I am not one for New Year’s resolutions. Never have been. Oh sure — I’ve set plenty of resolutions, right along with the rest of the world. Most resolutions focus on the giving up of something: quitting smoking, losing weight, eliminating alcohol. Few resolutions incorporate an actual plan (they are typically of the cold-turkey mentality), which is why most lie unfulfilled and forgotten long before February rears its head. I do, however, love the thought of a clean slate and a new year filled with infinite possibilities. I like the act of reflecting back on what worked, what didn’t, and what changes can be made in the future. I like evolving. Growing. Stretching. I like setting goals. I like measurement and accountability.
A few years ago, I started my own little tradition of picking one word that would define what I wanted my life to be like in the coming year. I was first introduced to the concept by Ali Edwards, who started this as a scrapbooking challenge to her followers.
The first year I embraced this tradition, I was struggling to survive on a daily basis in a job that I loathed. I was looking for a way out — hoping for a sign. My word that year was BUOYANT. I felt like, at that point in my life, I kept getting my legs swept out from under me. I was shoveling shit against the tide. I had a family and a career, but I certainly didn’t have it all. And, I believed that if I could just stay afloat, to rise above, then everything would be okay and I would find the inspiration I needed to move my life in another direction. Miraculously, I held onto the life raft that year. Despite many tears, despite many setbacks, and despite feeling like a shadow of myself — I stayed afloat. I survived. I remained buoyant.
The following year, I picked the word COURAGE. I was like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. I was just looking for the courage to take some chances. To be bold. To be brave. To live life out loud and do something memorable. Something that would nourish my soul. Something that the un-cowardly Jenn would have done before I was stripped of my confidence and naked in my vulnerability. I quit my job that year. I pulled a Sugarland, decided there had to be Something More, and gave the boss (wo)man my two weeks. It was the best thing I ever could have done for myself! Courage. It didn’t roar, per se. But, it was like a low, constant guttural growl at the back of my throat.
The year after that, I picked the word BE. A simpler, gentler word. I was just giving myself permission to live in the moment. To enjoy all of life’s little miracles. To breathe. To find myself again. To work when I wanted and take time off when I didn’t. And, that is kind of what happened that year. I recovered from my largely unsatisfying 13-year stint in Corporate America, where I allowed myself to lose part of my soul. I spent lots of time with my children that year. I dreamed. I discovered. I took pause. I wrote. I scrapbooked. I reflected. I got back on track and back in touch with myself. I got back to the business of being me.
Last year, I took the word a step further at the recommendation of Jack Canfield and Darren Hardy — both of whom have become incredible sources of inspiration on my professional and personal journey. When I was reflecting on my word, I wanted to pick something that would transcend all of the areas of my life. What word could I live and breathe every single day? Whether it be personal, professional, familial, spiritual — what word would carry the impact that I needed? In the infancy of 2011, I picked the word DISCIPLINE. I wanted to get to the next step. Take it to the next level. And, my word served me well last year. I made some strides in my Nu Skin business. I launched a new initiative, called Self Esteem Through Art. I took my first online class in self-discovery, which was extremely eye-opening and enlightening. My husband and I both got healthier and shed a combined 80 pounds in excess weight. 2011 was a good year. A year of realizations, transitions, and transformations. 2011 was the perfect segue to 2012…
Still largely committed to personal growth, I completed an exercise early in January as a way to reflect on 2011 and plan for 2012. Susannah Conway shared this free exercise on her blog and I jumped in with both feet, a couple beers, and a few funky pens. I really have no idea who started the One Word craze, but now everyone is talking about it and each of them do it in their own special way.
And here I sit, 23 days into the month of January, finally feeling ready to unveil my 2012 word. Feeling as if I have deliberated enough and am finally ready to commit. Feeling confident enough to share and publicly announce my word, thereby owning it and becoming accountable. I’ve noticed a definite pattern of growth in my words. I started out just trying to survive, then I needed to summon some strength and some faith, then I needed to regroup, then I needed to buckle down and really put the pedal to the medal. And now, I am feeling ready to emerge. I think I have completed most of my transformation and it is time to transcend and live beyond expectations. It is time to serve the masses in a variety of capacities. It is time to bring my unique gifts and passions to the world. It is time to help others realize their worth, tap into their own gifts, and spread joy in as many avenues as I possibly can. It is time to make a profound IMPACT. IMPACT is my word for 2012. The majority of the other years have been focused on me, which they absolutely needed to be. I needed to work harder on myself than on anything else at those given moments in time. I was (and still am) a complete and total work in progress. But, this year is a pivotal turning point because it is a year that will be largely focused on serving others. And, in doing so, I am completely confident that this will be my best year yet….
You’re going to be seeing a LOT more of me in 2012. I hope you are ready…