Friday, January 4, 2013

With Resolution

This is the time of the year when many of those who share my internet oversharing compulsion do something I've always considered slightly precious: Bloggers choose their Word of the Year.

Many, many persons who have embraced this art form of graffiti with punctuation look deep into their souls and decide one single word that will determine their actions for the upcoming year. Explore! or Yes! or Forward! or something they hope will inspire and shape the coming 12 months. This practice is to New Year's Resolutions what blogging is to, well, to real writing: shorter, less thoughtful, more public. But as I look at the words bloggers are choosing, it's not such a bad idea.

Last year, I suppose, my word for the year (although I didn't call it that) was exercise.

At about this time in 2012 I shared with you that I wanted to begin a regular exercise program. I honestly didn't know if I would keep this resolve because I am notorious for noble beginnings and lackluster follow-through. But by golly, I did it. I decided I would exercise every day I went to work, and after a full year of adding 45 minutes of sweat to my day, I definitely see improvement in my stamina, my flexibility, my general ability to keep up with life. It wasn't always FUN, but it was always possible and I don't plan to quit doing it.

So this year I'm choosing another word, and that word is (drumroll, please): Kindness. (Oh, what, did I spoil the surprise by not being able to find a graphic that didn't SPELL IT OUT on the pinky finger? Huh.)

Anyway, as I look at the women I most admire in the world (my mother, my sisters, most of my dearest friends) it's obvious that one trait they all share is that they are kind. Not saccharine or treacly, but deep-down thoughtful and generous in a way that doesn't require notice.

I want to be that kind of person.

This goes against what I tend to be, which is sarcastic and snarky to a large extent, but I want to make kindness my knee-jerk reaction rather than my obligation, and the only way that will happen is if I become intentional about being kind to people, to the environment, to myself.

As I analyzed what went right about my dreams of starting an exercise plan, it seemed that the simplicity and no-excuses nature of the plan (exercise every day I work) were key, so my plan for kindness is that I will recognize one instance each day where I have been kind, and write that instance on a calendar. And that means that if I'm coming to the end of a day and haven't written anything down yet, I'd better put out some recycling or pet Our Dog Pepper or write a thank you note.

I'm setting the kindness bar intentionally low, hoping I'll clear it with room to spare, but if I find I'm not nearly as kind as I could or should be, this at least will point out my deficiencies.

Last year I worked on my cardio. This year I'm working on my soul.


  1. I like it, "deep down thoughtful and generous" - you have great examples to follow. It is good to exercise both the body and the soul :)

  2. Love your word, heaven knows we need more kindness!