I’m back a week before I’d intended to be, because on New Year’s Day I decided that this post needed to be as close to the beginning of the year as possible.

In 2017, I want to go forward into growth — there always seems to be opportunity for growth as we look at the fresh, unmarked pages of the new calendar.

I look forward to growth in my writing, in my thinking, in my attitudes. And I look forward to the company of others as I journey through the year.

Many of you are familiar with the concept of choosing a word to encompass some of what we want to be, or to live toward being, in the year.

One of my dear writing friends chose GUMPTION as her word for 2017. What a great word! It brought to my mind a book that belonged to my grandmother. The title of it always appealed to me: GRACE, GRIT, and GUMPTION. I want to incorporate those words into my living this year, as well.

I tried on a lot of words for myself, asking them in turn, “Are you my word?” and trying to find the right one to express the kind of lively hope I want to live in and share this year.

The word(s) that kept nudging me, and that I finally embraced, is/are ENCOURAGE and its synonyms, INSPIRIT, HEARTEN and EMBOLDEN. (This year’s word is a package deal.)

The original meaning of encourage was “early 15c., from Old French encoragier ‘make strong, hearten,'” (from etymonline.com). I not only see it as helping others to find courage, but also infusing courage into my own thoughts and actions.

I will be working at coming at things in my personal life from a position of strength and courage in the coming year. I will also be seeking to imbue others with encouragement through my blog posts, the manuscripts I write, and the way I live my life — living into courage myself, as well as sharing courage and heartening others.

The synonyms I’ve listed enlarge on the concept of encouraging. Merriam-Webster says (in part) “encourage suggests the raising of one’s confidence especially by an external agency. inspirit, somewhat literary, implies instilling life, energy, courage, or vigor into something. hearten implies the lifting of dispiritedness or despondency by an infusion of fresh courage or zeal. embolden implies the giving of courage sufficient to overcome timidity or reluctance.” You can find the full definition at this link.

“Instilling life (and) energy”, “an infusion of fresh courage”, “zeal” — I like those concepts. They truly embody the vitality and liveliness that I want to feel as I make my heart and others’ hearts beat with courage in this year, with a healthy sprinkling of grace, grit, and gumption!

Going forward, growth, grace, grit, gumption. I encourage you to embrace those as we head into 2017!

What word or words particularly speak to you this year? I’d love to learn about them in the comments.

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