#oneword2012

English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

I’m not anti-New-Year’s-resolutions. I just don’t do them. For as long as I can remember, I’ve set goals for each calendar year and tracked my progress along the way. Things are no different this year.

For 2012, I identified 7 categories that are important to me and established 3 to 7 goals for each category. I know that I’ll be stretched as I try to attain my goals for the year. That’s usually what I have in mind when I go through my goal-setting exercise – things that take me out of my comfort zone, things that will make me a better person, things that will stimulate me.

As I was refining my goals, I learned about a new concept through a women’s leadership group on Facebook. The idea is that you pick one word and you use that word to guide you during the year. In her 2007 post, Christine Kane called it a Resolution Revolution. The WLI group’s #oneword2012 was gathered and turned into a Wordle.

My #oneword2012? Risk.

It’s a word that I’ve had in mind for many years because I’ve felt that as I’ve become older, I’ve become more cautious and content. It’s a word that I think of – along with “fearless” – whenever I watch young children learn new sports. Or 20-somethings who hop from job to job because they’re looking for something that their current job doesn’t give them. Or 40-somethings who leave a stable, satisfying job to pursue a lifelong passion. Somewhere between childhood and middle age we lose our appetite for risk. The risks we take become more cautious, more calculated, less…well, less risky.

So I chose “risk” for my #oneword2012 to remind me that the safe choice is not always the satisfying choice, that the pragmatic option is not always the passion-fulfilling option, that the expected decision is not necessarily the exceptional decision. As John A. Shedd wrote in 1928, “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” I hope that my #oneword2012 is a constant reminder throughout the year to push and stretch myself and to move out of my comfort zone.

What’s your #oneword2012?

And the thought processor churns on . . .

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Learning How to Let Go

Do you have a highlight reel that plays in your head from time to time? Or one that you can call up when you’re feeling a little blue? Does your highlight reel just start playing sometimes when you least expect it? Or when you are just zoning out?

I have a highlight reel but my highlight reel doesn’t get as much playing time as my “lowlight” reel. My “lowlight” reel consists of clips of all the times I’ve embarrassed myself, all the times when I didn’t act as professionally as I should have, all the times that I’ve lost my cool when there really was no need to – all of my human moments.

Often, my lowlight reel starts playing without any warning. Out of the blue, a memory will pop into my head of an incident from 10 or 15 years ago. I’ll be driving along on my way to work and the memory of  an awkward incident will come up. Or I’ll be walking around in a store and the memory of a time when I was tongue-tied will flash across my mind.

I don’t know what causes this spontaneous playing of my lowlight reel. But a couple of years ago, I started using a mantra whenever those memories enter my mind unbidden. Let it go. I usually say it out loud but if I’m in public, I’ll say it in my head. Let it go.

It’s taken a lot of practice but usually when I say it, the memory blinks out. It doesn’t stop the memory from coming back but it is nice that I can banish it with three little words – Let it go.

I’ve started using my mantra for more than just banishing unwanted memories. Whenever I’m feeling uncharitable about someone or something – let it go. Whenever I’m feeling angry about a situation that I have no control over – let it go. Whenever something didn’t turn out as it should have, as I planned it to – let it go.

The thought processor churns on!