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[MT.178] Do you have your word for 2023?
Welcome to Matt’s Mix Tape: A steady beats approach to midlife fitness, writing, and mindset.
Do you have a word for … you?
We like to have words for other people.
“I’d like a word with you!”
But having a word for ourselves, one we carry through the year, can help guide us in a way all those New Year’s resolution lists cannot.
And whether you think your word is divinely inspired, or simply a rational descriptor for where you want to go this year, it can be a beacon, rather than an anxiety-inducing list of goals and expectations.
My word has been percolating for awhile. It came to the surface earlier this week.
My word for 2023 is deeper.
Not what I would choose, honestly. Which makes me feel it’s the right word, rooted in something more profound than intellect.
Resisting things we don’t want to deal with is common. Whether it’s a complex work problem, or a family riddle to solve, I tend to push against things, to try and shape and shove them into an orderly corner, rather than accepting, examining, and working patiently through them.
Resisting makes everything harder, of course. If you resist, you have to muscle your way through a situation, taking on not just the moment at hand but also your own reticence. When you could just walk through it. Move, looking around, and see the path forward.
And what’s easier—walking or bench pressing?
Put it in neutral.
Mel Tucker, Michigan State’s football coach, promotes neutral thinking, which relates to “deeper”:
Mel Tucker is a strong proponent of neutral thinking. This is, in his own words, the ability to process information as it comes, focus on the facts and take action from there. Not getting too high in any particular moment, and not getting too low.
Neutral thinking teaches you to be present. To do what’s in front of you without worrying about what just happened, or what might happen next. You don’t waste time judging or prognosticating. You go deeper in the moment.
If you’re paying attention to the NFL playoffs, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence gave us a terrific example of neutral thinking last night. On the first playoff pass attempt of his career, he threw an interception. By halftime, he’d thrown four. His team was down 27-7 and Twitter was banishing Lawrence to Siberia.
Total nightmare in prime time for all to see.
But Lawrence didn’t resist the moment. He went deeper into it. He kept working.
And he led one of the great playoff comebacks of all time. Jacksonville won the game, 31-30.
Nudge yourself in a new direction.
The Washington Post calls your one word a nudge:
Instead of setting a specific goal, choose a word that captures the mind-set you want to adopt in 2023 — a word that will nudge you toward positive change whenever you think of it.
So consider a word for yourself in 2023. Put it on a sticky note on your computer. Set it up on your phone wallpaper. And next December, let’s circle back, and dive deeper into just how far you were nudged.
Thank you for reading.
Let’s keep the steady beats going right through 2023.
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