A Slight Shift to Evolve

Photo by Sohel Patel from Pexels

Every year, in January, I struggle to find the word that will guide me through the New Year. Most of the time, before February rolls around, I either forget what word I chose or the word I picked just doesn’t resonate with me anymore.

This year is no different.

I started with CREATE.

Who can argue that’s not a great word? I mean, who doesn’t want to immerse themselves in a year dedicated to creating and making things?

Yet, at the last minute, I discarded the word CREATE.

Why, you ask?

Well, I decided that if wanted to be true to myself, I would have to recognize that it just felt fake.

Not that I don’t want to create things or that I don’t typically create anything because I do.

As a teacher-writer, I am always creating.

I create lesson plans.

I write feedback for students.

I reflect in my teacher journal.

I write for my students.

I create and publish blog posts.

I am a creator.

But this is not the word I think should guide my year; it didn’t grab me or find me like I’d hoped it would.

It didn’t feel authentic.

So, I put it aside.

And, the other night, as I tossed and turned in my sleep, other words started seeping through my consciousness.




And, then I realized that I didn’t have to just have one word. I could have many words.

I almost climbed out of bed to write down those three words in my notebook. Instead I kept repeating them to myself, over and over again, in the hopes that when I woke up in the morning they’d be the first words I’d utter to myself.

Well, it worked!

I wrote them in my notebook and later looked for synonyms.

What I discovered is that each of these three words – evolve, change and grow – appear in each other’s lists of synonyms.

I knew then that I’d hit on the right set of words. Next, I chose the one that I thought could guide everything I do this year: EVOLVE.

Every month, I will choose a different word to focus on because having one for the year is just too overwhelming and doesn’t work for me. If the word I chose for a particular month feels like it should continue into the next month, who am I to argue with that feeling? I will keep it until it has served its purpose.

So, my word for January is SHIFT. That in and of itself could be someone’s #OLW. But I’m going to take it slowly. I will find ways to shift my teaching, my thinking about myself, my thinking about others, my advocacy work and my relationships. Just to name a few! LOL!

I see so much in my life that could benefit from a slight shift here or there. So much work that I still need to do on myself.

In fact, I’ve already seen a shift in the way I engage with the challenges of teaching online.

Just a slight shift.

But it’s really all that is needed to evolve.

Cross posted to The Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday Challenge.

11 thoughts on “A Slight Shift to Evolve

  1. Lainie Levin says:

    What I love so much about your post is the thoughtful way you went about selecting your word. I agree that it’s really tough to find a single word to carry you through the change and uncertainty that stretches across a full year.

    Your thought to use “shift” is a remarkable one. It brings together so many ideas, and it really speaks to the way we all need to be ready to make changes, both subtle and large, if we want to do any of the other things you’ve talked about (create, change, evolve).

    Thanks for such a thoughtful post. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. It was really a seeking to be found kind of process, if that makes any sense. I’m excited about my words for this year. We’ll see if they make a difference in my outlook and my actions, which are what really matter to me in the long run.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lainie Levin says:

        Absolutely! Seeing your post, and those of others, has started me thinking about mine. It’s weird, but my hope is that I’ll start my year with my OLW but not need it the whole time…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Terje says:

    You are clearly choosing words that help the concept of “new me.” Having a fresh start and reminder each month brings new energy throughout the year. I chose ‘cake’ as my OLW – a bit of sweetness is good to keep me going.

    Liked by 1 person

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