Saturday, January 10, 2009

one little word

After two years of focusing on the word free, I found I was having a hard time letting go.

I've been working on being:

free of negative self-talk
free of stuff I don't need or use
free of excess weight
free of the constraints I put on myself

After two years of free-thinking, I have managed to get rid of a LOT of stuff that I don't need or use. I've even managed to change my thinking about stuff quite a bit -- I don't want as much as I used to, I don't want to have to take care of and organize that much stuff. Throwing things out and giving things away has had a very freeing effect.

As far as negative self-talk and constraints I put on myself.... I think I have made some progress. I could certainly do more in that department.

As for excess weight... sigh. I'm no better off there than I was when I started.

In truth, I could see myself sticking with that word forever... or at least a good long time, but I felt like maybe I was losing focus. The cute green polka-dot Free sign on my fridge was starting to be just another part of my landscape, rather than a motivational dictum.

So I started trying on different words. At first, I thought about choosing something that comes a little more easily to me... say, calm. But even though I do work at being calm, I knew that wouldn't really be a stretch. Then, I tried some other words, but they all ended up just being synonymous with free.

Finally, I found it:


1. a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage

2. advancement in general.
3. growth or development; continuous improvement
the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.

5. forward or onward movement

6. to go forward or onward in space or time
7. to grow or develop

I think it will be good for me to focus on making progress. I still have a lot of areas I'd like to improve in, but I want to be able to applaud myself for every little movement I make in the right direction. I want to be pleased with what I accomplish, rather than upset with all that I have not yet accomplished. I want to learn to accept myself where I am, right now, be gentle with my efforts to improve, and appreciative of any and all growth.

For a perfectionist like me, I think it will prove to be a real challenge.


Melinda said...

I have to say that I really like how you write. You are very good at expressing yourself.

So far I really like your word for the year. I seem to relate to it the most. We have a lot of the same goals and I am not picking a word this year but I do want to see progress in what I already know I need to work on.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog. :-)

Kim Sue said...

great word....I love reading about other people's goals because it gives me ideas and motivation to think about different things!

"I want to accept myself, right now" that is really tough for me and I find that I beat up on myself to often.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your new header.

Anonymous said...

I really think this word is a great fit! I didn't even think about it and really like the last definition.

Congrats of freeing yourself of so much stuff! I want to be able to look at 'things' differently.

And as far as letting free go- for me my past words have been things that I have built upon. They are still there in the background and pop into my head. I hope yours does the same.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Yes! That's a wonderful word and can't help but inspire success.

I love your header. I love that you share you eye for beauty with the rest of us. Thank you.

patsy said...

BEAUTIFUL WORD~ beautiful post!!

I love reading your word & I too am really inspired :)
thanks for sharing

Shawna B. said...

Great new banner (yet another quote to add to my quote book, many of which have come from your blog!) and a perfect word for this year. Progress - I wish you much of it in the direction you are hoping for.

Happy 2009, Michelle!

Natasha said...

Great word - can encompass many areas of your life. I am still trying to settle on a word.

wende said...

i love that you're giving yourself permission to "be gentle with your efforts to improve" and, "applaud myself for every little movement i make in the right direction." - i am so inspired!

Crystalyn said...

such a great work michelle! i too am a "perfectionist" in recovery. and from my viewpoint, you have much to applaud yourself for!

Robyn said...

Oooh, I love it. There's so much pressure with resolutions, goals, and the word of the year. But with the word "progress", it implies you are just doing your best and getting somewhere. It's beyond perfection. It goes right along with that quote Amy M. put on her blog from President Grant. Good luck with all your goals!

Denise said...

The perfect word! I really have trouble with not getting "upset with all that I have not yet accomplished." Mom and Mark will often chuckle at me when I sigh and exclaim in a frustrated way that I "haven't gotten anything done today!" Usually that just means that I haven't crossed very many things off of my list, which is often different from not getting anything done at all.

Barb said...

What I like about this word is that it is all about moving in the right direction. Very motivational.

Tracy said...

Great word! I'm glad your beter! Just wanted to tell you I made your sweet rolls.Oh My Goodness.
I thank you, my family thanks you..
My thighs do not thank you, ha.
Here's to your BEST YEAR !

Amanda L. said...

I think it's easy to forget the progress we make as we march towards a goal. Great choice of a word.

Still pondering mine!

Jill said...

I love this word! I could definitely benefit from this word as something to focus on. I hope it proves to be motivating for you, along with FREE. Maybe we don't have to give up our previous words, we can just add to them with our new words.

Susan said...

I love your word.

I love your thinking.

I love your expressions and deep thought.

I have every confidence in your coming to understand and live your new word.

I like it. Nice choice.

charlotte said...

This is a great word! And it's so applicable in every area of life. Thanks for sharing these thoughts--I think you have a good year ahead of you!

melanie said...

This is such a wonderful post Michelle. You are so expressive and inspire me with your list. I love your new word.

Claudissima said...

This is great progress michelle...I think it is marvelous and I like the idea of not letting go of the old ones but to stil work on them, just focusing on the newest one in the repertoire, maybe if we see it as an orchesta, eventually we will get a great ensemble and turn out to be a master piece, that would make our Heavenly Father soo proud. Congratulations, wish I could catch up in word, only photos...but I think the computer will leave this until tonight maybe...ciao darling

TX Girl said...

LOVE your word. I love how well it is a continuation of FREE (which I would want to keep too).

Can you help me with my thinking process in regards to stuff?

Laurie said...

Good word. It is important to note one's progress, always.

amy m said...

That is such a great way to think about progress, to be pleased with what you do accomplish, rather than upset with what you haven't. I love it.

Great word.

carlo said...

Progress is a wonderful word!

It was my 08 word and I have to say, it was a great choice for me.

I am also a perfectionist and I have to say, selecting progress as my word really helped me.

I was able to see that progress is much more valuable than perfection in almost any situation. not sure i knew that before!

i can't wait to follow your journey.

Amie said...

All of these great posts are making me wish I would have chosen a new word... hmmm. maybe I am just not feeling kind at the moment.

I love the word progress... it feels like action and like success is attainable.The huge finish lines just don't seem to make it into my life.

You really did a good job recapping "free" - I would say a successful word of the the year!

Amy said...

I LOVE this sentence: "The cute green polka-dot Free sign on my fridge was starting to be just another part of my landscape, rather than a motivational dictum." You can write a good sentence, my friend.

"Progress" is a great word for new motivation!

Amy said...

Love this word! Have a great year!

Kelly said...

This would be a good word for me, too. Next year, maybe! I'm sort of an all-or-nothing type of perfectionist, that it's paralyzing sometimes.

I loved this "be gentle with my efforts to improve". So wise!

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