In a flash of inspiration, I had identified “Determined” and “Positive” as my watchwords for 2016. I’ve never had a watchword for a year before. This will be cool, I thought, and keep me focused.

I do recognize that it’s silly for me to take Positive as a watchword, because I have been accused, justifiably, of being a Pollyanna on more than one occasion. In fact, I could stand to take off the rose-colored glasses a little more often. But I was determined to be Determined. It was gonna be great.

However, I’ve realized the unfortunate fact that I’m not by nature all that determined and fighting every day to accomplish a watchword would be counterproductive. If I have to be determined to be Determined, it’s just not going to work. The watchword has to be a more natural fit, but still something that would move me forward, not just acknowledge an existing personality trait. (Sorry, Positive.)

On my recent inspiring dog walk, one thing that came clearly to my agitated mind was a reminder of what works for me. And that is staying open to new things, considering what comes, and reaching out to others. Dogged pursuit (ha) results in nothing. Opening myself to connections and to supporting others results in something.

So I have taken down the sticky note that said, “Determined and Positive.” I also am taking down the one that pleads with me to do yoga every day. “This is quick! And you’ll feel better!” it says. I ignore it anyway, even though it’s bright pink.

I will leave up the note that says, “Do one thing every day to reach out.” New 2016 watchword: Open.

Where are those Post-its?

Contact me at