My one word of advice for 2023

By Jill D. Miller | January 1, 2023

Jill Miller

By this time, New Year’s Day has come and gone. If you’re like most of us, you either neglected to make any 2023 resolutions or you did make one and have already broken it.
Don’t give up now. It’s not too late. Discover the elegant minimalism of choosing one word to set as an intention for the year – a word that sums up who you want to be and how you want to live. This word directs your decisions, guides your goals, and streamlines all the jibber-jabber into a sticky, easy-to-remember focus of the year.
With all the distractions and worries about the world around us, it’s easy to turn into a ball of anxiety, feeling that the sky is falling. Most of these issues are ones that we can do nothing to control.
A few years ago, I shared my soul-crushing concerns at lunch with a dear friend and close adviser. I actually gripped the edge of the table with white knuckles while I explained that was how I’d been feeling – like I was barely holding on. In a sweet, soft way, my friend laid the back of her hands on the table, cupped palms up, to help me understand that you can attract so much more in life from that position than in clutching for what is lacking. 
We talked about letting go of what can’t be controlled and trusting the Divine to provide solutions. From that conversation, I decided on my first one-word resolution: “surrender.”
The word “surrender” certainly doesn’t mean the same thing as “quit.” I realized that the more I tried to force things to go the way I wanted, the worse my stress got, so I had to learn ways to focus on the things I could control, and trust everything would work out for the best. It wasn’t easy. 
A turning point came when something happened that upset me quite a bit. Although the situation wasn’t totally under my control, it happened because of a not-so great choice I’d made. I got angry. I ranted. I cried. I wrung my hands.
I decided to “surrender” the situation and wait and see what happened. As soon as I released my worry and anxiety, the perfect answer came to me in a flash, and I was able to act to avoid the situation completely. I could hear my inner wisdom by stilling the swirling mess of emotions and self-talk. From that point forward, it became easier to stay calm and look for reasonable answers rather than catastrophizing and panicking. There were times when I had to remind myself to surrender, but the more I practiced, the easier it got.
I’m totally sold on the one-word resolution. I encourage you to try this technique no matter which month you get started. It’s not tough to do. Here are some tips:
• Don’t get in a hurry to pick your word. You don’t have to have your word by New Year’s Day or even in January. Take a bit of time to do some soul searching to come up with the word that really means something to you.
• Brainstorm a list of words that symbolize what you want to work on, what you want to accomplish, and mostly what you want to change to have a happier life. What words have meaning for you to help you be the person you want to be to live your best life?
• Narrow it down to one word. There’s a tendency to pick more than one word to fully explain what you mean, but don’t do it. It splits the focus and makes it harder to make real progress. Instead, come up with a single word that best summarizes what you’re thinking through the help of our friend, the thesaurus.
• The word’s meaning can be complex and meaningful only to you. To explain it to others at this point is complicated. Your intention is what matters most. This is all about you.
• Don’t pick a word about how you want others to act. If your concept relies on someone else’s behavior or beliefs, it will not work. Basing our happiness on others’ actions is bound for failure since our behavior is the only thing we can even hope to control.
• Keep your year’s theme front and center. It’s easy to lose focus.
• Be creative. Make a work of art around your word, designing a digital image, or simply writing your word down on an index card or sticky note. Put your visual reminder on your computer, car, mirror, journal, calendar, or other places you visit frequently. 
• Make it fun. One family makes choosing their words a New Year’s tradition. They get together and create artwork around their word and share it with the rest of their family. The family members support each other throughout the year and help them make progress toward their focus.
• Don’t overthink it. Go with your gut. Just do it!
This technique works better for me than anything else I’ve tried, and it can work for you too. And – if you tell me your word, I’ll tell you mine. Just email me at jill@finishingschoolformodernwomen. I’d love to hear from you. What’s your word? 
Jill D. Miller is a business consultant who created the Finishing School for Modern Women in 2015 to teach women empowerment classes