What’s in a Word? Oh, Plenty …

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Words are important. And not just to a writer like me. They are the things that tell the story. The story of who we are, how we feel, what we want, what we need, and what matters. They define our world, our lives. So around this time last year — thanks to my wise little sister — I started an interesting and valuable exercise: I look back at the last 12 months and find one word that best captures it.

My one word for 2010? Change. There was plenty of it that year. But isn’t there always? It’s what we do with it, all that change, that makes the real difference. That’s why my one word for 2011 is adjust. It fits right in line with change, I’d say. Adjust your perspective, your attitude, your priorities, your expectations, and you’ve got yourself a whole new ballgame. You’ve opened yourself up to see the change, or whatever took over much of your year, in a new light. You’ve opened yourself up to the possibilities, the opportunities and any goodness coming your way. That’s my belief, anyway.

The one-word exercise isn’t complete, though, without pitching your focus forward to the New Year. What one word will you use to guide your 2012? As I said at the start of 2011 when I was coming up  with my word (“Do”), thinking about how you want to direct things, how you want to shape the year, that takes more work.

At first, my 2012 one word was going to be words. But then I dug a little deeper and came up with something even better, something more fitting with my intention next year. Impact. It’s what I hope will be behind all my actions, words, thoughts, and dreams. Impact. Making one, yes, but also — maybe more important — it’s about being mindful about the potential impact I can have if I keep betting on and believing in myself.

I often say that my “New Year” kicks off in September, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like raising a glass to cheer and welcome in January 1st. But there’s something about 2012 that feels special, sparkling, as if crackling with extra promise and sunshine. So I’m using the last few days of ’11 to get my mind ready, bracing for impact.

What about you? What’s your one word for 2012? Do you have one that sums about your 2011? Do tell. Share your word below in comments or on MMM’s Facebook Page and … Fa-la-la-lala Alert! It’s a giveaway, y’all. We’ll randomly choose one comment as the winner.

The prize: A signed copy of my debut novel, Earth’s Waters. It’s the coming-of-age story about a young Caribbean woman slowly drowning in paradise. Plus! The winner will also receive a $20 gift card to Amazon.com. And all you have to do is share your one word. Easy-peasy, right? We’ll announce the winner next week, after Christmas.

Looking forward to reading your all-important words.

  • 1
    Megan Tolbert says:

    My word for 2011 is “rebirth.” I reinvented myself this year, which is part of it, and in my new calling as a doula I see not only births of babies, but women and men reborn as parents in that one moment when they meet their babies. I’m blessed, truly. It’s been a great year.

    Happy holidays to you and your family, Nicole!

  • 2
    Erin says:

    My word for 2012 is “family.” We have a 2 1/2 year old son and a 3 month old daughter, my husband works odd hours and goes to school. When I return to work in 2012 it will be a challenge to carve out family time, but it will be a priority to do so.

  • 3
    Nailah says:

    I love the one word exercise! My word for 2011 was ‘Awakening.’ I really felt like I came into myself and awakened to brand new things in my life. The word I’ve decided on for 2012 is ‘Accomplished.’ Thanks for sharing your word!

  • 4
    Ann says:

    Probably too late to be considered for the prize but sounds like a great exercise anyhow…
    2011 –> experiment (I started a blog without much of a plan, just enjoyed seeing where it could take me) 2012 –> maybe hone (I would like to fine-tune my “experiment”) Thanks for the thought provoking exercise, I needed it today!