A few years back, a favorite work colleague, Ben, introduced me to the concept of declaring a personal word of the year.  This is a nice change of pace from the typical New Year’s resolution.  So this year, I’ve decided to give it a shot.

… and my word of the year is flexibility!

In typical dorky dad fashion, I decided to encourage the rest of my household to do the same.

Sam, 9, quickly landed on calm.  It literally took him less than 10 seconds to boldly and smoothly make his decision.  To say I was proud of his choice is a humongous understatement.  I was pleasantly shocked by the maturity of his decision.  Wow… maybe, just maybe, we are doing OK at this parenting thing.

Unlike Sam, Jennie stalled on her decision for a few days before finally declaring graduate in a determined, slightly annoyed voice.  The determination fueled by the capstone paper being worked on during her declaration. The annoyance driven by the continual harassment of a bald-headed husband insistent on her picking a word.

And then there was Daniel.  Our 6-er going on 7 has waffled a few times on his choice.  This comes as no surprise considering his goldfish has had no less than 27 names.  His first choice for word of the year… is.  No, that’s it… IS.    He quickly morphed his choice to the ever so trendy BB8.  After a couple days, he told his brother and me that he wanted to change his word of the year to “trynewanddifferentfoods.”  Gotta love it!

OK, now back to flexibility.

For the last two months, I’ve been a prime example of the antithesis – stubbornly running everyday and being painfully reminded of my deteriorating limberness.

On January 1st, my running streak ended with no regrets.  It served its intended purpose of keeping me on my feet over the holidays and I really enjoyed the challenge.  On January 3rd, early morning stretching / yoga began with plans to continue daily.  If I miss a day or two… oh well, I’m flexible.

I have running goals in mind for the year.  Though I’d like to run a sub 3 hour marathon this year, a 3:05 will do or a 3:07.  I’m not going to sweat it. I’ll train hard, but will also enjoy the special moments and slower pace of training runs with myTEAM TRIUMPH and trail runs with my family.  I’ll also shrug off a training run with no guilt in favor of an impromptu happy hour with friends.

Mentally, this declaration means being OK with getting knocked off routine or whatever my focus is presently on – whether that be writing, working, or sleeping.  If the kids interrupt me while I am writing, I will strive to replace a bark and scowl, with sincere interest and a smile.

Socially, less judgment and more open-mindedness are in order.  I want to be more like my late friend, Steve, who didn’t have a judgmental bone in his body or judgmental spirit in his soul. This requires tremendous flexibility and grace.

In 2016, flexibility will be at the forefront of my mind – physically, in my running, and in my being.  There is good reason why palm trees survive the craziest of storms.

The flexible are preserved unbroken. ~ Lao Tzu in Tao Te Ching

Oh, one last thing… Daniel’s word is back to BB8 and his fish is named Chase today.  Talk about flexibility!

What’s your word for 2016?  Feel free to declare it here 🙂

6 thoughts on “2016 Word of the Year

  1. Mark, I love your word idea! I think I’ll use PERSEVERANCE
    I don’t have the words like you, great writing by the way, but this year I will persevere. Thanks for sharing Mark and sending motivation my way!

  2. Good for you. I used to be quite rigid with my training schedule/ pace sessions etc. but recently I’ve kinda let that go and while I still run, I’m more relaxed about it & have remembered how to have fun with it and just enjoy it more again. It’s so easy to forget about that side of things when you become so focused on goal times etc but really it should be about what you get out of it. Hope you enjoy your new flexibility 🙂 Oh, and I would be out-of-this-world-ecstatic if I ever ran a 3.07 marathon…very impressive!

  3. I think my word for the year is Change. I need some change and I hoping by declaring my word that will help make it real and help me to accept it and move on it. Thanks Mark I think the word of the year is just as good as goals for the year!

  4. Mark great idea. My word is GRACE. As in God Shed His Grace on Thee! I gave each person in my Family a journal and challenged them to before climbing in bed each night, take a minute to reflect on their day and write down where they might have witnessed God’s Grace that day. To see the good that happens every day. Every day is not always good, but there is always Good in every day😃

    1. Hey Jim – Awesome perspective, insights, and outlook. I really appreciate you sharing and really like the journal gift idea and challenge. Thanks for bringing some Good to my day!!

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