How one word transformed my whole year

Plan, Checklist, Goal, Letter, List, New Year Resolution

Last December, I decided to try naming a word that would define my year. It took me a long time to pick the right one. I went back and forth. Nothing felt right.

After a while thinking about it, I found my word. And it sounds funny now, in light of all this deliberation I’m describing, but the word was CHOOSE.

At the top of a page in my journal, I wrote out the year, 2018, and then below that, I painted big colourful watercolour letters lined with black ink spelling out my word.

Below that, I reminded myself that I could:

  • Choose my thoughts
  • Choose what I consume (food, media, news, books, music)
  • Choose how to move my body
  • Choose who I spend time with
  • Choose my work
  • Choose my words
  • Choose my actions
  • Choose my beliefs
  • Choose how I show up
  • Choose not to fix anyone else

As I wrote these words I was happy. I had everything I could ever have wanted. But I had stopped choosing and when that happens no matter how good things are, we’re not fully alive.

Early in the year, I remember sharing with someone what my word was and they told me CHOOSE wasn’t a powerful word. That I should have picked JOY or something like that. But for me, this word, this reminder, propelled me into one of the most mindful, transformative years of my adult life. So I’m not sure how it could have been any more powerful.

The year that started with the word CHOOSE is ending with the word TRANSFORM. That is the power of taking ownership of every single decision, big and small. That is the power of being the authority in, and the author of, your own life.

“When you make a choice, you change the future.” – Deepak Chopra

Where have you stopped choosing? What might be different in a year if you started choosing differently today?


Hi, I'm Sara!

I'm here to reclaim the term 'midlife' and embrace the power these years offer us.

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About the author

Sara Smeaton

I help you discover the joy and power in midlife and navigate the transitions on your own terms. I am passionate about changing the narrative about aging and am trying to fill the world with profiles of real life people who are thriving and more alive after 40 than ever before. The best is yet to come and there are role models all around us. Book your free 30-minute connection call.

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