Traditional New Year’s resolutions are great, but for a lot of people (myself included!) they just don’t work.
The other day I read a very inspiring piece by freelance writer Teresa Coda, who shares her practice of choosing a word, a quote, and a quest as guides for the calendar year.
Teresa explains that “These items aren’t goals to be accomplished but a framework to direct my mindset, free time, and priorities.”
As a lover of words, I was immediately taken by this idea, and decided that this first week of 2023 was the perfect time implement this practice in my own life.
Here’s what I’ve come up with.
Teresa recommends writing a list of your current hopes and dreams for the future and searching for key words that stand out to you.
While I didn’t write out my list longhand, I did spend a lot of time thinking and meditating on my goals over several days.
The one word that kept coming to mind was: Service.
Over this year, I’d like to find simple ways to be of service; to my family, my community, and to the Church.
Your chosen quote doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your word of the year. Serendipitously, the quote I chose accords well with the idea of service.
“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”
In his autobiography, when speaking about one’s duty in life, Theodore Roosevelt attributes this saying to one Bill Widener:
It may be true that he who travels farthest travels alone; but the goal thus reached is not worth reaching. And as for a life deliberately devoted to pleasure as an end—why, the greatest happiness is the happiness that comes as a by-product of striving to do what must be done, even though sorrow is met in the doing. There is a bit of homely philosophy, quoted by Squire Bill Widener, of Widener’s Valley, Virginia, which sums up one’s duty in life: “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”
Teresa writes that, “life is busy, and I know that unless I intentionally choose to devote my energy to pursuing a passion project, it won’t happen. Naming a quest is a way of committing to the pursuit of learning and joy.”
I've been neglecting my passion projects and allowing frantic busyness to rule my life—believing that God wants me to be always busy, that I have to please God with the products of my constant activity. This has simply led to burnout and depression.
This year, I’m going choosing one of my passion projects as my priority, my quest— The Perilous Realms Podcast.
I know from feedback I’ve received that the podcast brings joy to my listeners. With The Perilous Realms, I can use my talents to be of some small service—to educate, entertain, and inspire my audience.
I hope that the “word, quote, quest” method will help me actualize my priorities for 2023. How about you? Have you found a word, quote, and quest for this year? If so, please let me know in the comments—I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered!
Until next time, “the Road goes ever on . . .”
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Nice! I’m gonna try this,
Thanks for sharing! This is so much better than vapid “resolutions!”