What’s the One Word?

Categories Growing, Learning, Thinking

I’ve been thinking a lot about my One Word for 2014 – Focus.

(Just to get this out of my brain, I have to admit that saying that I’m going to focus on having more Focus is really messing with my head. OK, let’s try to move on.)

I chose this for my One Word in 2013. I may or may not have done a whole lot with it. I think I may have gained some focus in some areas of my life, but most assuredly not all. I think the reason that I only dabbled at gaining more focus in my life is that I didn’t really think through the way I wanted my One Word to play out over the course of the year. Rather than being too narrow, my One Word concept was far too broad.

Focus on what? Work on having more focus since as an ADHDer I have a very hard time doing just that? Focus on my marriage? On healthy eating? On losing weight or gaining more spiritual insight? Focus on being a good parent? Focus on keeping the house in order? There were (and always are) so many ideas swirling around in my head that needed to be brought into focus or needed to be focused upon (yes, the preposition…move along) that I couldn’t even begin to choose a place to begin.

Feeling confused? Like you might be caught in a vicious circle of thought? Yeah…welcome to my world.

So maybe I did some work on Focus. I did write quite a few posts with that One Word in mind. See?

Or maybe I really didn’t begin at all. Maybe those ideas just kept swirling around all the time like they always do. Maybe they just sort of hovered and flittered in the back of my mind and when I caught sight of one out of the corner of my mind’s eye, I’d follow it for a bit. “Ooh, look, there are five piles of things to file on my desk. I should focus on getting the paperwork off my desk and into files.” or “Oh, hey, I never finished that book. I should focus on reading more regularly.” or “Wow, the clutter in this house is out of control. I should focus on de-cluttering for ten minutes a day.”

This is the world inside my head. This is the life I live on the outside, too. And so you can easily see why Focus was my One Word. And you can also see why Focus still needs to be my One Word. I guess my reason for choosing it again is that I am not finished with it yet. Or maybe it isn’t finished with me…we’ll see how this unfolds.

As I’ve thought about my One Word over the last few weeks, I came across this article at the OneWord365.com blog. I think it’s exactly what I needed. It talks about seeing your One Word as sort of an umbrella concept, and then dividing the umbrella into different sections – panels of fabric, if you will. Now this is starting to take shape.

But then I realized I was going to need one hell of an umbrella. I need to focus on my health, my marriage, my daughter, my housekeeping efforts, my relationships with friends and family, my finances, my faith and spirituality, my job, my RA maintenance, my ADHD symptoms… I need a golf-sized umbrella size at least. Maybe even a beach umbrella.

After about two or three days feeling frustrated that there were once again far too many parts to this project, I remembered what we’ve been doing with Kidzilla and her ADHD behaviors. Stop trying to deal with it all at once. It’s too much. Choose the two or maybe three things that need the most immediate attention, and focus only on them for now.

That’s the answer.

I don’t know what my particular areas are going to be yet. This is as far as I’ve come in the process of making this One Word work for me. But that is huge progress. So I’m going to think about that little umbrella for a few more days and see what ideas emerge as the major categories under my Focus umbrella.

Until then, do what makes this blog really come alive – let’s talk! Have you chosen a One Word for 2014? How did you choose your word? Have you made any traditional-style resolutions for this year? What are you doing to stick with them?

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Mama’s Losin’ It

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

18 thoughts on “What’s the One Word?

  1. The world inside your head sounds like the one inside mine, too. Too much swirling makes for too much to do. You’ve got the right idea of breaking your intentions into smaller parts. This is how I approach the New Year, usually. I love the idea of a new start, but the reality is that there are too many starting points for me to tackle at once. So I think of the big things, and go from there.

    1. See, this is probably why we like reading each other’s blogs! 🙂

      Yes, you described it perfectly – too many starting points so which one is first/best/most desperate/whatever. Using the big idea and breaking it down seems to be the key.

  2. I think you’re on the right track. Narrowing down and focusing on what’s accomplishable now is an anxiety trick for me, and after all, ADHD and anxiety are closely intertwined.
    I also think the “swirling through the mind” step is essential. So I think last year was still probably productive for you.
    By the way, do you know the blog Wait But Why? You should read this post: http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html
    It had the Dude an me rolling.

    1. That swirling thing happens to me all the time. Honestly, I think it’s just how I think. I do think the year was productive, like you said, but maybe I just kind of needed the whole year to really think about areas of life that need that improved focus. It’s not as simple as needing to pay attention in class or stay focused on a task (although there are days…), but more of the big picture items and being responsible for more people than just myself that are where I have that need for more focus.

      I do not know that blog, but I’m about to go find out…thanks for the link!

  3. Swirling words. I get that feeling. I have no clue what my one word would be but I love your idea of a gigantic Focus Umbrella (ooh and the beach image in my head!!). Thank you for making me think about what word I’d choose. It’s hard! Happy happy 2014!!

    1. Thanks, Essie. That’s a great question to ask.

      I saw that you did a One Word post (haven’t been over to read yet) and I am so excited about how many of my bloggy friends are also doing One Words this year! It just makes it feel like it’s right, you know? Like there’s a positive forward motion in the air somehow.

  4. I know what it is like to get caught in a whirlpool of thoughts. It gets scary in my brain sometimes, too.

    This year my only resolution is to continue with my reading challenge. I’m not going crazy – I have pledged to read this year the same number that I read last year, mainly to prove it wasn’t a fluke. I’m also hoping to add in more non-fiction (last year I only 1 non-fiction work).

    1. I saw your reading challenge – I think that’s a great idea. I have managed to lose my reading habit over the last several busy years of life. I’d really like to make a sincere effort to intentionally take time to read more for pleasure. I read all the time – but it’s not usually just leisure reading or what I choose.

  5. I get the swirling in my head, too. Focusing on just one thing is so hard, because life is just soooo much…everything all the time. I wish you luck with this.

  6. hmm, perhaps it would help to think about focus in its opposite form – distractions. Maybe you want to think about focus in terms of getting rid of distractions rather than being more specific about what to focus on. That’s what most of life is anyway – focusing on several different things depending on the situation of the moment. At least that’s the way I look at it. Distractions on the other hand are bad in that they take you away from those important things you should be focusing on. I don’t know if this makes sense or not so I don’t know if my comment is helping or not.

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