It’s that time of year again. The gyms are packed, the health food aisles are ravaged, people have picked their next diet regimen, goals have been set, de-cluttering has begun, and habits are being broken – or started – it’s New Year’s resolution time.
But what if you didn’t set an outlandish weight loss goal, set out to climb a mountain (when you’ve never been on a hike), or create a vision board that you’ll take pleasure in burning come the end of the year? What if you chose a word of intention instead?
Picking a Word for Yourself
In recent years, the adoption of a personal word for your year has grown in popularity, taking the place of high-pressure resolutions filled with stress and expectation. A personal word can be as simple or as complex as you find appealing. Many people choose an overarching word like “breathe,” “pause,” or “think,” which they can apply to any situation needed.
Yet some people have more specific and intentional goals. Choosing a word which serves as a reminder to take action or conversely not take a particular action can be a very powerful way to break or create new habits. You may alternately decide that two words, a pairing, or a phrase is more suiting to your needs and aspirations this year.
The beauty of implementing this new tradition is you can choose a word for yourself, your kids can choose a word for themselves, or your family can work together to find a word that encompasses one goal for all of you this year.
Putting your word to work
There is no limit to how you can put your word to work. You can be simple or extravagant, whatever suits your style and makes a great method of encouragement.
Colorful sticky notes on your bathroom mirror are a cheerful and immediate way to be reminded of your word every morning. Some people have jewelry made and wear that particular piece every day for the entire year. Last year, I tattooed both of my words on my arm. Extreme in the eyes of some, but perfect for me.
The most beautiful part of choosing a word of intention rather than setting resolutions is that you can’t fail. You simply cannot. Even if there was only one time when you remembered to take a deep breath before you answered that email from your rude coworker, you triumphed! You did it!
Maybe you harnessed your patience (one of my words for last year) every Monday morning while watching your three year old put on his rain boots at a snail's pace, but by Friday you were yanking them on while you ran out the door; again, you still succeeded 52 times. Yes, that’s right, you conquered your goal 52 times. You are a champion.
Maybe that will be your word for 2017? Anything is possible in a new year. What will your word be?