Intentions For A Happy Year Ahead

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Chihouly exhibit, January, 2013, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Chihuly exhibit, January, 2013, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

For the past several years I have chosen a word to carry with me through the year, reminding me of the inner work I have to do over the coming days.

You could call these words resolutions of sorts. Like working out on a daily basis, increasing my intake of lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, and leaving sugar and all sweet stuff behind. But those resolutions don’t always work for me. They require a kind of do or die attitude that makes me anxious and is connected to success and failure. We all love to succeed, but being a failure can set us back into old patterns and behaviors that are not healthy. A single word or phrase, on the other hand, is not a directive of what I must do. It is simply something to think about and watch for as I navigate through life with the hopes of being a better person.

Last year I chose “audacity,” which led me to words like confidence and courage, both of which I felt needed to be strengthened. I was not, however, interested in other connotations of the word, like cheeky, defiant, and impudent. I’ve been all of those things at different times in my life and those are not traits I need or want to reinforce.

I do believe my confidence and courage has grown over the past year. I began writing guest posts for other bloggers and invited a few to write guest posts here. I finished the “shitty” first draft of my book. And then with a vast amount of courage, sent it out to beta readers and an editor. I learned a lot. Like it isn’t the end of the world if someone doesn’t like what I’ve written and that I need all of the help I can get to make my memoir the best that it can be.

This coming year I will start making my way on the path to publishing. I hope that within the next year or so my book will be available in book stores and on line. It all depends on a lot of things, like whether or not I can make it through another revision with one more editor.  I’m very much looking forward to working with her, and I’m feeling confident that I’m on the right track.

On occasion, I’ve thought about leaving my book project behind. Writing it has certainly brought me peace and healing, which was my goal from the beginning. Even without another revision it is together enough for future family members to read. But I’m past the point of saying, “Okay, enough already.” I know that what I have written could be helpful to others in their own struggles through life.

But sending a book out into the world is a scary process and an enormous amount of work. I will need even more courage than I’ve built up over the last year, as well as a vast amount of patience, which I’ve never been great at.

I’ve decided that for the coming year I actually need more than one word to get me through what is before me. Though some are words I’ve worked with before, I’ve added A few new ones. First, I need to BELIEVE in myself and what I am capable of doing. I’ll need to DARE myself to move FORWARD with a whole lot of PATIENCE because I’ll likely stumble on occasion and will need to TRUST myself and those who will be helping me get through this scary process.

So there you have it:

What are your intentions for the coming year?



  1. Dear Joan, you have echoed every feeling I experienced on my road to publication! Committing your intentions in writing then sharing it is a powerful tool- a self-fulfilling prophecy. I wish you many blessings and success as you bring your wonderful story of healing and forgiveness to life. Happy New Year, my friend. Good things are in store.

  2. It sounds like a great road to be on Joan.
    I’ll be right with you 🙂
    Happy New Year!
    Val x

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks so much, Val. I appreciate your company and send you wishes for great things in the year to come.

  3. Joan, I love the idea of the single words, the direction you want to go, so to speak. Intentions. Serenity, peace, joy come quickly to mind. But I think they are always there. What new ones do I want, specifically for this coming year? Yes; I’m curious now. I’ll be chewing on what I’d like mine to be. Perhaps a blog post come January.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Janet, Thanks. I’ll be interested to see what word or words you choose for 2015. Happy New Year to you!

  4. Joan — Clearly great minds think alike! I love the words you’ve chosen this year, and the story behind them! My focus word for 2015 is FLOW.

    Peace, Joy, and Health to you and yours in 2015.

    (Psssst, and just between you and me, I know you’re going to kick butt and take names in the publishing world)….

    • Joan Rough says:

      Laurie, You’ve made my day with that last comment. You are a sweetheart and I’m happy to have you on my side! Happy New Year to you!

  5. I love this post theme and all the comments. I’ve always liked the word intention because it implies focusing with purpose but doesn’t carry the pejorative connotation of resolution, failing if you miss the goal.

    I’ll have to think of a specific word(s) for myself this year when I embark on my own “shitty first draft.” Laurie’s word FLOW fits well – I will have to go with the flow as I had to this past year when Mother died unexpectedly. So lucky to follow a path with other shining lights ahead of me.

    • Marian, Glad to hear you start work on your first draft. That’s very exiciting and I think Laurie’s word FLOW fits perfectly. I know it’s been a tough year for you, but time will heal the pain as you write and remember.

  6. Joan. I have been chewing on your post tonight, happily so. And appreciating the additional comments too. I keep falling into Connection for my word. I find it easy to look inward, to listen to my body, to know my truth. This coming year I want to look outward more. I want to feel more connected to the larger world, and especially to the people in it, you among them. One way we have is by telling our stories. I’m eager to read yours.

    • Janet, I’m flattered that my post, inspired your word, CONNECTION. It is a must as we move through space and time, often not knowing what will happen next. I seek the same thing and hopefully my book will be a bridge to many other wonderful people I’ve met on the internet, like you!

  7. I love your words and your intentions, and I’m here on the sidelines cheering for you in this road to publication. I know how scary it can be, and it took me a couple of years to dedicate and devote myself to the process necessary to get the book edited, published, and out in the world.

    I can tell you that it has been a very satisfying experience for me, and I know it will be so for you too. I’m excited to follow you through the next year and hope this all comes to fruition the way you want it to!

    Happy New Year to you, friend 🙂

    • Joan Rough says:

      Becca, Thanks for being there on the sidelines. Having others cheering me on is important.

      Your book just arrived an hour ago. ( I ordered it from Amazon.) It’s a gorgeous looking book and just scanning through it I know it’s going to be a great read. I can’t wait to finish up what I’m reading now. It’s been a very exciting year for a number of my friends with new books out and I’m so happy to hear it’s all gone so well.

      Happy New Year to you, too, Becca. Can’t wait to see what’s up next for you!


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