A New Year's Word

One of the things I love about Twitter is that it introduces me to websites and blogs that I would never find otherwise. It led me, for example, to a blog by writer Laura Lippman, who makes a one-word New Year's resolution each year. (Read Laura's blog post here.) Her only rule is that the word must be a verb in the imperative form, such as Change or Strive.

The idea appealed to me. I've always had issues with making goals, especially those corporate performance objective goals. Goals have to be concrete and measurable. But more often than not, the things I want to focus on are neither concrete or measurable. So I end up making goals that are only loosely related to what I want for myself...and then I don't meet the goals, because my heart's not really in them.

So, instead of creating a list of goals that I write and then forget about and eventually chastise myself for not meeting, why not identify a single word to guide me throughout the year? One word is so much easier to remember than a list. That word would be my motto, my mantra, my theme for the year. Because it is more of a guiding principle than a goal, the word would apply to not only the concrete, measurable things I do but also the intangible parts of myself that I want to nurture. It did not take me long to get on the one-word bandwagon.

The problem became, which word do I choose?

I thought about Change, but that didn't feel right. It seemed both too broad and too narrow. Change what, exactly? There are many things in my life that I don't want to change. I want them to keep moving in the same direction they started in 2011. So, I nixed Change as my word of the year.

I considered Relax, but that didn't feel right, either. It did, however, feel closer to what I want. I do want to relax more, not push myself so hard, not set such high expectations for myself,...

And that led me to Accept and Enjoy, the two finalists in my New Year's Word competition.

I like Accept because accepting myself is something I most definitely would like to work on. More often than not, I look at myself and see everything I don't like--whether it's really there or not. Choosing Accept as my 2012 word could help me see myself more realistically and more positively.

I like Enjoy for a similar reason. I tend to obsessively look forward or backward and forget to live in the present. I become so focused on what I want to have in the future that I fail to recognize what I already have right now, which is pretty darn good--if I may say so myself.

What it comes down to, when I practice saying Accept and Enjoy, is that I like the sound of the word Enjoy more. Simply saying it makes me feel happier. For that reason, my 2012 Word of the Year is: