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Thursday, August 18, 2016

The better life challenge

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Like most of us, I want to be happier. Whether it’s waking up with more spark or going to bed more satisfi ed with my day, I want to open my life to the opportunity for greater joy. As such, I love to read books about happiness. My writer pal Gretchen Rubin has written a few of those, and in one of them she recommends a small, powerful idea that has taken hold to become a big, strong force in my own life. Th at idea is to choose a word each and every year that represents the year you have in front of you. Rather, to choose a word for your year. (Oh, and take a cue from Gretchen: years don’t need to start in January.)

Choose one single word that imbues the type of year you wish to have, one word that can serve as a guidepost for what you want in the season to come. A singular word you can always harken back to in moments of darkness and doubt. One word that informs your decisions, crystalizes your passions and priorities, and embodies you—the new you!—in the months ahead. Depending on the type of year you seek, there are many words that can do the trick. Words like Move, Pause, Breathe, Dance, Less, Family, Health,


Travel, and Choose all hold a certain special sauce. The guidelines are simple. The word can be a verb or a noun. It can be a long word or a short word. But it is key that the word brings together everything you fervently hope to live and breathe in the year to come. One word to inform and synthesize the year you have ahead of you. One word to mean everything you want the year to be, and one word that will help serve as a guiding light when times get tough and you’re not clear on where your priorities are.

A few years ago, my word of the year was Rest. It was a word that meant the world to me in that season of my life. I was harried and overwhelmed from a few too many years of corporate globetrotting, and I needed a daily reminder to do less. And so I did. Although my Rest might not have been as restful as the Rest that some might be able to enjoy (I saw nary a beach that entire year), my word still served as a key force in getting me to slow down. It helped


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