We are just hours away from welcoming a new year and while many of us are busy thinking about what kinds of resolutions we should be focusing on in the coming year, I am searching for a single word to become the focal point of how I will live my life in 2019, my "theme" word or "mantra" so to speak.
Last year I selected the word JOY!
I thought it was a good word. It allowed me to try and really focus on enjoying the journey as I work to reinvent my life. Sometimes we are so caught up in our work, we never take time to look up and around and enjoy life as it is happening. Although I didn't master this word, I did stop many times during the year to appreciate the people, places and experiences that made up my journey.
So for this upcoming year, I have been thinking about a lot of things I want to improve upon, professionally, personally and spiritually. And the first word that came to my mind was DISCIPLINE. My thought process was, if I could focus on the word discipline, the rest would take care of itself. Discipline would allow me to eat healthier, go to the gym regularly, force me to sit down and write and do my work. If I could focus on discipline, my life would truly work.
But then I started to think that if I was really serious it has to go beyond discipline.
Because I am a people pleaser. If someone calls and asks for help, I will most likely drop what I am doing and go help. If someone calls at the last minute and invites me to coffee, I'll put what I am doing on the back burner and go. If someone calls me as I am walking out the door headed to the gym and needs advice, I'll skip my class and talk to them.
Because I know me, and I know how I operate, I had to dig deeper to find a word that would stop me in my tracks. Discipline is a great word, but I can always reason with it. I will say, "I can start my diet tomorrow". " I can make the call later", I can always reschedule my discipline. So the word I chose to focus on for 2019, I feel will really help hold me accountable, because it is a word that should I not honor it, would be in vast contrast to how I want to show up in the world.
My word for 2019 is INTEGRITY.
The definition of integrity is: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. One of my mentor's Jeff Olson has another definition for integrity. He says integrity is doing those things you say you are going to do even when no one is looking and even when you don't feel like doing them. So basically, it needs to start with me and the things I have committed to doing to grow me.
Because I do much of my work from home, no one is watching me. Only I know whether I'm scrolling Facebook instead of preparing my blog. No one is in my car with me when I am ordering lunch; do I get the salad and bottle of water or give into a burger and diet soda? I can beat myself up for a lack of discipline or I can ask myself, "what would a person of integrity do?" Those are the words that should stop me in my tracks if I truly want to live a life based on higher principles.
But it goes even further.
Choosing the word integrity, I believe, will guide me into better decision making. When someone asks me to do something, I am going to really have to pay attention to my answer. Am I saying yes because this is something I genuinely want to participate in and that aligns with my mission and message? Or am I saying yes to avoid having to say no and risk not being liked or disappointing someone?
I have lived most of my life saying yes, and living with the regret of that answer. In addition, I don't bring the best of me, because I am really not committed to the project, just committed to pleasing other people.
So this new year, I will be guided by a new word. I am sure the journey will be challenging, but my sincere wish is that it helps me to become a better me, which in turn allows me to contribute my best to the world.
So what about you? What new word will you carry into 2019? I'd love for you to share.
Happy New Year! May 2019 be your BEST year yet!
Sherrie Dunlevy is an inspirational speaker and author of the best selling book,
“How Can I Help?-Your Go-to Guide for Helping Loved Ones through Life’s Difficulties"