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Pick and Choose

“You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.”

~  Aaron Tippen & Buddy Brock – Lyricists. 

There is a pen-and-paper ‘exercise’ I do at the beginning of each year, and have done so for nearly two decades. I find it fun. (Yes, yes. Others have rolled their eyeballs at some of the things I define as fun…Ha.)  Anyway, this exercise/exploration is both a re-awakening and an affirmation I make to myself regarding the ‘what is it I am wanting, and how is it I am declaring I wish to live‘ for the calendar-year ahead. (No, it does not include ‘eat fewer twinkies!’)  In fact, negatives are not included at all!   (Huh ~ how can … and why would … Anyone ‘value‘ the negative??!)

This pen-and-paper process is called the ‘Values Exercise’, and comprised of 80+ words that represent what one may value within themselves, and in relationship to others. A ‘code to live by’ as such. The list of words is not all encompassing, as sometimes it does not include those ‘things’ one may wish to add that are personalized values (ie:  ‘Recovery’ for example). Yet … it is a definite start to recognizing those qualities that matter, personally.  

Someone asked me ‘why’ I choose to do this, especially year-after-year. The lyrics and chorus to the above ‘quote’-song popped into Mind as I attempted to explain. The person also queried as to why the words chosen in any one specific year would be different in the coming year.  “Values is values – why would they change?”  Good point!  

It’s not that the values change; it is that the focus of attention may now be on another aspect of living-life that perhaps was not present the year before.  (Can we say ‘pandemic – phase two-three-four’?  How about ‘isolation.’  Mistrust?  Political divides?  Love?  Loss?  Inundation of negative news?  Grief?  Taking a freakin’ vacation?)  Hmmmm….. seems things do change from year to year!  Other values may now resonate a bit more. It’s that simple.

As I was pondering the choice regarding the ‘Values’ for myself that are going to represent me-to-myself for 2022 (and me-to-others as I live outloud-and-actively what those items represent), I found a variety of emotions, memories, hopes, dreams, uh-uh-no-way-THIS-year, and even yup-yup-let’s-bring-it-on! floating through as I narrowed the list from a whopping 81 (+3 I added) down to a mere 44.. Ha!  (Thankfully, I’ve done this process before and recognize it’s like spinning the Wheel of Fortune first go through!)

A day later (I like to take a breather between winnowing) I’d reduced the words selected to 32. (Yea me!)  Day three the list was sitting at a 22-count. The goal is 15 values/words to represent the important Bigness of the year ahead. Gulp.  (Refrains of that catchy little chorus “should [it] stay or should [it] go” bounces around my head at this point.)  Finally, finally, on day five, I open the window and shout out to the neighborhood “I’ve got my 15!!”  (Huh ~ the neighborhood does not break into raucous cheers of congratulations. Party-poopers.)

Fact is, it really doesn’t matter to anyone, although they may unwittingly benefit from it. It matters….to me! THE most important person. The Me that wishes to engage in this next portion of my life from a place of collaboration, discernment, creativity, quietude, vitality, trust, authenticity, wisdom, contribution, humor, guidance, prosperity, joy, integrity and purpose.

Hellooo 2022.  Let’s dance!

 PS ~ if you’d like to do this exercise too, set the template for your own personal expression and engagement with this new year, please feel free to reach out to me at and I’ll send it to you.  It’s fun!! Honest!