Resolutions. No resolutions. One word. No one word. To each her own. For me, my #oneword formed in my head as I was planning my husband’s 40th birthday surprise party in the middle of December. I had never planned a surprise like that for my husband in the almost 20 years we have been together. Truly, birthdays had always been a pretty low-key affair in our house. It was nice to step it up this year.

Over the past few years, I have moved from the final stages of the dissertation (focusing on Next and Push) and transition into life after the dissertation (Curious). It has definitely been a curious year: defending my dissertation in January, completing my first year in my new role as Director of Student Affairs, and reading 42 books in the last 5 months. But this year, I wanted something more active, more proactive, rather than reflective. As I thought of the fun I had in trying something new with Brent’s 40th, as well as focusing on my professional development and my personal journey as a wife and mother, I decided that this year, my #oneword will be Raise.

My "raise the bar" necklace.

My “raise the bar” necklace.

…Others up.
…My voice and words.
…Two strong girls.
…My hand.
…My glass.
…The bar.

So that is my focus for the year: to raise things in a positive direction. Whether it is celebrating a friend’s accomplishment, sponsoring young professionals, helping my children become their best selves, or challenging the status quo, I look forward to what the next year brings. I hope 2014 raises you up.

You can see how I remind myself to raise it up on Pinterest.

What’s your One Word 2013?

With the start of the new year, many folks, especially in the #sachat and #wlsalt communities, have chosen to forego resolutions and instead, chosen one word that will guide their 2013.

For a few years, we have collected those One Word selections to inspire, motivate, and hold each other accountable (you can see the 2011 and 2012 collections). Currently, about 185 people have contributed to the list, and here are their selections for their #oneword2013:

One Word

Thank you all for your contributions. If you haven’t taken the opportunity, please add your One Word selection to our growing list of student affairs professionals who are guiding their 2013 resolution-free:

**My apologies to Margaret Garry. Wordle had no font that would support her selection of λόγος; therefore, I used the loose translation of “word.” 


“’Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).” ~Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Curious GeorgeFor the third year in a row, I am choosing to select One Word that will guide my upcoming year. The truth is, I have never been a big resolution person. I don’t really have vices, except Diet Coke, and let’s be real: I am not giving that up. But the One Word resolution revolution has worked for me. For 2011, I chose Next, which was a nice nudge for a year with a lot of intentional, and some unintentional, change. For 2012, I selected Push – appropriate for a year where I pushed myself into a new position and I pushed harder on my dissertation.

In a few weeks, I am scheduled to defend my dissertation. It has taken me much longer than I had planned (due to life happenings that I don’t regret one bit), but it is happening. With a few breaks, I have spent much of my life as a student, and 2013 will be the first year in the rest of my life as a non-student. It is a year where I can have hobbies again; I can read fiction without remorse. I can sit with my kids or take Tae Kwon Do with them. I can repaint rooms or take a cooking class. My husband (who just finished his Ph.D.) and I can go on dates that don’t involve coffee shops and our laptops. I can do any of those things, and I will probably do many of them. However, unlike Push and Next, I wanted a word that allowed me a little more reflection. I want to be OK in the quiet and allow myself time to marvel at things, ideas, anything.

So, for my #oneword2013, I chose: Curious.

Miracle that curiosity survivesI will be entering a new identity once again. I am curious what that new role/identity might look like. I am curious what it will be like to be a mom without being a doc student. I am curious what it will be like to read an article for the sake of the article and its application in my field, not its impact on my research. I am curious what events are happening this weekend in my town that I can support. I am curious what it’s like to complete a whole New York Times crossword in one sitting.

Many things are starting up for us this year, and several things are ending. William Bridges (2004) would tell me that I am in the neutral zone of my transition. As excited as I am about what is around the corner and what I can tackle next, I am going to enjoy not knowing all of the details in 2013. I am going to prove to Albert Einstein that higher education has not killed my curiosity or diminished my interest in learning about other things and people and places.

So, 2013, what will you teach me?

Replace fear with curiosity

If you are curious about what others have to say about curiosity, please check out my pinterest board.

What’s Your One Word?

As part of the refresh that the new year begins, many in the #sachat and #wlsalt communities (and beyond) have chosen to forego resolutions and instead, choose one word that will guide their 2012.

Last year, I made a small attempt to collect the choices that people made for #oneword2011. This year, in trying to live my one word of Push and with a little help from a hashtag and a late-to-the-game Google doc, I have collected the choices of 200 people. This makes me ridiculously happy, which I think fits in my monthly theme of Positivity. So, in order to push some positivity, here are your #oneword2012 choices:

What an amazing collection of hopes and plans for the new year. You all inspire me, and I look forward to how your #oneword2012 choices will guide your throughout the year. Keep us posted!

If by chance I missed your word choice (and perhaps a related blog post), please add to the Google Doc. 


For the final prompt of the month-long challenge of #reverbbroads11: What is your “one word”? One word for this year, one word for next year.(from Amy)

I am excited to see 2011 go, not because it was a bad year, but because I really enjoy change. I enjoy new starts. My #oneword2011 was Next, and I truly feel like 2011 has been a year of nexts of which I took advantage. I am ready to call this year good and move on to new stuff. I like new stuff.

Perhaps I like the #oneword project because it allows me to pick a theme for the year, rather than specific resolutions. I like being open to what the year has in store for me.

For this year, I have chosen Push.

I want to push myself to do more good, to contribute more to my field, to sponsor more young professionals, to be more present with my family, to take advantage of more opportunities. I want to push myself to be more.

I also want to push others: to live their authentic lives, to trust themselves, to push themselves to be more of what they can be.

I want to push the conversation: around women leaders, around redefining girly, around student affairs, and around higher education.

I am also in the final push of my dissertation. This word seems more timely than ever.

So, here’s my Push into 2012.

I have set out a theme for each month of 2012 to push myself to be more mindful about my conversations in person and on social media. Modeled after Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, I have chosen a theme for each month of areas on which I would like to focus.

January: Positivity
February: Love
March: Promote
April: Fun
May: Growth
June: Breathe
July: Celebrate
August: Explore
September: Learning
October: Facing Fear
November: Gratitude

December: Family

I am hoping you will push me along the way. What’s your #oneword2012?