Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Resolutions and One Words
I'm a fan of Gretchen Rubin. Her book The Happiness Project encouraged and motivated me in a healthy way, not an exhausting, longer-to-do-list way. It's about enhancing the life you already have and embracing who you truly are. In the book, she makes some uncommon personality distinctions that have helped me understand myself and others better. With the new year, this one has been on my mind a lot: Are you a moderator or an abstainer?
I'm a born moderator who's always felt alone in a world of abstainers. Until I read about this concept, I thought I was weird or weak for having a strong aversion to extremes. Telling me I can never, or must always, have or do something sends me into a panic. To use the most obvious example, a radical, food-group-eliminating diet would be a nightmare for me. When I needed to lose some weight about six years ago, I did it by simply tracking food and exercise on Sparkpeople. I had a calorie limit each day, but that was my only restriction. Technically, if I felt like it, I could eat half a cake and be done for the day. I never did that, but I needed that open window in order to succeed. Classic moderator. I'm not one to give anything up cold turkey – I can cut back, adjust, do what I need to do. But day-to-day self-discipline lacks the impact of a sweeping declaration never to touch a cookie again. In any case, I don't believe one way is better or worse than the other – the problem comes when we try to make it so, and remake others in our image (as Rubin observes in the linked post).
Anyway, New Year's resolutions make me a little antsy. Partly due to my moderator nature, I'm goal-oriented all the time and really don't need more pressure to grow, achieve, or improve myself. (Seriously, it's a problem.) I already tend to run in too many directions and not make much headway in any of them. So I was allured by the idea of OneWord365, spearheaded by one of my favorite bloggers, Alece at Grit and Glory. If you read any personal blogs, you've probably heard of OneWord365. The idea is to pick one word as a sort of spiritual lighthouse for your year – a focus for your thoughts and prayers and goals. People rave about how God has changed them and worked in their lives through their One Words. I'd like a piece of that. But I didn't start thinking about a word until Christmas, and none of my ideas have been accompanied by fireworks and neon signs. Plus, it feels a little bit like telling God what He's going to do in my life this year, and that makes me skittish. You can never declare with confidence what God has planned for you. That lesson has been painfully engraved into my cells.
Still. As I've continued to think about it, a word has emerged. It's not perfect, and I don't quite know yet how to apply it to my life. But it's something I desperately need, so here it is:
Focus. My One Word for 2013. You heard it here first.