Have You Chosen a Life’s Motto for 2011?

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I have a two-part ritual at the end of every December. As I pack away the Christmas decorations, I allow myself a sentimental moment and get a little misty. My kids just roll their eyes. But I value that time of reflection, of remembering the moments and laughter and precious loved ones who are gone–and wondering what the next year will bring. Will it be the same next year?

When I have everything packed away, then comes the fun part. I get absolutely giddy as I hang my shiny new calendar on the wall. My brother calls this a little creepy. But a blank calendar is all about hope. It signifies a new start, endless possibilities, the chance to fix and improve and strive and dream big, big dreams.

Come New Year’s Day, I pick a motto or theme to live by for the next 365 days. I write it down and try to say it often and think about it throughout the day. For 2011, my motto is: Live with joy—no matter what the circumstances.

A friend of mine said, “There are so many people going through hard, hard times right now, I feel a little guilty that my life is going well.” I have felt that way so many times. I figure when life is going well, it’s my chance to stand by the hurting and offer encouragement, because eventually, the hard times will come my way again.

Right now, there are things weighing heavy on my heart, but I am choosing to live with joy. A sign at my doctor’s office made me laugh—and cringe. “All of our patients bring us joy. Some when they arrive. And some when they leave.” Ouch.

I want to be someone who brings joy wherever I go—no matter what. Because joy is different from happiness. It isn’t dependent on outside events. It comes from way down deep, from knowing how blessed I am. It’s an unshakable confidence that even though I don’t know the future, God does. Nothing will come my way that hasn’t passed through His hands first.

 No matter what, I can choose to live with joy.

 So, what’s your motto for 2011? I’d love to know what it is.

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    The Conversation

  1. TiceB says:

    What a fabulous idea–I’ve never thought of giving each year a motto. Much better than the resolution route! Great motto too 🙂

  2. Missy Tippens says:

    Don’t you just love how kids roll their eyes at us?? 🙂

    I don’t have a motto, but I’ve been trying to find a key word for the year. And God (through the song The Voice of Truth) has given me the word Truth. So I’m focused on listening to God’s voice, the Voice of Truth.

  3. Leslie says:

    I’m right there with you, Connie! Excellent motto. I like the distinction you point out between joy and happiness. Lately, I’m aware that living joyfully requires hard work and determination. Focusing on my blessings (as you mentioned in a previous post) helps me stay joy-filled. Thanks for the encouraging post!

    • Connie Mann says:

      I totally agree. Happiness seems to come and go, but this joy thing is much deeper, and often, a question of determination and focus. So glad I could encourage you–as you always encourage me!

  4. Debora says:

    What a beautiful thought and a terrific idea. Funny that I found your post after I posted today ranting about little things that in the big picture don’t mean much at all.

    I’m going to have to give this some thought – but I will come up with the perfect motto for the year.

    Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

  5. diane says:

    I love your motto for 2011 so much. I can’t seem to come up with one like more. Care to share?

  6. Connie, lovely sentiment, or motto if you prefer. I’m a glass half-full type so I can relate to your joy for living. Good luck to you and all our writer friends.

  7. Sue Watson says:

    This is an interesting idea. I’ll have to think on it. I will probably choose a scripture verse for my motto. A friend gave me a beautiful sign done in silver with the word “Peace” on it. I tend to worry. I think I’ll choose the word “Peace” for this year.

  8. Laura Kirkland says:

    This is an excellent idea, Connie. This seems such a simple idea, but adopting this habit can make a big difference in anyone’s life. Attitude counts for a lot, and after even well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions have been left by the wayside, you can still remember your motto and resolve to live differently. And who knows; adopting a new, positive motto might help you keep some of those resolutions.

    • Connie Mann says:

      I totally agree, Laura. I gave up on making resolutions a while back. It seemed like a waste of time. But a motto–an attitude–now that can make a difference! Happy writing in 2011!

  9. Jan Jackson says:

    Hi Connie,
    I didn’t think of it as a motto, but this year I decided to keep it simple and strive for PMA (positive mental attitude). No matter what life brings, weight loss or weight gain, I want to keep smiling.

    Happy New Year!

  10. LoRee Peery says:

    I wrote on my goals sheet to enjoy whatever I’m doing. Along with that goes “relax” and “Be still and know that I am God.”

  11. Ilona Fridl says:

    Hi, Connie! I love your ideas. What I’m trying to do this year is to do promotion more. I keep putting that off, ’cause I love to write and I tend to neglect the business of writing. So, instead of putting it off, I’m trying to do a little each day.

  12. C J Parker says:

    Mine is:
    There is no shame in failure, only in giving up.

  13. “Live well, love passionately and never give up.” These aren’t my own words. They came from Terry Irwin, wife of the late Australian Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin who was tragically killed in 2006 but they really struck a chord with me and I’m going to keep them in mind as I head into 2011 and beyond. Connie, thanks for your interesting posts.