An Alternative To New Year's Resolutions

Monday, 12 January 2015

Happy belated 2015! I hope you have had a wonderful start to the new year, and if you've made a resolutions at the start of the year, I hope you're holding strong - we're only twelve days in! If you're finding that resolutions just aren't your thing and you can feel the same pattern beginning to emerge, then perhaps it's time to consider an alternative to making a list of intentions such as  'get healthier' 'work out more' 'eat less junk' 'be less lazy' 'do more xyz' which in themselves are great, but they tend not to last long (for a whole host of reasons that will be the subject of another post), and come November you regret the gym membership you never used, the junk food that is still a dear friend to and lament all the bad habits have yet to be broken, and the good habits that have yet to be taken up. 

I am no stranger to failed resolutions, so this year, instead of having new year's resolutions, I am going to have a word for the year.

I first got the idea from Vienna of myplanner who created a wonderful worksheet to help guide you in creating your goals that she guides you through in her video. What struck me the most was the section in which she asks you to choose a word for 2015 that describes how you plan  approach the year, and to explain why you chose that particular word.

The word I chose for 2015 is: PERSISTENCE

I already had this word in mind from reading Napoleon Hill's 'Think and Grow Rich' at the end of last year, where the word is a recurring theme throughout his teachings, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that there was a reason this word resonated so much with me: I am one of those people who has no problem throwing themselves into a new venture but has great difficulty seeing it through to the end, as my dozens of unfinished stories, projects and ambitions can attest to. Though I can roll my sleeves up and get through a tough time, I am more inclined to back away when things get rough and go back to find the easier route rather than continuing along the road less travelled. 

Basically, I have a problem with seeing things through to the end, and if all the goals I have for 2015 (and beyond) are to be accomplished, I need to have persistence in all my actions. 

Picking a word for the year is a great alternative to New Year's Resolutions because: 
  • there is only one word that you need to remember. For whatever goal you set, whether it's big or small, your one word shapes how you're going to execute it, acting as a guideline. Though it is important to regularly review your goals to see what progress you're making, in the moment of doing something, all you really need to remember is your word. 
  • it provides you with the necessary 'why' behind your actions. Motivation is hard to come by sometimes, especially when the alarm goes off, it's dark and the cold world beyond your duvet doesn't appear particularly inviting. The past couple of days when I've woken up and the last thing I want to do is roll out my yoga mat, I remember that this is the year of persistence. I set myself the goal of exercising every day this month, so that's what I'll do. I don't need any other reasons or motivators: I set myself a goal, I am going to persist to the end, and out of bed I roll.
  • it can shape who you are. Usually you'll pick a word that describes a trait that you're lacking in or that you hope to improve on, so that at the end of the year, instead of having a list of things you've ticked off, you now have a character trait that you've worked on and developed throughout the year that is relevant to all your goals, to every aspect of your life, that you can carry with you into the next year as you tackle a fresh set of challenges.

If you struggle with sticking to resolutions, then this is definitely an approach worth considering. Then again, there's nothing that says that you have to do any resolution setting at all if you're perfectly happy with the way things are, or if you're not ready to change. Change in your own time, not because it's a particular date, and explore all your options to see what fits you best.

Did you set resolutions this year? What do you think of just setting one word for the year?

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