Words Versus Actions


This is the big week for all of us tricksters, isn’t it? We think of grandiose resolutions, ones we have never kept and probably will abdicate on short order early in January, but which make us feel wonderful when we say them. Who are we fooling?

Some changes need to be made. It is true for all of us. Those are not easily stated, shared, or accomplished. That’s the big fallacy behind New Year’s resolutions. We stick to the superficial, the things we are willing to share, and gloss over the things we like to keep hidden in the deepest chambers of our hearts. Might I suggest a different approach?

Choosing a word for the year is nothing new, but it may be new to you. It doesn’t involve admitting any ugly truth, even to yourself. It doesn’t revolve around an action you know you can’t sustain. The whole no more sugar thing is something I can handle for a month, maybe, but it has to be the right month. We have four birthdays in January, so you know cake is not going to be easy to ignore. In April, now, we have no family birthdays. Let’s start the no sugar thing in April. I may have success that month! See what I mean? I need to shed a few pandemic pounds and “no sugar” would be helpful, but it may not be the best way to go about it.

What happens if I choose a word instead? Suppose I choose thoughtfulness, for example. It implies I think about the pluses and minuses of actions. It has nothing to do with abstaining from sugar, so I can tiptoe my way into January and grow a backbone through the course of the year, as opposed to making a grandiose gesture and blowing it right off the bat.

If you are interested in adopting a change like this, consider two things as you think about a word for 2021:

  • “Do one thing every day that scares you,” Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” Unknown

Choose a word with thought of how you might grow in 2021. Make a desire to change more of a daily call to action than lip service on January 1st. The difference may surprise you. Rather than starting over when your word gets lost in the challenges of life, you can instead start up again.  Continue on.

Choose your words tiles

Consider joining the one word community for continued inspiration. It acknowledges your humanity and promises to carry you through those times when willingness lags behind heart…for those times are common to all of us. I like the idea of being inspired on a regular basis, being reminded of the idea behind so many behaviors, all requiring change.

Consider getting an accountability buddy. If you have no one to partner with, you can actually get app support in finding help. That means no one you personally know will be keeping track of your failures. The app keeps you anonymous if you choose, or at least pairs you with someone you’ve never met. That’s helpful! The bottom line is that no one action is going to change my life dramatically. If I find sweet treats as efficiently as an internal Geiger counter, my problem may be self-control more than sweets. That basic lack of self-control manifests itself in other ways within my life, so if I choose self-control as my word, I will not focus just on doughnuts, but upon wasting time, procrastination and taming my tongue as well.

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