Every New Year’s Eve, one of my friends and her sisters each choose a word they intend to make their personal theme for the new year.
“It’s a word we want to live by or fulfill in the new year,” she said. “Something we want to do, have, or be.”
“I know mine already… but I’m curious about what you would choose. If you could pick one word to explain what you want this next year, what would it be?”
I thought it was an interesting question.
And despite my tendency to be impulsive, I wanted to put some thought into it.
I wrote down different words all night. A quiet New Year’s Eve at home. There may come a day when I will leave my son with a sitter during the 50 percent of his life that I get to see him now. But it was never going to be in 2013.
So, I skipped the parties this year on what is traditionally my favorite party night of the year.
I regret nothing.
This is my first New Year’s Day not feeling hung over in, literally, as long as I can remember. I didn’t have a drop last night.
I set my alarm clock to wake me at 11:45 p.m. With my son asleep next to me, I watched the television coverage of the ball dropping in Times Square.
All I did was think about who and what I want to be. How I’m going to use 2014 as the springboard to the rest of my life.
What word would I choose?
So many of you are writers. So you know they matter.
The things we speak.
The things we write.
While I’m forever guilty of writing quick first drafts and clicking ‘Publish,’ the best of us pore over each sentence on the really important stuff. Each word.
Once in a while when I’m writing at work, I’ll pop open the thesaurus. I rarely use it, but once in a while, in marketing, I believe the perfect word is out there waiting for us to find.
The magic words. The hypnotic ones. The ones that sell.
Is that thing good? Or is it delightful?
Is that product durable? Or is it robust?
Is that woman pretty? Or is she exquisite? Ravishing? Bewitching? Angelic?
Choosing words isn’t so different than choosing the perfect seasoning for your food. Or choosing the optimum wine to drink with it.
A Barolo or Cabernet Franc?
A Shiraz or Malbec?
A Pinot Noir or Zinfandel?
They are all red wines. Good ones. But they also all have their own unique personalities and characteristics.
Not unlike my list of words. Many of them mean almost the same thing. All of them play nicely together.
But there can be only one.
I want to choose wisely. Get it right the first time. The perfect word.
I wrote down several.
“Hope” is my favorite word. And it’s my favorite idea.
Hopelessness is a disease I never intend to contract.
There is no situation, good or bad, in which I can justify abandoning hope for a better tomorrow.
The anticipation of an amazing thing is one of the underrated experiences we are allowed as human beings. And with hope, I am always trying to feel that anticipation. That childlike feeling of eagerly awaiting something magnificent.
I feel it more, right now, than any other day I’ve written here.
Call it foolishness. Say January 1 is just another day. You’re entitled to that.
But what I see is a fresh canvas. A blank sheet of paper. A clean slate on which to start a journey.
Hope lives in all that white space. In the unknown. And I am drinking it up on this quiet, snowy morning.
Two words stand out.
Grow and Achieve.
But as a guy who values efficiency—two birds with one stone, and all that—my word for 2014 is: Achieve.
Because achievement can only occur if I actually grow and display that growth through my daily actions.
It’s a good word. It’s not exotic. It’s not big. Everyone knows what it means.
And it covers every facet of my life—the four pillars of balance, like legs on a table.
One puts in the right effort into each leg of the table, and you have something balanced. Something sturdy. Perhaps even something beautiful.
I may not meet all of my goals for 2014.
But there absolutely will be achievement in this new year.
As always, I will look forward to sharing them with you.
What word might you choose?
Wishing you a very happy and blessed New Year. And for all those you love. And for all those they love.
Today, we begin.