BY MOLLY MILTENBERGER MURRAY
There is a reason that gyms are packed in January and relatively empty by October. Resolutions tend to skyrocket across the horizon and fizzle out as time goes on. Instead of launching into a life-changing new regime, I take time to choose one word that will define my year. The Chinese Zodiac ascribes an animal to every year, a symbol of what the year will bring. My word is something like that: it’s a motif with roots and branches that will define the way I grow through a new year’s twists and turns.
Balance. Poise. Grace. These are a few of the words I’ve chosen before. Looking back and reviewing my goals at the time, these words seem to be about getting by and managing life to make it work. I can feel that right now, my need is to dive deeper.
To find my word, I consider the ways that I want to develop. I take into account the accomplishments I want to achieve and the challenges that are stacking up on my plate. Everything goes on the list: the small, achievable details and the vague, gigantic life goals.
Gordon’s mom was diagnosed with cancer over the holidays. Gordon is the steady one. He’s the one I lean on. I’m the artistic one. I like to skyrocket with an idea that either hits the mark and leaves me ecstatic or fizzles out and drops me flat. But this year, I know that he’ll need me to lean on. I’ll need to be the steady one.
I want to be dedicated to an enriching routine, to really fill my soul with fresh air and greenery. I want to prioritize walking over working out. I want to be serious about devotional reading and devotional journaling. I want to be spiritually steadfast and anchor myself in the Word and faith.
I’m working on my master’s degree in Creative Writing. I don’t want to consider this incredible opportunity like a list of assignments to check off so that I can earn a piece of paper. This is a life experience. I want to use this time to grow, to produce really good work that will enrich my life and advance my skillset.
I want to finish the Great American Novel that I haven’t touched for 5 months. It’s in my thoughts a good deal, but I want to hold a complete hard copy of Draft #1 by next January.
I want to stick to my cleaning schedule and eat dinner before 8 p.m.
I want to value the time put into my life. I want to value the people who are in front of me. I want to value my soul.
Words are rising. Themes emerging. Steadiness. Dedication. Devotion. Rooted. Anchored. I want to grow and become anchored this year, to meet each day as it comes. I make schedules, cover the nitty-gritty details with deadlines and word counts. I make room to water my soul. This motif will hold me fast to my goals.
The year is already feathered with changes, opportunities, challenges. Now is a good time to define how you want to approach them, and decide how you want to grow.