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The change of seasons and my kids' return to school has incited a self-review of the year so far. My initial evaluation leaves me grumbling about wasting my time and wondering what I've been doing these past eight months. Digging deeper, though, I gradually recognize that small accomplishments add up to rewarding experiences.

This year is the second that I have chosen a "word of the year," a practice described here by Ali Edwards,  here by Karen Walrond and here by Christine Kane. In 2011, my word has been TRY. Because I tend to overthink and complicate matters—and because I wanted a sharper focus than what TRY connotes on its own—I outlined five goal areas: try to listen, try to make time [for what’s important], "try a slice," try to connect and try to let go.

Examining these areas, I see that a lot of what I've worked on all year points back to TRY. I've attempted to discern my desired intentions and, based on this foundation, choose my activities and projects. Rather than allowing myself to be overwhelmed by a Big Project, I've tried to approach the project in slices, reminding myself that I don't need to complete the whole shebang … just the slice that's in front of me right now.

The last two goal areas took on lives of their own. When I set out to connect, I had in mind to talk with and get together more often with friends. While I did not accomplish that particular goal, I have made interesting connections on twitter that have enriched my life in ways I would never have predicted. And I've written before about letting go (here and here and even here). When I chose my word in January, I wouldn't have guessed that heavy rains in May would precipitate my letting go of junk I don't need. I wouldn't have imagined that I would be trying to let go of my grandpa's physical presence on earth.

So while I might not have accomplished specific projects I had intended to, my word of the year has helped guide me through my 2011 experiences, and I look forward to what I'll encounter on my path through the rest of the year.

Do you have a word of the year, or a theme or resolution for 2011? Does this time of year prompt you to review or start a fresh habit? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.



Try (c) Heather Koshiol, 2011. (mixed media)