Keep 2022 simple and focused

Iowa farm

Happy New Year! I think many of us are thankful for the fresh start that each new year brings. Many of us were praying that 2021 would put 2020 squarely in hindsight. While we caught a few glimpses of normal, our lives continue to navigate through the disruptions caused by the lingering coronavirus pandemic.

The year started with Donald Trump’s presidential term ending, insurrection in our nation’s capital followed by Joe Biden’s inauguration. And then the year continued to give us plenty to debate, hate and argue about. Vaccine mandates, border issues, the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan, critical race theory, climate change, and federal legislation negotiations all continued to divide our country.

As we look back at 2021, I think there are a few words and phrases that will forever be tied to 2021. Some of these include vaccine, insurrection, fatigue, cicada, perseverance, supply chain shortages, marginalized, woke, infrastructure, guardian, meta, doom scrolling, build back better, it is what it is, transformative, equity, inclusion and the great resignation. 

We can’t control the word or words which will be used to describe a year in retrospect. However, there is merit in being intentional about the words we individually focus on as we start a new year. 

One word

A few years ago, I followed the advice of my wife to concentrate on one word for the year instead of making a long laundry list of New Year’s resolutions. Simple enough, right? Just one word. 

Some of the words which I have chosen over the past few years included organize, transition, patience, declutter and intentional. I am still a work in progress on each of these words. However, I have made great strides in organizing my personal and farm stuff and am being more patient and intentional in all aspects of life. 

So, what is my word for 2022? Words such as elevate, prune, quiet, shepherd and sparkle bubbled up as I did my self-reflection. But after much thought, I decided to keep the same word I selected last year: intentional. 

The word intentional drove me through 2021. I updated my estate plan and was more judicious with life/work balance. I was more intentional in sharing my farm goals. I did much better in determining which battles to fight and which to ignore. 

I pruned out some activities so that others could bear more fruit. I was more intentional about making room for the divine appointments of life. All were important steps for me. 

However, I recognize that more intentionality is needed in my work, farm, personal and spiritual life. So, intentional it is! 

Your word

My question for you is if you can choose one word to guide yourself and your farm business in 2022, what will it be? What word will help drive your focus, energy and work into the new year? I encourage you to ask this question to yourself, family members, employees and neighbors. 

When you choose your word or words, make sure to post them somewhere as a reminder. This could be on the bulletin board or refrigerator, in the milk house, farm shop or in your office as a reminder of where to keep your focus in 2022. 

Final thoughts. I know there is a lot we will take away from the past two years. It is my hope that we are able to focus on the positive adaptations we have made in both our personal and business lives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

As we begin the year of 2022, I would like to offer the following quote from Edith Lovejoy Pierce who stated, “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” 

Seize your word and have a good and safe new year! 


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