My One Word for 2014

If you had to choose a word–one single solitary word–to represent your hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the new year, what word would you choose?

A word to live out.  A prophesy over the steps you’ll take and the dreams you’ll seize.

Last Year

LEAP!

This time last year, I chose the word, LEAP.

And leap through 2013 I did!

I leapt from the safety of WordPress.com to the great unknown of WordPress.org.  And I couldn’t be happier about that decision.

I leapt back onto the theatre stage again after several years off.  It felt good to be under the hot lights again.  To put on someone else’s shoes for a while.  Walk around in them a bit.

I leapt into a new decade, turning 30 this past March.  And I have never felt more sure of myself or my leaping than ever before.  For that growth, I am grateful.

I leapt onto a cruise ship for the first time this past May, conquering some of my greatest fears in doing so.  And not only did I survive to tell the tale, but I dare say I thrived….

I leapt to attend my first blog conference this August.  The butterflies in my stomach quickly gave way to warm fuzzies as blog buddies transformed into real-life buddies!  And I cannot wait for Haven 2014.

I leapt from referring to myself as “a person with a blog” to “a blogger” sometime around my first blogiversary.  For some reason, that felt like a big deal.  Bloggers, maybe this resonates?

I leapt to entertain you all by singing a song for you on YouTube.  To be silly.  To be me.  To do something that both terrifies and thrills me all at once.

I leapt to embrace an age-old dream of dying my hair fire-engine red.  And I did it!  (Peek-a-boo style.)  And I have no regrets.

My latest leap...Red Peek-a-Boo Highlights!  (Because life is short.)

And so that I never forget this past year and all the leaping it entailed, I have that one word spelled out in a beautiful wire necklace, hand-crafted by my friend Johanna.  She lives in Germany–we’ve never met in person–yet she made and mailed me a necklace; further evidence that I’ve encountered some of the most kind, generous, and loving individuals through blogging.  So, here’s a random idea: maybe we need to watch less of the news and hang out on blogs more.  It’s just a thought….

Handmade Wire Leap Necklace by Johanna from Dear Life We Need to Talk!

This Year

This year, I choose BALANCE.  Or rather, BALANCE chose me.

My One Word for 2014: Balance. And how I aspire to achieve it! via thinkingcloset.com

Sometime around this fall, when I was starting to feel really overwhelmed by my overflowing email inbox and the plethora of blog comments I had not yet responded to and blog post deadlines I was struggling to meet, I thought to myself,

“Something needs to change.  If I want my blog to be sustainable, and I do, I need to change the way I’m doing things.  I need more balance.  And since I’m my own boss here, it’s up to me to create that balance.”

And I think it was then that I knew what my “one word” for the next year would be.

Yet this balance I crave?  It does not come naturally.  Remember, I’m a perfectionist.  A people-pleaser.  With an “all or nothing” personality.  I’ve grown accustomed to going the extra mile to create a really out-of-this-world project, even if it means pulling an all-nighter or ignoring the laundry for a week or (cough) three.  But it does not lead to healthy living.  Au contraire!

And while I don’t expect zen-like peace every waking hour (nice though it would be), I do know that there are some changes I can make to my life to create more balance.  For instance:

a morning routine that involves prayer and Bible reading, prior to even glancing at my email inbox!

daily distraction-free, timed writing

regular exercise (because we’ve fallen off the wagon in a major way…and I’d love to get back to our 3x/week routine)

get back into the habit of menu planning (just need to fix a few parts to my Menu Planner to Rule Them All that fell apart after a violent slam of the freezer door into the wall, and we are ready to rock)

working smarter, not harder (i.e. scheduling social media and automating my daily newsletter)

delegating responsibilities with The Silhouette Challenge Facebook Group I coordinate (and thanks to my Support Team of 6 great gals, I’ve already started to do that!)

build more margin into my blog posts by posting 2-3 posts/week instead of 3-4; also, working more than a day ahead on blog drafts!

boundary management a.k.a. “the art of saying no” (which is one of my greatest struggles, perhaps second only to my sweet-tooth struggle!)

taking intentional breaks where I “unplug” completely (it was such a valuable exercise for me this past summer)

A lot of the “work” of this goal for balance is done through developing new habits.  And that’s never been easy for me.  (Discipline is not my strong suit.)  But I have hope you can teach an old dog new tricks.  Especially if that old dog is fed up enough with the way things are and is yearning for a change.  Like this old dog is.

So, here is my new year’s prayer: for the strength to relinquish old habits and the perseverance to commit to new ones.  Even though they may go against my natural inclinations.  Even though every bone in my body may resist it.  Because I know it will be good for me in the long run.  Kind of like spinach.

"Life is a balance of holding on and letting go." -Rumi

I’ll be back again soon with my Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2014.  And this year holds some BIG dreams!  Although I hinted at many of them here, I’ll be sharing more juicy details about exactly what I’m itching to accomplish in this brand new year.  In the meantime, feel free to look back at my Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2013.  What a difference a year makes, right?

Your Turn

What about you, dear reader?  If you had to proclaim one single word for your 2014 year, what would it be?

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Lovely comments so far...

  1. says

    I love the word you chose (or chose you) for this year coming… I feel like could be min too! I know pretty well the feeling of opening gmail and find so mani emails in the morning that the onlyn thing I can do is closing it!
    I think my word (that goes hand in hand with your) could be Organize…. I’m a perfectionist me too and I hate it, but I’m a people-pleaser me too…. Why can’t we be a little more Selfish, from time to time?
    Hugs from Italy,
    MammaNene @ SergerPepper.com

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Glad to know I’m not the only people-pleaser perfectionist out there struggling with the overflowing email inbox! Thanks for commiserating, MammaNene. And I’m with you on the word “Organize.” It goes hand-in-hand with “Balance,” doesn’t it? In fact, I spent over an hour last night creating my own weekly planner printable because I feel like seeing my entire week on one page will help me stay on top of things better and achieve that balance I so long for. Hopefully I’ll be sharing it here on the blog later this week.

      Hugs BACK, my Italian bloggerina friend! (I’m 25% Italian myself. Smile.)

  2. says

    I am SO glad you like this necklace, Lauren! Also, which day of March is your birthday, and why have I not written that down? Gaa! Please tell me? :)

    I love your word for 2014; when you told me about having a word for the year, I was inspired to try to think of one as well, but I haven’t really found one that has completely resonated.. bouncing around between balance, intent, and persistence.. or maybe a two-worder, follow through? It’s such a difficult decision, I wish I had one that really made sense and fits well, like yours definitely does! Maybe I’ll have to do some thesaurus searching..hmm

    Anywho, may your year bring lots of balance & harmony, and I can’t wait to see your goals! :)
    xx Johanna
    Dear Life, We Need To Talk

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Like it? More like LOVE it! Seriously, I think I wore it for an entire week straight in December. Had to really milk those last official days of “leaping” for all they were worth, ya know? (Though you know me. I plan to leap until I physically cannot leap any longer. And I’ll rock that necklace all the livelong day.)

      And you’re so sweet to think of my b-day. It’s March 19th to be exact! Hard to believe it’s a few months away. Ack!

      And it’s true – – choosing just ONE word is a bit of an endeavor; but I suppose I have consolation in the fact that there will hopefully be many years ahead and many more words to follow. But there certainly are no rules to this “game” so by George, you seize those two-or-three words for 2014 and make them your own, Johanna! The world is your oyster.

      Here’s to BOTH of us finding balance, intent, persistence, harmony, and loads of laughs in year 2014!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Oooo. Focus is a good one, Claire. Especially when there are so many things clamoring for our attention these days. I hope your 2014 is a rich year in which you find that focus you so desire! xo

  3. Crystal says

    Balance is something I struggle with being a mom of 2, wife, family organizer, and my job. Balance is a wonderful word.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Not sure how people juggle it all…especially when there are kids in the mix! Seriously, you’re a rockstar, Crystal! I hope you can cling to the hope of “balance” as well…and find it in small, practical ways, that, when you look back, you find were actually huge, life-changing ways.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      You made me literally lol with your comment, Emily. And I had already read it once before in my email…but I had to chuckle at the irony of it all! It’s true. Already I find myself filling my schedule with lunch dates and obligations and special projects…all good things…but when you see it all together on my weekly planner, they’re not helping me achieve that balance I long for.

      But if you have to choose a second word with “balance,” what better than “kindness?” You embody kindness in every single interaction, Emily. Seriously, I think you need to be a kindness ambassador. You’re about as kind as they come!

      Thanks for your endless support and sweet friendship over the past year. Hoping your 2014 is the best year yet!

  4. Mom L says

    Lauren ~ what a good word!! That was so funny because Dad and I have chosen two words to mark our year …. Balance and Restraint. (Restraint pertains to food intake more than anything, as opposed to on-again, off-again diet plans ~ you know what I mean!)
    I feel like “Balance” in every area of life is essential. Thank you for sharing.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      I love that you and Dad have chosen two words yourselves! (And that Balance is one of them. Great minds…and all that.) Restraint is a great word, too…and one I could benefit from! (Especially when Mom L’s cut-out cookies are within arm’s reach.) Looking forward to the next time we see each other, which will be the first time in 2014! (First of many times, I wager.)

  5. says

    What a lovely post, Lauren! My daughter-in-law just started selling Origami Owl jewelry, and I’ve been wearing one of their dangles that says “Balance” . . . so it was good to see this concept affirmed. Have a lovely 2014 . . . but I know you will! Hugs, Katherine

    • thethinkingcloset says

      No way! That makes me smile to know you’re sporting a “balance” dangle while I sport my “leap” necklace. It feels so serendipitous! Happy New Year to you, Katherine! Hope it’s a year FULL of balance and lots of joy.

  6. says

    That’s awesome! This year, my word is also Balance. I am working to find a better balance between social media and blogging and the other things in my life. I think I got a little sucked into social media towards the end of 2013 and I need to change that.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Balance buddies! I think we were both probably amping things up this past fall (perhaps after our inspirational FL Blog Con!) but then hit a wall around the holidays. Good for you for cutting back on social media a bit; I need to do the same where Pinterest and FB are concerned. I can get lost on those sites for hours. They’re both such blackholes for time!

      Here’s to helping each other find that balance we crave in year 2014!

  7. says

    Such a great post Lauren!! I love the New Year. It really is my time to reflect on what has been going great and things I need to change! I love your idea of focusing on one word and having that be your mantra all year. This has me thinking of what my word would be! I hope you find your balance in 2014 :)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      I love this time of year, too, Tori! Though I’m struggling to get back into the swing of blogging, I’m really relishing in this time of reflection and goal-setting.

      And I’m glad this post has gotten you thinking about your “one word.” I can be so scatterbrained, it can really just help me to have ONE WORD that really focuses all the other dreams and goals I have. It grounds me. Hopefully you’ll find the same to be true for you.

      Thanks for your well wishes, friend. And I look forward to seeing how Lil Mrs. Tori continues to thrive in year 2014!

  8. says

    What a wonderful word for 2014! I can definitely appreciate it. My work is either SUPER BUSY or deaaaaad slooooooowwwww. So when we are slow, I have lots of energy for blogging and when we are busy, no energy. :( I just need to let go of the blog when I’m in these times and then really take advantage of the slow times.

    Finding balance with work, blogging and family definitely sounds like a good 2014 goal. Especially since we are trying to buy a house and get married. Eeek! What a year I have planned for 2014!!! I just need to take deep breaths and roll with the punches. :)

    OH, and I TOTALLY love your red peek a boo streaks. I have always wanted to dye my hair or do dreads or something out there. I didn’t do it when I was younger and now I feel like I need to maintain a somewhat professional look for work. Boo!

    Can’t wait to see where The Thinking Closet goes in 2014. Hugs my friend! :D

    ~ Bethany

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Yes, your 2014 is going to be full, but also RICH! Bethany, despite the mayhem that will most definitely ensue at times (as it is apt to do around major life events), I have faith that you’ll approach it all with grace and perspective. Just promise to stop and smell the roses – – to take stock of these monumental moments and be present. I remember having to intentionally do that on our wedding day; and I’m so glad I did because those are the moments that stick out to me most vividly!

      And thanks for the affirmations about my hair change! It’s funny, I was so nervous about the change at first, and now that it has happened, I want to go even MORE red next time around. (I suppose this is what happens to people who end up with a lot of tattoos? It’s addicting!) And yeah, up until this past year, I always felt I had to stay “professional” for work. Hopefully you’ll have a season of life or a job that allows you to rock those dreads or that hair dye! I know you’d wear them well.

      Hugs to you and best wishes for Bethany the ngnrdgrl in 2014! Woot woot!

  9. says

    I LOVE your red do! How fun! Great look for the big 3-0! I hear you on the “person who blogs” vs blogger thing. I’ve just started referring to myself as a blogger as well. I think it’s commitment. We start blogs not sure if it’s going to work or anyone is going to read, so therefore just a person who blogs. As we get a community and get more into our blogs, we become bloggers. :)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thank you, Scarlett! I was worried that I was “too old” for this sort of thing, but my sister quickly shook that silly thought from my brain and encouraged me to go for it! (And I’m so glad I did.)

      And thanks for affirming that whole “person who blogs” vs. blogger thing…that it’s actually “a thing.” You’re right; in the beginning, I wasn’t sure that the whole blogging would take. But I’d say that by 4 months in, I could tell I was in it for the long haul. It just took me 9 more months before I mustered up the courage to own it in public places. Funny how that is…I feel like there’s a blog post waiting to be written on that subject. Thanks for getting my gears turning!

  10. Tanya says

    What a great post Lauren. I have so many, but if I had to choose just one single word, it is going to have to be “POSITIVE” I need to be more positive…I WANT to be more positive. It’s so easy to be negative about EVERYTHING, but I want to find the poisitive in every situation. Along with that is THANKFUL.
    Happy New Year Lauren….here’s to being more balanced and positive!!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thank you, Linda! Undoubtedly, God has some exciting twists and turns up his sleeve for us both; my plan is to enjoy the ride! Hugs coming your way….

  11. says

    Love the highlights. Believe it or not I was thinking about doing something rad with my hair today. Now I am sure I will. My word “YES”.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ooooo! I’m so excited about this hair decision you made. Did you go for it? Did you post photos? YES! I support you and your rad hair decisions all the way, Sharon!

  12. says

    Fabulous post, Lauren! I think that your word choice is one that will lead to savouring the moments and enjoying all of the successes that you have ahead of you.

    And your hair is awesome! Great “leap”!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Hoping your words are a prophesy over this year ahead! (You have a way with words, yes you do.)

      And thanks re: the hair choice! It was an addicting leap…now I want to go even MORE wild! (Uh oh. Lol.)

  13. Mark says

    “Leap” year was an incredible success in 2013, and I have no doubt “balance” will be in 2014! My word will be “Intentional”.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks, buddy. You helped me with so many of those leaps…and already, you have helped me take steps toward balance. Here’s to being intentional TWO-gether! ;-) #cheesfest2014

  14. says

    Balance is such a good word choice. And not to mention oh so important! I am excited to watch your blog grow in balance this 2014 and I was honored to see it make leaps and bounds in 2013! You are such an inspiration to me, girl!!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Dusty, you’re a true blue friend you know that? And I appreciate how your comments always speak such truth and love into my life. That’s Jesus in you! Major hugs coming your way. Oh, and I’m SO excited for your year, missy. It’s going to be a BIG one! Whoo hoo!

  15. says

    Balance is so what I need in 2014. I just poured out my heart and soul and guts in a blog post on this very topic set to post tomorrow morning, but I feel that you expressed it all much more elegantly here :) Thank you for sharing – I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for The Thinking Closet!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Okay, I don’t know what you were talking about; your post was AMAZING. And if our posts were people, they’d be sisters, cut from the same cloth, but each bringing their unique spin to things. You keep pouring out that heart and soul in your writing, Brynne, because you’re onto something fantastic over there at The Gathered Home. And I’m excited to come along for the ride!

  16. says

    Balance was my word the past TWO years. I struggled, but I finally got a balance established. This year our word is “together”, as a couple, a family, friends, one to one time. We are going to focus on activities that bring us together.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      I might need it for two years in a row, as well…at least, at this rate! That’s exciting though to hear about your word for 2014: together. I love that your word opens its arms to touch others. How inspiring! Blessings to you and your family this new year!

  17. says

    Amen, my friend! I was “this” close to choosing “balance” as my word but ultimately ended up with “love” in hopes that by turning my eyes outward, the balance will come more naturally. We shall see! You certainly knocked “leap” out of the park, and I’m sure you’ll do the same with “balance” this year! Happy Monday!

    ~Abby =)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Balance buddies! And you can still totally strive for balance even if your official word is “love.” It will definitely connect with balance. (And hopefully my attempts toward balance will allow me to better love my husband, my friends and family, my God, and myself. Neat how it’s all intertwined.)

      Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, Abby! Hugs!

  18. says

    I think we must be feeling the same way right now. I’m having such a hard time finding balance. I, like you, am an “all or nothing” kind of person. There have been so many times in the past couple of months that I have seriously considered pulling the plug on this whole blogging thing. If I can’t do it all, then I better just quit, right? I know that isn’t the answer though. Just gotta find that balance! Great word for 2014, and I hope we both find it this year!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Yeah, there’s definitely a happy medium we need to strike…we’re just not there yet. But I think awareness if the first step. And then taking practical steps in the right direction. I’ve started plotting out each hour of the day which helps. But the hard part is sticking to the schedule I lay out. I blow myself off too much! Baby steps, right?

      Yes, here’s to hoping we both find the balance we’re looking for in this new year! Hugs to you, friend.

  19. says

    I love your word choice, or the word that choose you! It’s good to slow down, say no and prioritize sometimes. That needed break allows you to enjoy and pay attention to all of the other important parts of your life that make you whole. You’re so talented. I’m sure you’ll succeed in whatever you put your mind on doing. Happy New Year friend and looking forward to seeing lots of good things from you and your blog in 2014!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ooo, I love how you put it, Wendi: “That needed break allows you to enjoy and pay attention to all of the other important parts of your life that make you whole.” Well said! And there definitely is a whole-ness that I feel I’m lacking right now…but hopefully headed towards. Thanks for being such a supportive blog buddy and real life buddy! I’m so glad we got to meet in 2013…and I’m looking forward to more quality Wendi time in 2014!

  20. Jyo says

    For me its “Believe”. The self belief that i will do something that my mind sets for. and thank you so much for sharing so many inspiring stories. I love them.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      You’re welcome Jyo! It is my joy! Thank you for being a listening ear. I love the word you chose for your year. Self-belief it so important for conquering the dreams and goals we set for ourself! You can do it!

  21. says

    I need to decide on a word … just so that Johanna can make me a necklace! ;)
    Balance is a great choice. And all of your ideas and goals to live more balanced are equally great and I also need to remember them daily! Thanks!!
    <3

    Love, Midsommarflicka

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha. (I bet you she’ll make you a necklace if you ask her. She’s just that kinda girl!)

      Thanks for the affirmations about “balance.” It’s so easily to get off track, isn’t it? Take on too much, rest too little, and lose sight of what this is all for. I know you have a sense for the bigger picture…and I think meditating on that this year will help all these minor details feel…well…less major. Which is good and right.

      Okay, enough philosophizing. Hope you have a wonderful remainder of your weekend, Mid! And the happiest of 2014s!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks, Kara! I’m excited to be intentionally focused on it…because I very badly need more balance in my life. You know how crazy this blogging business can get! ;-)

  22. says

    Balance is ALWAYS a wonderful thing to focus on, but I love where you are choosing to focus your efforts in finding that balance. And I have to say, that prayer at the end was so lovely! You took some great big leaps in 2013 so I have no doubts you’ll be just as successful in being balanced this year. All the best to you this year, my dear friend!!!

  23. says

    Balance…I have a feeling a lot of use would do well to choose it as our word of the year. Especially me!

    Your goals sound like solid ones that will do quite a bit to bring your life more into balance. It’s hard at times to remember that the world is not going to end if it takes you a few days (or a week!) to respond to a non-urgent email or comment. Those quick 10 minutes at the computer can very quickly turn into several hours. I’m excited to see what 2014 has in store for both you personally and your blog. Best of luck!

    Cindy

  24. Marmie says

    It was fun to read the review of your LEAP-year and now to see how you plan to implement BALANCE. You’ve got me thinking and I am leaning toward CONFIDENCE or BOLDNESS! Basing my confidence/boldness in the Lord, I want to be less fearful when it comes to work and ministry.

  25. says

    What? That’s MY word!! You totally stole it! Just kidding…I never blogged about it, but it IS the word I chose, too! It’s crazy how much of our lives goes into this whole blogging business. My goal for this year is to strike a better balance. I can’t wait to see what you bring us this year. It’s your fun personality that shines through that makes me open your posts in my inbox :)

  26. Jessica says

    Beautiful post, Lauren! Since I’ve been working on my own balance, I’ve missed visiting your blog the past month or two and I’m so glad to come back to such an inspiring post. I think you are wise in knowing that starting your day in prayer is the best way to come back to balance. I’m so proud of you and all you accomplished last year and would agree that you are definitely now a blogger and not just an awesome girl with a blog. My word of the year would be Serve. For years I’ve served in my family and now that God has given us the gift of time by bringing my children back home to me for homeschooling, I desire to see the whole lot of us using that time together to serve others. You had a great example of that heart last year when you helped transform the office at the …was it adoption agency or kids’ home? Thanks for sharing your heart with all of us!

  27. Jessica says

    p.s. another word would be finish…
    Like the email draft to you I just came across from November 13. Shall I just send it now unfinished?! Hoping to reconnect soon as I work on finish!

  28. says

    Your post really resonates with me. Balance is not the word I chose for 2014 – I chose the word abiding – but balance is what I need in order to accomplish abiding. I have to have time to abide in prayer and in the word and I can’t do that without balancing all my responsibilities and passions.

    I also liked you lists of changes to accomplish your goal and you’ve inspired me to make a similar list.

    Wishing both of us much balance in 2014!

  29. says

    ‘Balance’ sounds like a great word for the year :) I too have an inner perfectionist that sometimes leads me to be too single minded about some things, and overlook others, so I get where you’re coming from on that front! Good luck with your goals!

  30. says

    So there I was, catching up on my reading this morning (I’ve been slacking for a few weeks and I admit I haven’t stopped by for a while – oops), and I was delighted to read your post. Not because of the whole “crud, I may be off-balance” part but because you always manage to illustrate the dichotomy of wanting to do so well for others that the self gets neglected – I think it’s a struggle for a lot of us, and when I try to find that balance again, I end up feeling guilty for telling people “no”, or just putting my work away and taking a break when I know it’s far from finished. But being able to sometimes tell ourselves “yes” is healthy, right? Right. Haha… My word for 2014 is Write. I’m moving in a few months to really give this writing thing a shot, but also to try to write a new ending for myself – the one I really want. I’m hoping the pen will always be mightier than the insecurity… Cheers to 2014 – let’s all go for it!

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