I have discussed in previous blog posts my dislike for New Year’s resolutions and goals. Too many times, I think, goals are used as crutches in our lives; we either set them so high we ultimately cannot control the outcome, or we set them so low (and safe) that we can’t really refer to them as goals. In one scenario, we have to give up control at times and rely on others to help us accomplish things that are beyond our current means, or we play it safe and never push ourselves as much, or as far, as we could. Therefore, keeping this in mind over the course of the past few years, instead of resolutions, I have taken the One Word challenge.
One Word That Will Change Your Life (by: Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page) is book that challenges you to simplify your life by focusing on ONE WORD for the entire year. I really appreciate the concepts of clarity, and focus, that refining things to just one word provided. One Word tells us, “Clutter and complexity lead to procrastination and paralysis, while simplicity and focus lead to success and clarity.” Last year, my word was JOY. To remind myself of this word and challenge, I set an image of this as the lock screen of my phone, so every time I got out my phone, I was reminded to find joy in the moments rather than getting caught up in the business of life.
The process of finding one word that you plan on dedicating a year of your life to is daunting. As I searched for my One Word for 2018, I found myself searching many different aspects of my personal and professional life for the greatest need of focus for the upcoming year. But, no matter how much I questioned different aspects of my life I could not seem to pinpoint one area that I felt deserved a focus for the year. I knew I needed to find a word this year that would help me focus on what really matters now, and down the road.
Not sure where to go, I stopped thinking about it for a few days knowing that sometimes the mind needs time and a break to process. Then one day over break, I came across the following Einstein quote: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Reflecting back, as I was trying to figure out my word for the year, I spent too much time looking for the answer instead of determining the proper question. That is when I discovered my word for the year: QUESTION. What happened as I was trying to find my One Word, happens far too often in my everyday life. I can be way too quick to try to find the right answer, solve the problem, and move on the next problem. I rarely take the time to figure out if I was even solving the right problem to start out with, or if I was just addressing a symptom with a quick fix to a much larger issue. It is time to spend a year looking for, and asking the proper questions.
So this year I am going to strive to ask questions like:
- Why is it important to find a balance between home and school, and how will that affect all areas of my life?
- Why do I struggle to find common ground with my oldest son?
- What do I really view as success in my life? And, am I giving time to those aspects of my life?
- Why do I let critics change my focus?
The questions I pose may not always lead to answers, but I hope they challenge me to take some time to really think about why I am doing what I am doing. I do not know all the questions this year will provide, but I look forward to challenging myself to not only question a great deal, but to make sure I am asking the proper questions to solve the problems that will inevitably arise.
I hope you decide to take the One Word Challenge this year as well and let its simplicity lead you to success in 2018!
Keep learning; keep growing; keep sharing!