This time last year, I was salivating for a new year full of opportunity. I was aching for new chances to learn, to grow, to prove myself, to improve myself. And I had this great plan to help me accomplish all these dreams I had: I was going to have a word for my new year. I was going to research my word, dive into my word and let it guide me through my year. This word had to be perfect, had to sum up all the things I wanted to be, to do, to gain. I found the perfect word.
I mean, that word was so many things. I defined how I wanted to feel, what I wanted to become, how I wanted to live. I wanted to be fixed mentally and emotionally, healed from past hurts and freed from those things that had once haunted me. I wanted to be fixed in my course of moving towards financial peace and prosperity. I wanted to be fixed in my ways of believing in myself, allowing myself to dream, allowing myself to achieve. I wanted to be fixed, firmly rooted in my life, present every moment, to give up my tendency to dissociate and wander in my own brain, alienating my family and friends. I wanted to be fixed spiritually to my family and, most especially, to Christ. I wanted those relationships cemented, becoming unbreakably strong.
I spent hours finding quotes and scriptures with my word in them. I compiled pages and pages of beautiful, inspiring, meaningful words. I decided to start the year off with a bang by sharing my quotes, one-a-day, for the month of January.
“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Psalms 57:7)
That was my scripture for the year, the first one I shared. I made a art/quote thing out of it, hung it in my kitchen by our family calendar, and knew it was destined to be a great year of being fixed in all things.
January was a good month.
In reality, my whole year was good. As years go, I don’t have anything to complain about. I mean, I know it wasn’t a great year globally, but in my small world, there were no major tribulations, accidents, illnesses or injuries. In fact, 2016 might have been the one of the best years (incidentally, anecdotally) that my little family has had since our inception in 2000. But, as this year comes to a close, I’m realizing my year wasn’t nearly as fixed as I wanted it to be.
I gained an additional 10 pounds. We are no closer to being out of debt… or any closer to our goal of buying a house. My relationships haven’t declined, by any means, but nor have they grown the way I envisioned. I haven’t logged anymore time in my scriptures or on my knees in prayer. I haven’t written my great opus. I haven’t published anything new this year. Honestly, I’ve written less than 10 pages total this year. And, again, though not declining, my mental and emotional health hasn’t made any major strides forward in the last 365 days.
As much as I wanted to remain fixed, a year is a long time to holdfast to such a lofty ideal.
I was initially tempted to fully berate myself at this realization this past week. I mean, let’s be transparent here, I haven’t consciously thought about my word ‘fixed’ for months. But, as part of my small growth this year, I am refusing to be mad at myself. Instead, I’m looking for the learning. Analyzing how to better set myself up for success. This is big. I believe it’s called growth mindset. Perhaps I’ve made some progress this year after all.
At any rate, this is my new plan for 2017:
Since my January 2016 was strong because I was researching and sharing what ‘fixed’ meant to me, and since my focus was so easily shifted after I stopped such a deliberate, intentional process, I am committing to, at least, 12 words in 2017. I’m shooting for, at least, one word a month. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve decided not to pre-compile a total list, but rather to find new words as I go. I’m hoping a more consistent focus, coupled with having to find new words each month, will give me the staying power I need to see my goals, dreams and aspirations for 2017 through to the end by seeing me through this year little by little.
“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” (2 Nephi 28:30)
For now, my first word(s) for 2017 is STAYING POWER. And this is where I will start:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:7–9).
“If we sow seeds of decency and goodness, the fruits of our honest labors will be blessings in heaven.
“Hold fast to those basic principles that are tried and true. Consistently develop your talents, protect and preserve your honesty and integrity, and build a sound character. This is the secret of real staying power, for these are principles that will not depreciate with time. Why? Because they are God-given principles founded on eternal truths.” (excerpt from “Staying Power” by Elder L. Tom Perry, 2003)