A Word…

Have you ever heard of the “One Word” Challenge?

Around the new year, many people make resolutions, set goals, or write a mission statement. My friend Vern says, “When you have many priorities, do you really have any?”

What if you could pick just one word or phrase in which to center yourself?

I began this challenge in November of 2016 for my birthday. The word I chose was “Peace”. Personally, I had been experiencing anxiety, increased weight, irregular heartbeat, and a feeling of insecurity. This led to reading more, eating better, and exercising regularly. It also inspired a daily habit of meditation.

November 2017 brought on a new word: “Stretch”. This meant to try new things — big things! I decided to run a marathon’s worth of 5K’s. It began with a 5K in Saranac, then the Turkey Trot in Grand Rapids. This evolved to other types of races, including a 10K in April, a 25K in May, and a 1/2 marathon in July. The picture at the bottom of this post tracked my progress and inspired me to “complete, not compete”.

One of the best things about taking on a challenge is when you find out you’re not alone! Friends encouraged me along the way and shared helpful advice. This experience culminated in the Detroit Marathon in October – over the bridge into Canada and back into Detroit by tunnel under the river. My two brothers ended up doing their first half-marathons that day. It was EPIC!

November 2018’s word is “Create”. This is related to a constraint of playing it safe and avoiding conflict. It inspires me to create tougher conversations, such as taking a risk to disagree with someone or to just put something difficult out there for discussion. When a friend called me to help him create something both of us had never done (a webinar), I took the opportunity just to learn. I also missed being creative in general – I used to enjoy art, editing video and photos, and making things with my hands. This website was born from the desire to create something new.

“Clarity is a leader’s best friend.” To find true traction, be strategic. The One Word challenge made a big difference. All three words have carried to the present day. “Peace” – I still meditate every day using the app called Insight Timer. “Stretch” – I’ve maintained my healthier weight and lifestyle. My brothers and I continued the tradition recently by running a 25K together. “Create” – I recently purchased my first road bike, a new activity with plans for either my first bike race, a sprint triathlon, or both.

Do you feel stuck? Are you clear on what might be getting in the way? Do you want to improve your lifestyle? Do you just want to be the best version of yourself? Try the one word challenge. These examples I’ve shared were for one year, but it can be the word/phrase for one month, one week, or one day.

This year’s word for me: “VOICE”: Using my own more and helping others find their’s.

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. – Lewis Carroll

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