My Keyword

For the past two years, I have adopted an annual goal-setting tradition used by my friend and colleague Mary. She begins each year with one word that sets the tone for the coming twelve months.

Last year my word was ‘play.’ Items I attached to play were things I wanted to do just for me that have nothing to do with work or chores; just activities that I think are fun like going to concerts, listening to blues bands in bars, photography, happy hours with young friends and visits to museums. I did a pretty good job of living up to the keyword.

This year, my word was ‘simplify.’ There was/is plenty going on in my life, personally and professionally. I wanted to make my life simpler. That has been more problematic but I did make at least some progress toward simplification.

Where I differ from Mary’s tradition is that I continue each keyword into the next year and beyond. So I am still playing more and continue to work on simplifying my life.

So what is my keyword for 2011? I’ve been thinking about that for a month. Next year will be life-changing for me and it was a challenge to find just one word, preferably an action word, a verb, to set the tone for my next chapter.

Today it hit me: ‘focus.’

For me, focus means concentrating on one life goal at a time instead of the multi-tasking I tend to do. There are two life-changing events coming and a few smaller but significant planned activities and my plan is to focus on those, one at a time whenever possible. They are my A-list. Everything else is B, C or D.

Wish me luck. I’m going to need it.