My watchwords for 2012

I’m not big on new year’s resolutions. Rather, I try to take constant stock of my life and if something needs changed I work on it right then. But as 2011 passed into 2012 I reflected on how much better my life has gotten in the past two or three years. Things have been settled post-divorce for some time now. I’ve taken up several great hobbies (this blog, for instance). I got out of debt. I have a pretty good job and I like my work. I have a nice little home and I enjoy being in it and working on it.


Yet I still find myself looking for things that are wrong and focusing on them. I spent so much time in crisis in about 2000-2006 that it became my default mode, and it’s been hard to shake it. So I’ve decided to focus on enjoying what I have in 2012, discarding useless worries about what isn’t right or perfect in my life. When 80% of my life is fine, why focus inordinately on the 20% that isn’t?

I like what Amy Parmenter wrote recently on her blog about choosing three words that represent the growth she’d like to achieve this year. (Read her three words here.) So I added two other words that I think will help me have a happier 2012.

  • Enjoy. For the reasons cited above.
  • Calm. Because I’m an anxious sort.
  • Health. Because I’m getting older and it takes intentional effort to feel as good as I used to.

What three words might you choose as your focus for 2012?


21 responses to “My watchwords for 2012”

  1. Kurt Avatar

    Do I ever know about going into default mode! Sounds like pretty solid advice-focus on the 80%. I’ll borrow one of your words: enjoy, and add two others in combination: move-on.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Jim Avatar

      “Move on” would have been on my 2011 list, had I kept a list.

  2. ryoko861 Avatar

    I think “Change”, “Inner Peace”,and “Happiness”. Life is short. There’s more to life than just just getting up and doing housework. “Change” is the big word here.

    Glad to see you’re happy and taking control of your life instead of life taking control of you!

    1. Jim Avatar

      “Inner peace” is a good one — a real touchstone.

  3. Scott Palmer Avatar

    It always helps me to remember (what I often forget): That God gave me this life and this world to enjoy and to use for the good. Life is too precious a blessing to waste it in being discouraged, angry, or bitter, and that’s not what God wants for us.

    So my words are:

    1. Joy. Joyfully embrace each moment with which God has blessed me.

    2. Love. Love the people with whom God has blessed me as loved ones, family, and friends.

    3. Truth. Seek truth, right action, and kindness in every moment along the path with which God has blessed me for my own improvement.

    1. Jim Avatar

      If you truly figure out how to joyfully embrace each moment, write a book about it — it’ll be a best seller!

  4. Dani Avatar

    #1 is Focus. Definitely focus.
    I’ve not honed in on the other 2 words yet However, I have a gut feeling that if I work on staying focused, whatever the other 2 words are will be riding Focus’ coat tails, hanging on tightly.

    1. Jim Avatar

      It’ll be interesting to see what other two words Focus brings with it!

      1. Dani Avatar


        1. Jim Avatar

          Be is good. I like be.

  5. Cara Avatar

    Does KICK. MAJOR. ASS. count? :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      Just as long as the ass you’re kicking isn’t mine! :-)

  6. Tori Nelson Avatar

    Cara’s answer wins. Was this a competition? Well, whatever. It stills wins. I like the idea of resolving to ENJOY more. So many folks spend a majority of their time trying to fix and change, and amid all that fixing they miss the good stuff :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      Given Cara’s attitude, I’ll bet she thinks it’s a competition!

  7. zorgor Avatar

    Wow, great thought-provoking post! Three words for me might be:
    路 Relax. I’d be better off less anxious too.
    路 Be confident in what I know I’m good at. Ok that’s more than a word.
    路 Make good, solid effort without striving.

    Just can’t sum those up in single words! :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      Three great areas to focus on. The first two can be Calm and Confident, but the third … I’m not sure English has a word for that concept.

      1. zorgor Avatar

        It’s taken me years to wrap my brain around that one. I’m pretty sure now that what is means could also be said, “do your best, but don’t over-reach”. I think it’s like the 80/20 rule, about realizing the point at which you really have done your best and after which further effort would mostly be waste of time and energy. The exception being I suppose, if it’s an area in which you’re trying to grow… But yeah, have not boiled it down to one word yet! :)

        1. Jim Avatar

          I think there are contexts in which it makes sense to strive. Athletes don’t make the big leagues unless they’ve strived constantly. But they strive with a plan and a purpose.

        2. zorgor Avatar

          Exactly. :) But best to be aware of it and choose when to strive, instead of just wasting energy all the time striving at everything without realizing it.

  8. heavenlyday Avatar

    I have many things on which to focus, so I haven’t chosen any words. But I have enjoyed a number of your posts since I stumbled upon your blog yesterday. The parallels between your life and interests, and my life and interests, are considerable. I was a college radio station DJ in the late 60s, then a DJ on the American Forces Network, then a professional DJ for a few years. I was a yearbook photographer in high school, developing and printing B&W photos in the bathroom at home. I also am greatly attracted to the abandoned infrastructure of our country … roads, railroad rights-of-way, buildings. I’m somewhat older and I thank God I have been lucky in love … my wife and I recently celebrated 36 years of marriage. I greatly appreciate a writer who can write in an articulate, feeling style about so many topics that interest me. Most blogs are not able to keep my attention for very long, but I will be checking in on you regularly.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Why, thank you for saying such nice things about my blog. I hope I’m able to keep your attention with my future posts.

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