Words for 2018

dictionary-1619740_1280You may have noticed on Twitter and elsewhere that folks have started selecting a single word on which to reflect and work in the coming year. Seen as an alternative to traditional start-of-the-year resolutions (which typically are broken quickly), people have taken to Twitter to share their word using the #oneword2018 or #oneword hashtags. Typically a blog post or brief description of the word choice is provided as well. In some cases users created an infographic to share how their word will apply to the coming year.

A valued education colleague, Dr. Bernard Bull, has selected three words for a similar purpose the past several years. His recent post highlights his choice of words and how they relate to his life and work for 2018.

I do appreciate this approach to setting targets for the coming year. Standard resolutions are not useful in changing behavior and lead to frustration very early in the new year. However, focusing on some words provide meaningful aspirations but also allow room for grace when we fail. We always have tomorrow to strive for these life standards.

For me, one or three words are not enough. Perhaps I could wrap these aspirations around a single word that is my focus, but rather than shoehorn (does anyone even know what this is any more?) my thoughts into that single word, I have selected five for the coming year. Here are those words and a brief explanation of each:

Faithfulness: First and foremost, I seek an ever-increasing faithfulness to God — to the one who has redeemed me and has prepared heaven for me one day. It is out of thankfulness for what He has done for me that I will strive for greater faithfulness. This word is one reason that a focus of words is superior to a focus on resolutions. This is an impossible standard to fulfill, but the grace granted through forgiveness provides me the opportunity to embrace a fresh start each day. Basking in the grace of God is a focus for 2018. In addition, faithfulness in my roles as husband, father, educator, friend, etc. are connected to this word. During the past year I have also become more faithful with exercise, for which I am thankful. Faithfulness in 2018 also includes embracing better and more regular patterns of sleep and rest so that I am able to give my all at school, church, and home.

Finances: This has probably been a more casual focus for me than it should have been. My goal is to be far more laser-focused on personal finances this year, not for my sake, but for my family and, even more importantly, for my ability to share with others.

Explore: As I embrace aging I do not went to lose a sense of wonder and curiosity about this world. Therefore, exploration will be an attribute I pursue this year. Areas of exploration include:

  • New learning and education models and strategies and exploring possibilities for applying these models and strategies.
  • New opportunities for service to others through staff development facilitation, conference leadership, a potential new Facebook group and podcast, creating education reflection groups, etc.
  • Exploring the Denver area — sites, parks, hikes, history, etc.
  • Seeking out music, events, drama, etc., that will expand my perspectives and viewpoints.
  • Discovering new technologies that may be used with my students to enhance learning and productivity.
  • Embracing new classroom strategies, recognizing that some may fail to be effective, but all attempts will be part of continuing to grow as a professional.
  • Continue to regularly read. In 2017 I completed 36 books. I don’t wish to tie myself to a specific number, but I certainly hope that I can again read an average of at least two books a month in the coming year.

Selflessness: This word is certainly tied to Faithfulness, but because it is so easy in this world to allow selfishness and ego to set in, I want to remind myself to put others first at work, in the home, and in life.

Writing: I have had writing as a objective in the past, this is something I have not always embraced consistently. The urge to write and share thoughts on the intersection of faith, education, and technology continues to be there, but the discipline has not always followed, Still, since I still have the longing to do this more and better, I want to give this a chance in 2018. To that end, one short term goal is to create 10-15 posts for this blog in January. Some of the posts may be very short, but I seek to provide every opportunity for the discipline of writing to hold for the future. In addition, I will be looking at creating a Facebook group and/or starting a podcast to further the sharing of ideas and learning.

There they are — my 2018 words. Help hold me accountable to them, FaithEdTech community!

Have you selected words for goals and aspirations for the coming year? Feel free to share them as a comment to this post or as a link to where they are shared. Let’s learn and grow together in 2018!

Happy New Year everyone!

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