Sunday, December 31, 2017

One word 2018

It's that time of the year again, time to not make resolutions but to review the year that has passed, and choose a new word to live by for the year ahead. A word that brings you back to what you are looking for when you are a little bit lost. A word that inspires you when you are tired. A word that helps guide your decisions when confusion reigns.

I'm not usually great at keeping things going past the good idea phase. I like to think of myself as the creative type - excited by new shiny things as they are dreamed up or pass by my eyeline. 'Oh look a good idea! Quick grab it before it disappears!'' I plan to hold on to the shiny new good idea and change my life with it, but then a new one comes along and, well, I can't hold on to them all can I? So I'll just let go of this old not-so-shiny-anymore one and grab the new one. Quick, before it disappears...

The One Word movement however has stayed shiny. This is my forth year doing it and all I can say is - it works for me.

In 2015, my first year, I chose Fresh. In 2016 it was Depth. Last year my word was Goals. I had some big ones that I wanted to stop putting on the long finger and just really steam roll through. My word was a way of reminding myself of the big picture throughout the year.

So how did I fair?

My big goals were to finish my book, start a pension, do a triathlon and be more patient with my children.

I made huge headway with my book. I got excited about it, getting up early to write and living vast chunks of time with the story rolling around in my head. I got the belief back - even to the point of sending it on to a few trusted pairs of eyes and a single publisher. But then I stumbled again. I know it's not right yet and I'm not sure how to fix it. With that in mind I've just signed up to a big scary 8 week course with the Irish Writers Centre. Perhaps this time next year I'll be checking off the goal that at times seems an immense impossibility and at others seems almost within touching distance.

I completed my One Year No Beer. I also wrote an article about the early days, appeared on the radio to discuss it and now may never drink again. I know.

I started a pension with the money I saved by giving up drink. Rock n' Roll.

I completed the Dublin City Triathlon and came 4th in my (aul one) age group. (I think there were more than 4 of us...). My one word helped me through many a training session.

I went sunrise swimming, and even dragged the kids along some mornings.

I did at least one sea swim every month for the year.

And then there's the patience thing. I'd like to think I improved. I certainly learned a lot this year about dealing with children's ever changing emotional needs. How listening, supporting, working through issues together helps empower them. And how labelling a child never, ever helps. I also got a big fat healthy reminder that it is how we react to our children's emotions that is the key to really helping them. We've all been there. They shout at you. You shout back. They scream louder. You explode. When all along if you'd taken the time to find out where the anger was coming from and talk it out with them you both could have learned something. I'm not saying it's easy - especially in the heat of the moment. But recent weeks have taught me that lots of extra love and positive reinforcement works wonders on behaviour and household happiness. More of that this year please.

So on to 2018 and my word, which this year is Mind. 

I've spent a lot of this year exploring the power of the mind, and the more I read and discover the more I know it's the answer to everything. And there is so much to learn. From teaching your kids the life skills of resilience and grit, to opening yourself up to the power of the universe - everything stems from your brain.

I've been reading up on neuroplasticity - which basically is the science of rewiring your brain. The good news is that no, you are not born that way. You can train your brain to grow new neurons, build new pathways, become compassionate or grateful or happier - or even more patient. Wow.

Meditation also looms large in my plans. Taking time out each day to allow the subconscious space to breathe and speak to you. I'm going to upgrade my current free app to a paid version which hopefully will make me do it every day. Bring on the calm.

Universal intelligence - far less scientific but still worthy of exploration will also feature in my 2018 plans. I keep coming back to this as if it's simply positive thinking, but I'm pretty sure it's much more than that. It's believing in your potential and having faith that what you want is available to you. (If this time next year I'm an author you can take it from me it works. If I'm not you never have to read another crackpot hippie mantra post from me ever again.)

Kindness, gratitude, abundance, confidence, positivity. Live how you want to live. Be the person you want to be. If I master all that and pass it on to my kids I'm pretty sure that's a parenting Olympic gold in the bag.

This little story from Ruby Wax's 'Sane New World' sums it up in all it's simplicity.

Have an amazing 2018.

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