The One SowulWord of 2014

In my recent review of Happier at Home, I mentioned that I loved Gretchen Rubin’s idea of choosing a word to define the year ahead. Since then, I’ve noticed that several of the bloggers I regularly follow are doing the same thing. I’m not sure if this is an idea that’s been around for awhile- have people been choosing words every New Year?- or if every blogger I know reads The Happiness Project, but it made me even more excited to choose the right word to improve myself and highlight my aspirations in 2014.

I thought of several words at the outset. BELIEVE is a big favorite. I used that word a lot in 2013 to push forward with my writing even when I felt doubtful that anyone would want to read it. I also like FAITH, though that feels like less of an action word than BELIEVE. ENERGIZE is a great call-to-action word, the single-word equivalent of “Carpe Diem,” which is painted on a sign in my office. Conversely, I considered RELAX, because I often have to remind myself to take rest time for myself; constant motion is my default setting.

But after a few weeks of thinking, the perfect word just popped into my head:


I’m choosing ACCEPT because I think it will help me in two major areas:

I have tendencies toward a controlling personality. I think I generally have it “under control,” so to speak, but I often find I get frustrated when things don’t go as I’ve planned in my head, or when my home (which is where I now spend 90% of my time) doesn’t look the way I like. (I’m referring to toys on the floor and dishes in the sink, not missing Picassos on my walls.) Thinking the word ACCEPT in my head when I start to tense up about those things reminds me that I can’t control everything. The longer version of ACCEPT is asking myself, “Can I do anything about this?” Often, the answer is no, and that answer gives me a surprising amount of relief. If I decide I can’t do anything about the situation, I’m remarkably good at letting it go. I think this stems from having had cancer early in life. At some point during an illness, you realize there’s nothing you can do to change the fact that you got sick in the first place. There is relief in ceasing to bang your head against the wall. Just ACCEPT.

ACCEPT will also help me to fully receive the gifts I’ve been given. It will help me feel gratitude for my loved ones, and not to take them for granted; it will help me nourish my talents and abilities, my sense of self. ACCEPT means taking in what I need to encourage my own growth; it means a symbiosis between my inner and outer worlds.

I would love to hear what word, if any, you’ve chosen to define your 2014. Please share!

Besides the yearly word, I’ve also decided to take a monthly motto. This month’s motto is a quote from the movie Searching For Bobby Fischer: “Don’t move until you see it.” I’m going to use it to hold myself back a bit. I’m starting some new projects, and I sometimes tend to move too quickly, not allowing myself enough processing time. In the creative sense, “Don’t move until you see it” means to wait until the pieces fall together in your head before you act. I’ll let you know how well the monthly motto worked at the close of January.

What do you think of my word?

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