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Intentional Living
Brady Mikusko, Life Coach 
Personal Trainer
& Balanced Athlete Coach


Issue: #15
Jan  2016

A Clever Way to Create Change in  2016   

Three years ago I wrote a newsletter entitled "The Power
of a Word", in which I encouraged my readers to choose one word for the year, as a alternative to those old, stale New Year's Resolutions. After I wrote the newsletter, I decided to try it myself and I chose Creativity as my word for 2013.

That seemingly simple decision changed my life! 

You see, I had long wanted to tap into my creativity, a denied part of myself. (In my family of origin, one brother and sister were considered the artistic/creative ones. And I was not one of them. Interesting isn't it, that in many of our families, labels are given to us and we identify with those labels rather than being who we really are?)

Choosing that simple, one word led me very quickly to do something outside of my box. I signed up for a week-long quilting workshop in a nearby state.  The workshop -- way over my head and extremely unpleasant -- pushed me to try different approaches to quilting and initiated a wonderfully creative period in my life.

2014: I chose Creativity again!  It has been fun
and wild, in part because creativity is something that I began to realize I do every day in one way or another. Creativity in play, work, relationships.   Creativity is a rich, lovely word to practice. I highly recommend it.

2015: I chose Freedom. Without going into all the whys, let me report that I haven't won the lottery, run away nor am I  living near Walden's Pond walking in nature and writing. My life pretty much looks the same externally. The freedom I have begun to experience is internal and coincides with my interest in meditation. I hope to speak more about this in my new BLOG at

2016: I have spent 2-3 weeks trying to decide on my word. I considered Freedom again, because truth be told, there are many ways I (we) confine/restrict ourselves. Service was another possibility, as I see so much need in the world. I also considered Play...Oh, and Trust was on the table.....So many choices.

But in the end, I decided on the word YES. Yes to what is. Yes to life as it unfolds.  After 3 days, I can already tell you that this word will be challenging.

Choosing a Word......and How to Choose  

This exercise is quite straightforward.
  • Rather than create a list of  "have to do" or "should do because I didn't do last year" directives or demands of yourself  -  choose a powerful, meaningful word and commit yourself to that word for the entire year.
  • This can be challenging, as many of us have a long list of goals we wish to accomplish and the logical left brain will argue: "how are you going to get all those things done if you simply choose one word? I mean, come on!" Ignore that voice. Some of you may ask: Do I really have to choose only one word? My answer is yes, otherwise the power of the word will be diluted.    If you choose five words, you are back to a pattern of lists/directives/resolutions. Ugh.

  • Some of you may already know what word you want to choose, as it has been seeking your attention for a long time, as in my case with Creativity.
  • For those who do not immediately know, I recommend looking at themes/problems/complaints that keep appearing in your life. Find a word that might incorporate a few of these. For example, if indeed you wish to exercise more and eat better, perhaps the word Movement would work? Or Vitality? Or Nourish? Strength? Self-care?  Step back from your problems and seek a word that will guide you and deepen you.
  • Further, do not choose a word that has no juice or spark, or  energy to it ....or you will be back where you started.
Now What? .....The Fun Begins 

Once you have chosen your word, hopefully it will become a simple guiding principle for the remainder of the year. How that manifests, is entirely up to you! No two people will respond the same.  It is your unique word. Remember: what we focus on, expands!

The most important part is to consciously and intentionally engage in new behaviors and practices related to your word:  --small, medium or large.  Why is practice so important?  NEUROPLASTICITY .
Our brains are made up of billions of neurons. Neurons connect to one another, forming pathways that relay information. When we begin a new activity, we are actually forming a new neural pathway in our brain.  The more we practice that activity, the  more we strengthen that neural pathway in the brain, and the easier the skill becomes. If we practice for a short time and then stop, the pathway is poorly formed and we will naturally relapse/fall back to stronger and deeper pathways (often called "ruts")  in our brain. This phenomenon is called neuroplasticity, and it is good news for anyone interested in change. 

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Brady Mikusko, MA, MSW, NCC,  Personal Life and Wellness Coach

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