2013 One Little Word

The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time of reflecting and setting new goals.

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. All too often we make a resolution of kicking our caffeine habit…losing weight…eating less junk food…or whatever. We do alright at first. Maybe even last a few months but by March we fall back into our old habits again. Instead of resolutions, I like the idea of picking One Little Word for the year and allowing that to be my focus.

Resolutions are too vague. One-third of those who make a “resolution” for the new year dump it within 2 weeks and 50% of the rest say “forget about it” within 2 months. Besides, you can start a diet any day of the week, or any time of the year. For 5 years now I have chosen “one word” rather than make a resolution.

The idea behind the one little word concept is to give yourself something to focus on throughout the year…”A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow.”

This concept is totally from Ali Edwards. I have found this works much better for me than resolutions.

In 2009 my one word was “be”as in “just be in the moment.” I struggled with being in the moment at first. It had to be a conscious decision and I still remind myself of it today. It’s not a trait that comes naturally to me.

In 2010 my one word was “faith”. I think I did pretty well that year. I renewed my faith and continued reading the Bible. I still have many more Books to read but “it’s the journey, not the destination” or “it’s a long road, but the reward is great.” However you want to look at it, I will still be working on faith throughout my life.

In 2011 my one word was “nourish”. Nourish encompassed my whole feeling of what I want in the upcoming year to be. For my mind. For my body. For my soul.

In 2012 my word was “explore”. Even though I didn’t explore as much as I would have liked too, I think I did pretty well this year. We explored the Great Smoky Mountains this past summer. I explored a lot on my own in the Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas. Just me & my camera.


I couldn’t help but notice that the marketing “word of the season” this year was Joy. The word was used everywhere, from signs hanging in Target, on ornaments, t-shirts, gift tags, television ads, even on signs used to sell McDonald’s McRib.

No matter how creative the marketing campaign, you can’t buy joy.

Besides being a clever marketing word, what exactly is Joy? Is it something close to happiness? Aren’t they the same thing? Well, not exactly.

Happiness is temporary. I am happy when traffic on I-25 flows smoothly, therefore making me on time for an appointment across town. Happiness is something I experience when I find a cute pair of boots on clearance. I am happy when the girls come home from a long day at school in a great mood.

Joy is something that is harder to obtain. Joy goes deeper. It’s felt deeper. Joy is everlasting. And, it doesn’t come from owning things.

Joy [verb] to experience great pleasure or delight (rejoice).

“Joy is an essential spiritual practice growing out of faith, grace, gratitude, hope and love. It is the pure and simple delight of being alive.” Spiritualityandpractice.com

What brings joy in my life? If you are like me, joy has been replaced with stress, to-do lists, taking care of everyone but ourselves, cleaning the house, fixing meals, paying bills, raising children and making commitments we’d rather not make. No wonder it’s almost impossible to feel joyful. Most days it would make me happy if my kids don’t fight…for an hour.

“Having more joy does not necessarily require a life overhaul ­– you may just need to create more space in your life for moments of joy.” Debrena Jackson Gandy

Okay, it kind of sounds like I am adding one more thing to my already never-ending to-do list. I read somewhere that 80% of your life should bring you joy…the other 20% is made up of the stuff that doesn’t bring us joy but we need to do it anyway. Yikes.

Sadly, my percentages are completely askew. It’s something I definitely want to work on. Because without joy, life is just pointless.

So, that’s my One Little Word: Joy

I will continue to explore this year because, guess what? If I learned anything from 2012, it is that exploring brings me Joy.  Creating brings me joy. Spending one-on-one time with each of my children brings me joy. Date nights with hubby brings me joy. Attending a church on a regular basis fills me with joy.

I am committing myself to making time for the hobbies, people, and faith that bring me joy. Even if I have to write joy on my calendar.

What is your One Little Word for 2013?

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