Five Words to Define a New Year

I like New Year’s resolutions and although I’m a little late, I have set myself one. I’m challenging myself to live this year by five words: Wonder, Growth, Giving, Friendship, and Contentment.

Last fall I was privileged to partake in a G+ Mentorship program that had a profound effect on my thought process and my life. I’m now trying to write in my journal on a regular basis,  I try to choose gratitude over privilege and I want to live my life with intention. It’s been an adjustment, but one that has already seen some amazing payoffs.

When our group leader, Shari Miller asked us what our “definite yes” list was I was confused. I had never heard this term before. She wanted us to list five words we considered to be our core or essential values. Five words that when you hear them, you want to respond with an emphatic: “Yes!” I looked at a list of 418 descriptive words and quickly narrowed my choices down to 10 and from there to these final five:

  • Wonder
  • Growth
  • Friendship
  • Contentment
  • Giving

I’m interested in seeing how this list of five ‘yes’ words will effect my photography. So far I’m finding myself open to using my iPhone more which helps me keep that sense of Wonder I had with my first toy photos. Friendship was an easy ‘yes’ word for me; I’ve always put a high priority on my friendships. I organized a toy photographers meet-up on January 1st because I wanted to get my new year off to the right start. What better way than a day filled with friends, photography and toys? Growth was another easy choice. I’m committed to growing my skills as a photographer as well as a person. Continuing The Basics series and of course nurturing this blog will a huge part of that Growth process.

So far this year is off to a great start!

Using words to jump start my photography isn’t a new practice. Last year I completed a photo challenge with Kristina that led me to describe my photographic journey with the word ‘seeker’. I feel like I’ve added five new words to my arsenal that I can fall back on to inspire and motivate me throughout this year. Like any good New Year’s Resolution, I’m sure there will be course corrections needed along the way. Stay tuned because I will periodically revisit this post to see how I’m doing.

~ Shelly

What are your five “yes!” words? If you feel comfortable sharing your words, please take a moment to comment.

Did you make a photographic New Year’s Resolution that you would like to share?


  1. I’m not sure about my five words right now, but my photographic resolution is to carry on with my 365 project, with daily toy photography.

    I want to try and get some semblance of a consistent style to my photos. I’m not sure what that is yet, and I’m playing around a lot to try different things, but I’m hoping by the time we make it to the end of 2017, I will have more of an understanding of it.

    • Shelly Corbett

      Lizzy this is a great new years resolution. I found my ‘style’ by continually playing around until something clicked. Im sure it will happen to you as well. I think continuing with your 365 is more than enough of a challenge for one year. Maybe you should consider ‘growth’ to be on of your words? Cheers and we will be there to support you every step of the way! Shelly

  2. Thanks for this post Shelly, it got me thinking about my overall goals. I have never liked setting New Years resolutions – not sure what it is; I guess I just think that one should be working on oneself at all times and in many ways. Not just resolutions. I really like the idea of focusing on five words though because it doesn’t seem as canned as “I will achieve ______ this year.” I followed your link and read through Steve Pavlinas post and list. It was interesting to see how I glossed over lots of words without thinking about them at all. Then I would pause on one that would make me think. After some time I narrowed it to five. The five I chose were:

    * Abundance
    * Creativity
    * Diligence
    * Mindfulness
    * Sanguinity

    The last one was a word I had to look up. It means a cheerful and optimistic disposition. I think this will help me to focus on all the other words so it’s a good one to wrap it all together.

    • Shelly Corbett

      Joseph Im so pleased you looked at the list! Like you I had the same response, words words words and then the right ones just pop out! I like your choices and I can see how you would be attracted to them. Maybe you will join me at the six month mark and we can compare how we are doing and how these words make a difference (or don’t)? Cheers and thanks so much for playing along! Shelly

    • Shelly Corbett

      Your comment reminds me of the conversation we had in October. I guess mine should have been reflections too, but I think I will leave it to you and I will concentrate on surviving what will obviously be another growth year. 🙂

  3. It was unexpectedly easier than I would have thought. So easy that 5 words was too much for me. I quickly browsed the list, and from all the words, there are three that stand out immediately for me.

    Adventure: how could I not choose it? It’s the word I got from the “Ideas into Pictures” challenge.

    Amusement: because that’s part of what makes our hobby so interesting no?

    Camaraderie: that one was tricky. I knew for sure I would pick friendship but then I saw this one. I preferred it over friendship because I think it better describes the relation we have with other toy photographers and that include both those we only know virtually and those we have met and truly know.

    There were also these ones I like but I find them not as strong (or too repetitive) than the first three:
    Challenge, Community, Creativity, Determination, Enthusiasm, Excitement, Exploration, Friendship, Fun, Humor, Learning, Outdoors, Openness, Peace, Perseverance.

  4. Shelly Corbett

    A beautiful list you have come up! Yes I agree with your assessment of Camaraderie over Friendship. Both are great words, but the first is better suited for our community. I like the last two you picked: peace and perseverance. I think they have much to recommend them too. Lets reevaluate at the half way point and see how we do. In the mean time the adventure continues!! Thank you so much for playing along, I love it!!

  5. I’m choosing

    – Awareness
    – Curiosity
    – Persistence
    – Playfulness
    – Simplicity

    Awareness and Curiosity as reminders to look and really pay attention…and be open to new possibilities.

    Persistence for those days when nothing really seems to work.

    Playfulness because that’s really what this is all about for me.

    And Simplicity so I don’t end up making things more complicated than they need to be.

    • Shelly Corbett

      Paul, I love your five words; they could easily be my five words! In a world that seems to be going to the dogs (if you believe what you read) we nee all the playfulness and simplicity we can get. I love the addition of persistence because we all ave those days or even weeks when nothing goes right. I hope you will join me later this year and we look at how we’re all doing. The year is long and we all can use the support. Cheers and thanks for joining the conversation!

  6. priovit70

    I’m soooo late… but that’s a great post Shelly!
    And I could help but choose my five words:

    -Camaraderie (I love this word for the same reason Reiterlied wrote)
    -SPACESHIP!! I’m joking, I mean Simplicity, because I tend to complicate even the easiest things

    • Shelly Corbett

      Luigi, there is no early or late here. People seem to fin dos when they have the time.

      I like your five words! I think we can make an exception for you and include SPACESHIP as your sixth word. It’s interesting that for many of us who are active in this community Camaraderie and its twin Friendship are a recurring theme. Because as we all know, everything is better, including toy photography, when you share it with friends!

      I will revisit this post mid year and we can see how we’re all doing. 🙂

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