My Word of the Year: Focus

It’s resolution time again, that time when people decide to change themselves in some way because the date starts over at 1/1.

I never really did much with resolutions, choosing instead to find new beginnings at any time they strike.

In November, I rediscovered Christine Kane‘s post on choosing a word of the year which I agree feels like a better alternative to resolutions. As I read it, I thought about what my word might be. While trying to find a word that spoke to me I was distracted by some other task and perhaps an hour passed before I realized I had severely veered off topic.

That’s when it came to me: Focus.

The possibilities were exciting, though committing to it for a year seemed daunting. I decided to give it a try, a little usability test of sorts. Deciding to put it to use immediately, I changed the title of my web start page to “FOCUS!” as a helpful nudge. Now, a few weeks in to the trial, I can tell you why this word is working for me.

I tend not to remember things. I think, rather, it’s a product of not paying attention in the first place. If I don’t catch something when I first read or hear it, it’s useless to think I will remember it later. But if I tell myself to focus on being actively present in the moment, I will have a better chance at recalling that information later.

I have bad habits (don’t we all). Sometimes I shake my leg, much to my husband’s irritation. Sometimes I cross my arms in meetings or during conversations likely sending a nonverbal cue that I’m disinterested when really I’m just cold. Sometimes (ok, often) I hunch over my computer, causing myself back pain and the potential for future problems from poor posture. When I catch myself in any of these bad habits now, I tell myself to focus on correcting my behavior. At times I might have to remind myself repeatedly, but over time, I hope these reminders will develop new good habits.

I imagine “focus” will prove helpful in all sorts of ways like strengthening my relationships, avoiding procrastination, finishing one task before starting another, living consciously. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

On a side note, as I just focused on the ache in my neck, I remembered to stretch, thereby relieving the tension. Focus worked. And think of the potential behind “stretch.” Stretching abilities, knowledge, creativity, limits. Maybe that should be my next word.

For now I will focus on focus. One thing at a time. See? It’s working already.

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1 Comment

  1. Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    […] word of the year Last year I chose a word of the year on Christine Kane’s recommendation. The word I chose was focus. My intention was to use that word to help me focus on one thing at a time, to focus on breaking […]


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