I hate New Year’s resolutions. I really do.
I don’t like setting myself up for failure, and I can’t think of a New Year’s resolution I’ve ever kept for the whole month, much less a whole year.
But my friend, Lee Scharf, inspired me recently when she reminded me there is power in intention. And so, with both sincere intention and high hopes, I’m embracing the popular practice of choosing three words to guide my year:
Light, Health, and Grace.
And just to break the rules before I even start, I’ve thrown in a fourth word, just because I can: Write.
I want to always seek the light and be the light. Light is love. Light is a beacon. Light is a powerful antidote to the world’s darkness.
This word can guide me in all the major choices I make this year if I simply take the time to ask myself, “Does this choice lead to more light or less light?” Or using the word in a different way, “Does this choice make me feel lighter or heavier?”
When the world’s problems—or even my own—seem overwhelming and smother me with darkness I feel helpless to change, I am comforted to remember how much difference a single candle’s light can make in a dark room. I’ve written about this before. It’s an image that moves me deeply.
Health is on my mind especially this year as I turn 70 in a few months. I come from a line of long-lived parents and grandparents, so I have every reason to think I might live a good while yet. But to do that—and to have the energy to keep up with my two little grandsons—I have to take care of myself and pay attention to my health right now.
For my physical health, the word means moving more, drinking more water, making better food choices, and eating closer to the food’s source, with minimal preservatives and additives. I have subscribed to the NOOM app and am finding it a terrific investment in myself. It offers daily tracking tools, science-based information and encouragement, and an active support group and coach. Check out Noom’s 14-day FREE TRIAL**. This is an affiliate link, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless I was confident in its value.
For my spiritual health, the word means carving out more quiet time for reading, meditation, prayer, and writing. It’s so easy to hit the floor running in the morning, but when I am faithful to even a short time of prayer and meditation, it grounds me and banishes anxiety and fear like no other discipline. I’m embracing Ann Voskamp’s mantra, “Word over World” by seeking God’s word before turning on the world’s noise in the form of my cell phone or the television.
Grace is such a lovely word in all its meanings. I want to move with grace, speak with grace, and interact with grace. Grace implies a lovely sweetness and purity of spirit to which I can only aspire, but that’s the point of picking it for one of my words this year—it’s a goal worthy of moving towards.
The word Grace also embodies the spiritual weight of God’s grace: kindness, forgiveness, and love…the wiping away of sin and guilt. May I learn to accept God’s freely-given grace and be a conduit of that grace to others.
In Louisiana, “lagniappe” is a little something extra, and as a writer, of course I must include the word Write!
It is through writing in my journals that I process the swirl of events and emotions with which I’m bombarded daily.
It is through writing that I most often stay in touch with loved ones. (I have a true aversion to making phone calls, though I don’t mind receiving them.)
It is through writing that I reach beyond family to friends, associates, and clients to express appreciation, sympathy, congratulations, or acknowledgement—to let them know they’re being remembered and thought of.
And it is through writing blog posts and other articles that I try to share what I’ve learned and to encourage and inspire others.
By including Write in my short list of words, I’m creating a reminder to make time and space every day for an activity that feeds my heart and soul.
Do you pick words or a phrase to guide your own year? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. May God bless you richly throughout this new year.
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