How much time do you spend thinking about a specific word that will carry you into a new year?

I never used to have just one defining WORD. Until four years ago. I was impressed to meditate on the word ‘fearless.’ Much of my energy is spent worrying about the what-ifs. I take a situation and draw it out to the worst possible conclusion.

If I have a headache, I’m sure it’s a brain tumor.

If my boss calls and wants me to meet him the following day, I’m sure I’ll be fired.

So, for that one year, I determined to live fearless. In relationships. In writing. In my physical health. At work.

It was a great year! I kept the story I told myself positive rather than negative. Fearless rather than fearful.

Words have power.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

I’ll bet you remember words spoken to you or about you as a child. Some were positive and some not so.

“She’s the pretty one.”

“She’s the smart one.”

“You’re so clumsy.”

“When will you ever learn?”

“Why can’t you be more like your brother?”

“You need to lose (or gain) some weight.”

The words we say to ourselves are even more important than the ones we remember from our childhood. When I spill something, my immediate reaction is, “You’re so clumsy.” But I’m not. Not really. I’ve filled that coffee cup a thousand times, and only spilled it once.

What about you? Do you berate yourself for overcooking a meal, failing a test, bouncing a check? These are isolated incidents and not who you are.

You’re not a bad cook. You aren’t stupid. You can manage your money.

What word will you take into 2020. What word will define your outlook? Will it build you up? Or tear you down?

Jane S. Daly is the author of two nonfiction books and seven novels.

Jane is addicted to coffee, purple pens, and her husband, not necessarily in that order. A self-proclaimed introvert, she enjoys the solitude of riding shotgun in Rigsby, her 37-foot motor home. But when they pull into a new campground, her favorite thing is to make new friends and find hangouts featuring local musicians. Her fantasy involves writing lyrics for country music songs and hearing them played on the radio. In the meantime, she’ll stick to writing novels. And seeing as much of the country as possible.