In January of last year, Wisconsin got hit hard by a polar vortex. High temperatures were not coming out of the negative numbers, school was cancelled day after day, cars, busses, and most modes of transportation were struggling, and just the simple act of walking out of your house was painful and pure torture. If ever people experienced ‘cabin fever’, these were the days. Being stuck in the house, dreading the arrival of the mail truck was enough to render a person insane, or at least depressed. I remember one of the last of these days agreeing to go out to lunch with one of my friends and colleagues from school, Teresa, thinking, “I don’t care if I end up frozen to the seat of the car…I can’t stand to look at these four walls any longer!” Most of you who lived through last winter in the northern United States understand my sentiments…
Looking for inspiration during this time of deep, dark, bleak gloominess and boredom, I turned to the Internet. I was reading news articles and happened to stumble upon some about New Year’s resolutions. According to a study done last year by the University of Scranton, only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve what they set out to do. Some people make tremendous, overwhelming goals that require a devotion that can’t be sustained. Even more choose goals that simply aren’t achievable. For many others, after a few weeks of working at their goal, real life happens, and the goal is soon forgotten.
One of the articles I was reading led me to an interesting website with a different view on New Year’s resolutions. Instead of making a goal that you want to achieve during the year, pick one word. Yes, one word. Choose a word that you can focus on all throughout the year. This gives you the ability to truly change yourself, your practices, your habits, your life. Because that one word can be used in everything you do, not just with one goal.
So, I decided to give this a try, one word for 2014. I gave it some thought, and then let it go. I didn’t want to pick a word just to pick a word. I let the word pick me, and in the doom and gloom of the January polar vortex, it eventually came to me: STRENGTH. Little did I know that the weather at the dawn of 2014 was just the beginning of many moments throughout the year where I would be given the ability to build my STRENGTH.
And as I look back over and reflect upon the year that was 2014, this word has given me a gift. The gift to see myself through its eyes, to consider where I began and where I ended, to watch myself grow and get stronger, to admire the person I have become, and to appreciate those people and circumstances that have shaped me along the journey. I will forever be able to remember 2014 as my year of STRENGTH, and I can see the impact it has made. With me. In others. Throughout all aspects of my life. But most importantly, in the future and what is to come. Because even though 2014 was my year of STRENGTH, the person I have become will forever change everything from here on out.
So, I challenge you, my colleagues, PLN, students, friends, and family, to join me in choosing just one word for the year of 2015. Who will you become? How can you make a difference? What will your impact be? Do you believe? Visit oneword365.com for some ideas, or like me, let the word pick you. Then share it. Let others know. Because the support from those around you is what will make the word truly come to life and allow it to gain power. Imagine it, inspire others, influence your world.