January 18, 2012 Edition

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Learning to 'expedite'
in the new year

John Bland

The first half of January 2012 is now over, and I am coming to grips with my new year's resolutions or lack of them. Many potentials came to mind, such as losing weight, exercising more, reading more books and straightening my desk. These are good things, and I am working on them.

However, after reading a story in the current issue (January 2012) of Guideposts magazine, a new idea presented itself. Renee and I read the magazine regularly, and as most of you know, it is a magazine containing the stories of real people and their experiences that have a spiritual or inspirational message. Norman Vincent Peale, author of "The Power of Positive Thinking," and his wife Ruth Stafford Peale co-founded Guideposts in 1945.

The story I am referring to is entitled, "Choosing Words to Live By" by Debbie Macomber, who is a bestselling author. For a number of years, she has made a habit of selecting one single word to focus on for an entire year. At first, the thought of focusing on a single word seemed a bit obsessive to me, but I have since changed my mine.

I will not re-tell her story but share that she writes about having chosen words, such as "trust," "prayer," "hope" and even "hunger." This year her word is "listen."

"Listen" is a good word, and I seriously considered borrowing her word. I know that I could work at doing a better job of that. Another word that came to mind is "alert," as in being alert and paying attention to one's surroundings and information.

I am guilty of interrupting others when they are trying to tell a story. It is also very easy for me to tune out information, such as political coverage on TV. One might learn a lot by just listening and being alert.

Although both being a good listener and being alert are good things, I couldn't fully connect with just one word or the other. Then, however, another word came up in conversation a time or two.

That word was "expedite," and it is my word for the year.

In a promotional mailing, the word "expedite" came in the form of peel off stickers, and I am keeping one of the stickers on my desk.

According to "Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary," the word "expedite" means: "1. to execute promptly, 2. to accelerate the process or progress of: speed up, 3. issue, dispatch.

This word feels just right for me and is a verb or an activity that I need to make a habit of doing daily. Who knows, if I "expedite" my work it would have to be a good thing in the news business and might help in reaching other goals.

Like any other act of self-improvement, such as getting more exercise, I realize that practicing this word or habit will be a daily challenge.

If I get around to it, I'll let you know if my word choice is making a positive difference.

For more on the Guideposts story, see guideposts.org on the web or read the magazine at the Lawrence County Library.

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