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The resolution-making and year-end reflection of preparing for a new year comes naturally to me. I self-reflect all the time. I’m constantly making new goals for myself, thinking about my hopes for the future, and nit-picking all of the mistakes from the past that have helped me make any unhelpful ruts and not-so-healthy habits that I struggle with day-to-day.
I’m a reflective person by nature. I’m a to-do list maker and and action-step oriented person. If I’m unhappy about something, I want to come up with constructive steps I can take to bring about needed changes.
All of that is basically to say that while I do enjoy griping about things, I’m not content to let it stay there. I have to brainstorm and think something up (or multiple somethings) that I can do in the future to bring about a hoped-for result.
All of that is well and good. Usually.
But, I’ve also noticed that when I get bored, I get even more self-reflective. When I don’t have enough to do, I become intensely introspective. (I’m a textbook Enneagram 4 in this regard.) And, too much introspection can leave me feeling defeated and depressed. Because things are never 100% how I want them to be. At least as far as my self is concerned. For me, health and wholeness has to look like finding a balance between remaining reflective and getting down to work.
So, I keep myself busy.
In case you’re wondering, this is one reason (among many) that I crochet. Idle hands are the devil’s playground, as they say, and for me idle hands mean an over-active brain, and a whole lot of dissatisfaction with myself.
For the past couple of years, rather than make a New Year’s resolution, I decided to focus on one word for the year-to-come. I decided to do this for several reasons. I have a terrible track record when it comes to keeping resolutions, so it seemed silly to me to keep trying to promise things I was never going to do. But, I also tend to reflect and plan and make goals all year long anyway. It’s just something I do. No need to make a special effort on that at the end of each year.
So, when I heard that some of my friends were moving towards selecting a word for the year rather than coming up with resolutions, I was intrigued. Choosing a word is less about picking at the imperfections of our lives and more about living with purpose. And, because 365 days can bring many unexpected twists and turns, having a word for the year affords some flexibility. The word can inspire different things no matter how life might change over the course of the year.
In 2014, I selected the word “love,” and in 2015 I tried to focus on the word “present.” This year, I wasn’t sure if I would try to select one word again or not. But, every time I’ve realized that the year was about to come to a close, I kept thinking about the word “live.” I think this word really chose me for 2017, and I’m eager to see what that journey will look like.
2016 has been a tough year in many respects. 2016 has been filled with losses. 2016 has also been a wonderful year. I’ve discovered things about myself I didn’t know before. I harvested more garlic than I thought was possible from my garden.

I crocheted some things that helped me feel like I was contributing some beauty to the world around me.

I watched my kids discover more of who they are, and I’ve watched them grow and thrive in our western Nebraska environment.

This has been a year of discovery and learning, a season of growth and stretching. And for that, I’m tremendously grateful. For 2017, I’m focusing on the word “live,” in part because of something late astronaut John Glenn once said when he was asked about the kind of legacy he wanted to leave. Glenn responded this way: “I’m not interested in my legacy. I made up a word: ‘live-acy.’ I’m more interested in living.”
I want to think more about my live-acy than my legacy. It’s not about the big things as much as it is about the daily opportunities to show love, grace, generosity, and to share hope. Those daily, small choices are the way we live; they are our lives.
So, here’s to the small actions of our lives – the glitter-covered tables from time spent with children, the soil-covered hands from days in the garden, the memories made when I have my eyes on what’s around me rather than on a computer or phone. Here’s to the daily moments where we have the chance to live!
Are you selecting a word for the New Year? If you are, I’d love to hear more about it.

Other New Years posts
“One Word for a Year – Love” – January 9, 2014
“If You Could Choose One Word – Present” – January 22, 2015
“Happy Imperfect New Year!” – December 31, 2015