Monday, January 3, 2011

One Word for 2011

One word. Whenever I run into a question that asks me to describe something in one word, whether it be a relationship, a person, myself, or whatever, my very first thought is No.” I don’t want to if I don’t have to. See, I like words. LOTS of words. I don’t like being limited to one word that could be misunderstood. You’ve probably noticed by now that I can be rather loquacious. So when Jenny from the Southern Institute suggested we start thinking of a word, I wasn’t exactly excited to participate.

But she gave me plenty of time to think about it, and it’s been rolling around in my mind whether I’ve wanted it to or not. I realized that I could explain my word, thus satisfying my need for verbosity. I love the word Jenny used last year: pause. I had plenty of ideas for my word for this year. Cherish was at the top of my list for quite some time. And hope seems absolutely perfect, but too cliché. As the new year came closer and I started thinking about my resolutions, which tend to be the same goals year after year because each year I only manage to make the tiniest amount of progress, my word came to me.

My word for this year is continue. NOT because everything in my life is perfect and I just need to continue along the same way I always have. My word is continue because I need to keep at it, even if I feel like I’m just chipping away at reaching my goals. If the assignment had been for two words, I could have said, “keep trying.” I get discouraged so easily. There are so many reasons to feel like giving up on my goals . . .

  • There’s that feeling of making no progress no matter how hard I try.
  • Being overwhelmed by how much I have to do/the high expectations I have for myself.
  • So many feelings of inadequacy!
  • Difficulty prioritizing.
  • Comparing myself to others. I know this is one of my biggest weaknesses. I usually end up comparing others’ best qualities to what I consider my worst, and of course, I always come up short.
  • Losing that New Year’s feeling. Do you do this too? It’s hard to make a fresh start in the middle of the year. I usually hit March and realize I’ve totally failed to keep up with some of my goals. It’s pretty hard at that point to start anew and try again. (Which is why I want to continue renewing my goals and my resolve to accomplish them throughout the year.) 
  • Busy, busy life!
  • Guilt. If I look for it, I can find guilt in just about any part of my life, and it’s great at holding me back.
  • Impatience!

Wow! This post is sounding so discouraging! I didn’t mean to be such a downer. The point of my word is to tell myself to just keep going, continue trying. There are some days I tell myself I’ll be doing good if I can just make a dent in the list of things I want to accomplish. The word continue is meant to remind myself to give myself credit for the things I do accomplish. Continue doing my best to make time for my family even if it means the house stays messy. Continue trying to strengthen my faith. Continue supporting my husband while he works so hard to support this family financially and get through grad school at the same time. If we can just continue to trudge through, I know we’ll be done with him being gone so much someday. Continue in hope and optimism. Continue in happiness. Continue even when discouraged.

Continue is the word I’m using to tell myself to keep going when I’m tired and overwhelmed. Continue is a message of hope, telling me that if I just keep trying, I can do anything. It’s my little reminder to “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming . . .”

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Continue reminds me of the story about President Hinckley, when he was discouraged in the mission field, and his father told him to “Forget yourself and go to work.”

Maybe this explanation has been rather muddled, a result, I am sure, of my conflicted feelings about being limited to one word. I doubt this will be a life-changing exercise for me. But I do think it will bring me some strength and hope when I need it most this year.

Continue! Press onward! Strive! You can do it!

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