The Power of a Word

January 2, 2018
Power of a Word - Aartrijk

By Ellen Wallace

“Resolutions are popular because everyone feels they could use a little improvement.”
— The adorable Marilu Henner

About five years ago, my oldest daughter finally, sweetly, yet firmly snapped at my constant conversation about “my New Year’s resolutions.”  I had the usual ones: Lose weight. Volunteer more. Steal an expensive car and not get caught. (Only kidding, I had just watched The Fast and the Furious.)  She pointed out multiple articles on how resolutions were destined to fail and that they can actually reinforce negative feelings.

She may have said something about the same behavior over and over again being a sign of insanity. I do so love my kids.

She then mentioned a positive article she had read about choosing a word as a New Year’s goal. One word. Hmmm .

Funny when you think about it. How do you chose a trite word like “skinny” or “rich”? I’m not that vain. There have to be better life goals? How can one simple word change my outlook for the New Year? I will tell you how…

Choosing a word actually changed my perspective on how I really wanted to better myself.

The first year I chose “assertiveness” because I sometimes let things roll off my back without pointing out that I feel tread upon. I put a post-it note on my computer, and that was enough to remind me to let people know how I feel. It worked! I didn’t run around, pointing out every slight (I am a mother afterall; that would be a constant battle that I would inevitably lose), but I did become a little more vocal and life felt even better. Guess what?  I’m still doing it!

Another year I chose “listen.”  I may sometimes start thinking of what I want to say next without listening to the conversation going on around me. It’s a bad habit that I really wanted to break and guess what?  I am a better listener … most of the time.

The annual “Choosing of the Word” has now become a favorite family event. On December 25 we remind each other to start thinking about our word. We then open the note in our phones where we kept last year’s word and talk about how it worked throughout the year. That conversation alone can take up most of our Christmas dinner.

So my advice to you, my friend, is pick a word that you want to strive for — something that you can think about, roll around in your head and feel good about when you make it part of your life. It shouldn’t cause you stress but encourage you toward something a little better.

This year I’m trying to figure out the word for “early riser.” I might be overreaching with that one, but the nice thing about it is, even if I improve a little I have succeeded.

What word will you choose to ring in 2018?  Let me know!

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