have to go look it up. :)

Barbara Etlin said...

The only time I did this, my word was "Soar" which suits my owl-like sensibilities.

I think this year I'll choose "Soar" plus a secret word from my novel that will remind me of my priorities. :-)

Happy New Year, Marcia!

Crystal Collier said...

Actually, I'm a goal-setter. It doesn't even have to be the beginning of the year for me to set new goals. I'm with you in that I don't believe in resolutions. I believe in goals. The word guideline is not a bad way to go though.

LD Masterson said...

I saw a "one word" goal challenge as well and chose "better". This year I'm going to try to be a better wife/mother/grandmother/sister/friend/Christian/writer/person...a better me.

Marcia said...

Barbara -- Happy New Year! Yes, sometimes there's a word that has to go with us for the whole journey, year after year.

Crystal -- I just heard someone else say that recently: goals, not resolutions. I do think goals work better.

LD -- Wonderful goal. :)

Janet Johnson said...

It's so true! I do like that we strive to make resolutions, but I really prefer to set goals that mean something to me and I'm driven to fulfill . . . not just because it's a new year or whatever, but because it's something I want to accomplish.

I have set some writing goals, and when pushed, I would use the word focus. Though I'm finding I have more of a catch phrase that keeps me going at the moment: Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

This is my reminder to myself that I'm not a failure if I don't go as fast as I want or write as much at a time as I want. Even 1 page is a success. I just need to be moving forward.

Marcia said...

Janet -- Yes, to be moving forward and to keep moving brings results. Starting out fast and quitting certainly doesn't!