One Word Can Change the World

In January 2012, I heard a morning DJ talk about picking one word for the year rather than making a bunch of new year’s resolutions she could not keep. Her idea resonated with me. That very day I picked the word organize to be my word for the year. Getting organized was not easy, but picking one word to keep in mind was doable. One word continuously on my mind was much simpler for me than half a dozen goals.

That year, I focused on getting every part of my life in order: my work desk and routine, dressers and closets, bills, the garage—everything I could think of. At the end of the year, my world was far from perfect, but it was in much better order than if I hadn’t focused on getting organized.

The following year, I moved organize to the back of the filing cabinet of my mind and focused on the word balance. I attempted to maintain balance in my life while remembering to keep things organized.

2014 brought on the word efficiency followed by health in 2015. Each year, as I add a word, I try to keep the previous words in mind. Thus, building a better, more focused Joy with each passing year without the pressure of setting and fulfilling or not fulfilling goals or resolutions.

Early in my focus-word journey, I shared the idea with others who told others. Certainly, if I could, I would go back to that DJ and share with her how that one concept she shared with her listeners on that cold winter commute has changed how I and so many others approach the new year and our lives.

In 2009, Andy Andrews wrote a short, yet powerful read called The Butterfly Effect, How Your Life Matters. Andy’s book is based on the theory presented in 1963 by scientist Edward Lorenz. He hypothesized that a butterfly flapping its wings would move molecules of air, which would move more molecules of air, and so on, which, over time, might start a hurricane on the other side of the world. The point is that everything we do affects the world in some way. Everything we do matters.

Six months ago, with the help of my friend Kathy, I started this blog. My intent was twofold: to gain experience writing, which will help me in writing my book Finding Joy, and to make a difference in the lives of those who read my stories. What I didn’t expect was how much your support would affect me. The simple acts of reading, commenting, encouraging, and passing along my web address to others have inspired me to do more, to keep flapping my butterfly wings.

Today I write this post to say thank you for your support. Thank you for flapping your wings, for making a difference, for changing the world. After 12 years of focus words, my word for 2024 is in fact: FOCUS. I intend to focus on writing Finding Joy and this blog. But more importantly, I want to focus on you. If there is anything I can do to support you, please let me know. May 2024 be all that you hope for and more.

            What are your thoughts on new year’s resolutions, focus words, and the butterfly effect? Please comment below.