There is a little book that I think shares lots of tips in a small number of pages. Design Your Day, by Claire Diaz-Ortiz, is a great, quick read for organizing your life, rather than just your sock drawer!

One of the tidbits that has stuck with me is the creation of a single word or thought that becomes your mantra, your go-to when you feel like you are veering off track.

A couple of years ago I came up with the word ‘forward,’ to keep me moving in that direction. I still like that one, and I still use it to ‘right the ship’ when I feel like I am off course.

 
 

But my life has changed so much in the last few years. Since I am now well into my 60s and single, I thought it was time to come up with a new word that better defines how I want my life to go in the next year or two.

Forward, I am not abandoning you. I want to keep moving your way, and I will always love you as my first word. But it is time to expand my repertoire of directional focus. (That sounds like a self-help phrase, doesn’t it?)

Goodbye Forward, Hello Goal

When my life was turned upside down, and my marriage crumbled after more than 30 years, I constantly felt unstable, like I was walking on a waterbed from the 70s.

I was constantly wobbling and falling and having to catch my balance and try to stay upright. I spent a lot of time clinging to the edge. So ‘forward’ gave me a direction I could keep in my line of sight. It helped me to put one foot in front of the other when I could barely move.

Fast forward (pun intended) and I am perfectly capable of standing on my own two feet now. In fact, I need to set the bar a little higher. I need to look ahead farther down the road.

Enter ‘Goal.’ That is my word for 2018. I have given it a lot of thought, and while I have moved forward quite nicely, I need more incentive to move to the next stage of life. I am now a fully functional single woman in her 60s, not the weepy sad-sack that I was even one year ago.

In my head, I am using goal as a verb; not as a thing but as an action. It is not something to achieve, but the act of achieving it.

After all, it isn’t the achievement that is important but the getting there that makes it worthwhile, that creates inner growth and gives you that ‘job well done,’ feeling. ‘Goal me,’ is how I will think about it in my head. It’s similar to a ‘bring it on’ mentality.

What Is Your Word?

During this holiday season, there are often times of sadness, especially if you are a woman who has had to start your life over after 50, 60 or beyond.

So start now, start right now, thinking about a word that can help get you one step closer to where you want to be. You will know when you have the right one for you. It will stick in your head and you will revisit it over and over. Then get going.

You don’t have to wait for 2018 to get started. However, let me say this: if your word turns out to be a bust, if it just doesn’t fit, guess what, pick another word. ‘Forward’ was not the first word I landed on a year or two ago. I had others but as I put them into practice they just were not right.

Be flexible with yourself. After all, it is yourself, your word, your motion.

I would love to hear from you, not just now, but all year long. I want to know how just one word helps you in your daily life. Believe it or not, one word can make a huge difference.

What is the right word for you? What is the word that is sticking in your head for 2018? What will your word mean for you in the coming year? Please share in the comments below!

Paula HarerAfter a 30-year marriage crumbled, Paula Harer found herself single for the first time in 35 years. She felt like she had something to say about her experience, so started writing a blog called Starting Over at Sixty. She addresses everything from loneliness and reinvention and offers ways to create a new outlook on life.

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