Words to Live By: Predicting a 'Generous' New Year


A-photo-of-Colleen-NewquistSeveral years ago, my friend Carmen Marti introduced me to the idea of choosing a word for the year instead of making a New Year’s resolution. I liked the idea so much that I encouraged our New Year’s Eve guests to write down their word and put it in a box to revisit the following the year. Everyone got into it, using crayons and colored pencils to decorate their piece of paper with their word written on it.

Over time, I must have tossed out the box, but I held onto the custom. Ever since that New Year’s Eve, I’ve chosen a new word every year.

The first year my word was “trust.” It was a year of change—a new job for me, the end of high school and the beginning a college for Aaron, an empty nest for me and Michael—and I decided “trust” was the word I’d need to keep coming back to. I needed to trust that everything would work out for all of us and I needed to trust in myself and my abilities, my instincts and decisions, and the path I’d chosen. It was a good word, a sturdy word. I trusted that it would see my through the year, and it did.

Word choices in subsequent years have included “true,” when I needed a guide to help me remember who I am and what matters most in my heart, and “listen,” when I felt the guidance I needed was inside me and all around me—I just needed to pay attention.

I’m mulling over words for this year, but so far I’m leaning toward “generous.” I’m feeling the need to be open and give freely. The wallet’s pretty empty right now, and when that happens, the worst thing I can do is get miserly and hold tight. The best thing I can do is be grateful for what we’ve got, believe in the abundance of the universe, and keep the money—and goodness—flowing.

I’m feeling the need to be generous of spirit—to believe in people, give the benefit of the doubt, to understand and accept that everyone has hidden burdens, and we’re all doing the best we can.

Almost Country_1
12/29/2010 9:57:23 AM

Thanks for the comments! I do love this tradition, and am so glad I was introduced to it. Happy New Year, all!

S.M.R. Saia
12/29/2010 7:27:27 AM

Wow, what a great idea. Thanks. Happy New Year!

Nebraska Dave
12/28/2010 6:19:30 PM

Colleen, I started that tradition last year. 2010's word for me was "more". Which meant more giving, more sharing, more listening, more etc. This year I am thinking that the word should be "finisher". I've had a lot of projects in progress for a couple years and this should be the year to finish those projects. It is difficult to boil a whole resolution down into one word but it was a great thing after it was done. May your one word for 2011 become a reality in your life through out the coming year.

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