It Takes Just a Nudge to Budge

A few years ago, I resolved to no longer make new year’s resolutions. I had come to see both their transience and their permanence: a lofty idea with weak velcro and little sticking power and yet a  lasting sense of failure.  I even tried tricking myself once – in the way some of us set our clocks back an “x” number of minutes thinking that it may get us to arrive on time, but really all we do is calculate those minutes into our arrival time, and we still end up being late,  or at least not early. I tried starting my resolutions in October that year, somehow thinking that I would be more successful when no one was looking, or expecting anything, and then by January, I’d be well on my way to a new habit.  It’s o.k., you can laugh.

I have seen a few different approaches to the notion of inviting positive change into our lives  and you may remember that I am a firm believer in the 21 days rule; do something {or stop something, say…eating Cheez-Its?} for 21 days and you’ve got yourself a brand new habit.  So, a little over a year ago, I found myself needing to bring more positive balance into my life.  Things were not necessarily bad, just kind of blah, stale, stuck and I found myself in a spot where I had let some ill feelings and resentments accumulate and I wanted to shake things up a bit and reset my focus.

That was also about the time I started this blog, and I got busy reading other blogs to  – a) learn from;  b)  torture myself;  c) be inspired by or d) all of the above – and came across what would quickly become one of my favorites, Create as Folk, where Laura shared that she had adopted the practice of simply choosing one word – or phrase –  to guide her year. A mini mission statement of sorts.  She explains it as choosing an intention, or choosing your own personal theme to guide your year.”  I interpreted this to mean, for me, that the word had to have meaning that I wanted to embrace, provide direction in a way in which I wanted to go,  and challenge me. Her approach had a calming effect on me; it gave me a sense of direction without the impending fear of failure; it wasn’t a commitment to anything specific, but instead suggested a gentle guiding force willingly chosen with no certain expectations for outcome.  It would serve as a framework of sorts, and I saw it as  a way to invite something good into my life that I wanted, even though I couldn’t see its form.  I viewed her video  and clicked out; I was fascinated and intimidated – I craved the direction and challenge but feared the failure. I mulled it over and over in my mind, letting myself percolate as I do.

It finally came to me one day. Quietly. Gently. Calmly. Just like I needed. The word is even somewhat gentle and quiet.

I chose the word nudge.


I sensed  a stirring, an urging towards something new.

I felt some trepidation about stepping out of my comfort zone, but I knew I wasn’t totally comfortable where I was.

I desired to move in a new direction and knew that I needed, well, a few nudges to get there.

I wanted to be pushed. But gently.

I chose the word nudge.

Or, did it choose me?   The year began with this notion of being nudged tucked securely in my pocket, and I found that I was seeing things differently. When choices presented themselves to me, I realized they had new layers, new options; was this an opportunity to be nudged, pushed a little bit further? Nudged to take a risk, no matter how small? Nudged to try doing things a little differently? Nudged to let some things go?

With each opportunity came that same fascination and intimidation…As I started to let myself be nudged in new directions, I began to realize a few things. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined, it got easier with each experience, and even when it didn’t work; knowing I had allowed myself to be nudged far outweighed the outcome.

I had started this blog, but was moving forward without certainty, and often considered hanging up my keyboard. The ambiguity and uncertainty were uncomfortable to say the least. So, finally, I took that discomfort as a nudge to look at why and wrote a post that put it out there, fears and warts and all.  That was a turning point; I learned that when we are real, others listen and I learned that some of the best blogging takes place in the comments.   That propelled me to keep going; and I found that as I did, this blog became a part of me, an extension of the person I am, and I found that the challenge to find something to say helped cultivate my thoughts and an increased awareness, understanding and appreciation of things happening in and around my own life.  And more importantly,  I found some phenomenal  friendships with the most amazing people from all around the world.

These nudges gave me the freedom to recognize and accept more nudges, with fascination beginning to out-pace the intimidation. I started to see that I didn’t hesitate as long when making choices, I felt more peaceful than I had in a long time, and in turn, the conversations with others became richer; I felt more confident in my own day-to-day life; opened myself to new projects and people who would have intimidated me the year before, but now they fascinated me;  the old resentments that I had started out with had faded and been replaced by creativity, appreciation, peace and craving more positives. I found that I could open the vault and work my way towards important life changes.

I took  my blog on a virtual cross-country road trip; reaching out and connecting with some of the coolest hosts ever who turned into friends, and with each post I began to wonder how I could have walked away; and glad I didn’t.  Each time it happened I shook my head in disbelief but I was secretly thrilled to be part of the generous and gracious tradition of sharing blog awards.  I always took too long to receive the gift; not out of lack of gratitude but always with a Sally Field-ish disbelief.  The year ended with a gift, icing on such a delicious cake at this point, when my friend Mimi from Waiting for the Karma Truck shared the Blog of 2012 Award with me.  Best.Christmas.Gift.Ever.  Frankly, one of the year’s best nudges too. Mimi, thank you [and forgive me for not following the rules!?]

I can look back now and realize that a year has come and gone, and with it, a year of nudging and blogging, and as they say, ask myself where did the time go? I appreciate the challenge and benefits of both over the last 12 months, often but not always intertwined. I wasn’t sure where to start, but did, and had no idea where I was headed [and still not entirely sure, but I do know that I like being here] and kept going.  I looked back and my second post was titled: Just Start Somewhere. Who knew that was actually for me? It was a simple tip for getting organized and went on to say:

Choose the easiest place to start…you don’t always have to start at the beginning. If that first step seems like it will be the hardest [and keeps you from starting at all!], then start with another part of the project instead. Often, once you get started…it’s hard to stop! Get going and have fun!”

Looking back, that makes all the sense in the world, whether you need to  –  a) purge a closet; b) improve a relationship, c) start a blog, d) invite positive change into our lives; or e) all of the above  – It’s true, just start somewhere. Let yourself be nudged.


I have chosen my focus word, my intention for 2013, but I am going to be quiet about it  for a little longer; it’s a more outwardly focused, active word, requiring a little bit more of me. Again, I am both intimidated and fascinated. This word and I, well, we still need a little time to get acquainted, see how we work together.  Worried about Nudge? Don’t be, she  is coming with me into 2013 also;  she has served me so well, and I am quite certain that I still need more nudging…

What do you think? Does choosing a focus word make sense to you? Have you ever chosen one and followed it all year; what word might you choose to help guide you through 2013?

With intention for 2013…



37 thoughts on “It Takes Just a Nudge to Budge

    • Hi Laura

      Thanks so much for stopping by here. Your process has inspired me for three years going now, and it’s spilled over into those who stop by here too. All the best to you too!


  1. I love the idea if having a word for a year! It’s so much less intimidating than my normal resolutions and seems like such a nice way to encourage growth and moving forward without holding oneself up to impossibly high standards. Maybe I’ll give it a “go”!


    • I am so glad this idea resonates with you too! It is so much less intimidating yet allows for growth and in a direction we choose or aspire to. If you give it a go, I hope it’s a great experience and leads you in a happy, forward direction for 2013!


  2. hey bons. never picked a word til this year. well, two. because i hate to pinned down to just one thing. simplify and rise. last year was, quite simply, the year from hell. i am ready for a rising but it won’t happen unless we find a way to simplify. hence, my two words. beyond that, i’m still a sucker for thinking about the new year and what i want to accomplish. i’m not big on the word resolutions because then it seems like things just get lost along the way. i don’t know why that is. but i do kind of contemplate what my ‘mission’ will be for the year. i don’t know where the first two weeks have gone, because i’m behind on ‘contemplating’ and still haven’t really fleshed out my ‘missions statement’ for the year.


    • Hi Pam! You picked two..good for you! I can manage only one at this point, perhaps next year I will double up. I really like simplify and rise…both are great in their own respect and together, a dynamic duo! I am sorry that 2012 was a year from hell for you..and really hoping that 2013 is much much kinder to you. I think setting goals in the new year is great, and yet somehow different than a resolution, and I see you setting some fun and amazing goals for yourself. Give yourself until the end of January….let the first two weeks be a time of rest! cheers! b


  3. Congratulations on blog of the year my friend! So very well deserved. I think your 2012 word was a fabulous one and am so glad she’s coming with us into 2013! (Plus, I love that she was a “she”!) I can’t wait to hear about your word for this year 🙂


    • Thanks Amb…I still just get all fidgety with those awards 🙂 I love that you love that Nudge is a she…I had fun with that and glad you noticed. And yes, she is definitely coming with me, I still need lots and lots of Nudges. Will you be choosing a word? I am just curious! 🙂


      • Yes, I thought it was fantastic!

        As a matter of fact, I loved your idea so much I am planning on choosing a word for myself as well. Stay tuned for a post all about it! (And thank you for the inspiration!) xo.


        • Yay, I am so glad to know that Amb from “Words Become Superfluous” will be choosing a word!! 🙂 Can’t wait and you can bet I will stay tuned! xo


  4. I’ve never thought of taking a one word approach to the year ahead, but as soon as you mentioned it I immediately thought of “direction” for some strange reason! So I’ve decided 2013 will be a year of “direction” for me. What a brilliant idea of Laura’s and I’m really glad you shared it here, Bonnie 😉

    Like the other commentors, I’m interested to know what your 2013 word will be – can’t wait to find out 😀


    • Dianne…I love that you just went for it and jumped on board and chose a word for your 2013. Direction is perfect for you! It was a great idea I was so happy to learn from Laura and now, pass on to my peeps! I will share soon, my word for 2013. I didn’t mean to create such anticipation! 🙂 Honest!


  5. A very timely reminder, Bonnie as one of those words have come to me. The word is “simplify,” but it presented itself as Semple Fi, similar to the USMC abbreviated code in latin, Semper Fi. I’m mulling it over for now and thinking I need a nudge of my own when facing something that denotes discipline and being faithful to it (always, hoo-rah). I’ve been feeling a bit weighed down by some of my possessions (things that possess me) that no longer have value or meaning, but are hard to let go of due to sentiment or nostalgia. And as I write, the idea pops into my head that I can photograph those hard to part with/no longer needed items and keep the images in a special file on my computer. Ok. There’s a start. Anybody need a Boxing Nun Hand Puppet? Time to sluff stuff. Oh, there it goes again!


    • Hi JoBro…great comment, and great choice of your word and the underlying meaning. I think your idea of photographing the items that have sentimental value to you, but are taking up space in your day-to-day life is a fantastic idea. You could take it for a test run, take the photos, pack up the items and put them in the garage for 6 months and see if you miss them. If not, they are all packed up and ready to move ’em on out. You could even offer this service to others….just sayin’…..


  6. Well now I wish I had thought of nudge!!!! 😉 I started choosing the word thing several years ago…actually….it just kinda happend. A word started following me thru a difficult time and you wouldn’t think you’d befriend a stalker, but that’s just what I did. “Hope” was it for the past four years. And this year? “”Trust” (and Change). I don’t like the words because they scare me, But I’m gonna make an attempt to let them follow…..several paces behind right now

    Love. This. Post! (and you ♥).


  7. I love this approach. I often choose a subject to focus on for a year in my photography, more of a goal setting that a resolution, and it’s always helped me to improve. You approach takes the pressure off. Nice post.


    • Thank you so much, and yes, it does take the pressure off, but yet the challenge is still there… I love how you choose a photography subject for the year, what a fabulous idea. What is your subject for 2013, if I may ask?


      • This year I am shooting at least one roll a month in a manual film camera – 2 shots left and I take my first roll in from a 1936 Rollieflex – I think having to work manual controls with no “do-overs” should help me to be more confident shooting fully manual on my digital.


        • What a great idea…and I think bold, as a photographer to challenge yourself to better know digital photography by getting better acquainted with a manual camera…I bet you are excited to see the shots you’ve taken!


  8. GREAT post, Bonnie! I’m fascinated by the idea of choosing a word–seems infinitely more attainable to me–and I loved reading your journey with ‘nudge.’. Like Mimi, I am curious as to your 2013 word, but will look forward with anticipation to the big reveal. :-). May blessed be one word that appears in your mind repeatedly this year–you deserve it…. Hugs, l


    • Thank you Lori! And yes, infinitely more attainable, with such a sense of possibility and openness, rather than something so specific. Blessed is a wonderful word, and thank you for that. I am still getting use to the 2013 word and the direction of it…I do think it chose me and I am slowly accepting what it will require of me. 🙂 I am glad you are intrigued with this idea and would love to know if you ultimately choose a word also! Hugs in return xo


  9. I love this post (and not because you mentioned me, I swear)..perhaps because I understand your journey and the beauty with which you describe it, the intentionality of picking a word (what a terrific idea – and I think ‘nudge’ is a fabulous selection for a first year, tho’ I’m curious about what you have chosen for 2013!). There’s much to think about -the nexus of intention and serendipity for one…You are as amazing a writer as you are a person! xoxo, m


    • I love how you put that: the nexus of intention and serendipity! That is it, isn’t it? Setting out with a plan, but open to seeing the moments as opportunities to play out the intention. I will be keeping that idea/image in my mind as I move forward. I will share my 2013 word soon…I am still wrapping my head around it and more intimidated than fascinated [I think that again, the word chose me!] xoxo me


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