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No Safety Net Required

| written by Maria Cowell | 6 comments

fly free

If you are a goal-oriented person who lives and dies by your To-Do-List, the thought of scrapping New Year’s resolutions for one word might seem as terrifying as crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope without a safety net or harness. 

If not terrifying, then at least irresponsible.  After all, don’t we need goals to measure our success? How will we know we have achieved without benchmarks? Having a single word guide our year might be exhilarating like an adrenaline pumping tightrope walk, but our pragmatic nature dismisses that as sheer lunacy.

Training and Focus
But consider Nik Wallenda, a very goal-oriented man who walked across the Little Grand Canyon Gorge in June, 2013. In 22 minutes, in high winds, he traversed 1,400 feet on a two inch cable 1,500 feet above ground without any safety apparatus. 

Nik didn’t just wake up one morning and decide he was going to do this. He is an aerialist who has trained all his life for these types of walks, Grand Canyon being the riskiest.  His habits allowed him to achieve. But what’s interesting, is that when it came time to perform, he ditched the encumbering harness and only used a balance rod. All his prior training kicked in and he simply focused on the walk. Later, he said the view was breathtaking.

Core Habits As Navigators
As I ponder the one word concept I realized that it’s not the safety net of resolutions that allows achievement.  In fact, sometimes resolutions can be a burdensome harness. The core habits I have developed over time, before the moment of performance, are what allow me to navigate life’s challenges. The qualities that lead me to make and accomplish resolutions — deliberative, strategic, maximizer — are part of me whether I live my year against a checklist or through the fluidity of one word. The word I chose is freedom. I can be strategic in how I apply that to my life this year. I can maximize opportunities to live in freedom. I can be deliberate about walking in freedom. 

Choosing one word isn’t an abandonment of my personality traits or habits: it’s an enhancement.

Growth, Outcomes, Engagement
One word can actually accomplish more than a list. We check resolutions off as they are achieved and that’s that. But with one word to guide us, the opportunities for growth are multifold. It can lead to unexpected and even better outcomes, breathtaking views and new perspectives. 

Type As tend to engage (maybe sometimes too much)! What makes the one word concept effective is that allows us to more fully engage in a way the static list of resolutions doesn’t.  It forces us to apply our creativity and emotions, as well as our mental processes to our lives and decisions.

As you think about how you will structure this new year, ask yourself this:

Will you grow and achieve more in 2014 through resolutions or through the application of one word to multiple areas of your life?

photo credit: Sophia Noelle Photography 

Maria Cowell is a writer and marketing professional living in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @HipMamaMedia, Facebook, and visit her website, HipMamaMedia.com.


tealadytammy: I loved this post. I am a type A but have found lately that God is leading from that which leads to my word being "seek". Seeking different avenues with Him as the guide. I am really excited to see where God leads me this year and it is really getting me out of my comfort zone. Reply

    hipmamamedia: Hi TeaLadyTammy - I appreciate your response about the comfort zone! I think sometimes us Type As might get a little too comfortable in the stability or our ingrained habits, so a bit of stretching is probably a good thing! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I hope it's a great 2014 for you as you seek and find. :) Reply

lindamarielofton: I've been choosing a word for years... The first time I chose one, it was at the encouragement of a dear friend who decided upon this habit. Her word that year was serendipity -- and oddly enough, I can't remember what my word was. Through the years, though, the words I have chosen -- when I have chosen them -- have made a real difference in my spiritual life. These words have given me focus and have helped me see the hand of God in ways I might otherwise have missed. My friend and I don't talk nearly as often, since both of us have moved away from where we lived at the time. She isn't into social media, so it will be good to travel this journey with others again. (And I don't have to feel bad when a don't keep a resolution! LOL) Reply

    hipmamamedia: Hey Linda - that's what I love about the one word idea: it eliminates that bad feeling when we don't hit all our goals and resolutions. Instead, of a list superimposed on us (by ourselves, I might add!) we can live more organically and genuinely. That's so great that you were able to draw closer to God as you focused more. I hope that proves true for you again this year! Thanks for commenting! Reply

Jane H.: I am trying to join, but i don't have a blog url and it won't let me go any further. could you help me please? Thank you. Reply

    Alece Ronzino: Hey Jane! Sorry to hear you're having difficulty joining! Are you on Facebook? You could write a status update about your word and then use the direct link to that status in place of the blog post URL... Let me know if that doesn't work for you... We'll figure something out - I promise! Reply

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