Choosing a word of the year instead of doomed-to-fail resolutions allows you to adapt your vision to the challenges of the year ahead.
According to a study from the University of Scranton, only about 19% of New Year’s resolutions are successful for 2 years. That’s it. Less than 1 in 5. I couldn’t find any research on the success rates of choosing a word of the year, but I can’t imagine the practice performs worse than that.
A word of the year is more flexible and adaptable than a resolution. Using 2020 as an example of the importance of adapting shows you how necessary it is to react to the world around you. We’ve all had to change our daily lives in so many ways that really anything, any response, is possible.
Choose your word of the year
>> What do you need in the upcoming year?
>> What will improve your life, your outlook, your relationships?
>> List your (realistic) goals and what you need to achieve them
>> What personality trait would bring your more peace in your life?
>> If you made a resolution, what would help you achieve it?
>> What form of self-care would make you more content?
>> What do you need to reduce in your life?
Resolutions are often a focused segment of a larger overarching goal. A word of the year is more the aura of that goal. Choosing the word health is more than going to the gym: it could involve yoga, meditation, starting therapy, and/or improving your diet.
The Goal Chaser has a huge list of ideas for choosing your word of the year if you need inspiration.
Define how your word of the year impacts your daily life
Write this down. Figure out at least 3 ways to “do” your word of the year.
If your word is gratitude, you could
- purchase a gratitude journal
- make a daily calendar entry (with reminders) to write in your journal,
- make asking “what was the best part of your day?” part of your family dinnertime conversation
For the word slow, you could
- commit to having after-school/after-work activities no more than twice per week
- say “no” or “I have to check my calendar” when you receive an invitation, rather than immediately responding with a “yes”
- download a meditation app, activate the reminders, and start meditating one minute each day
Make your word part of your life
Make your word of the year part of your life…a big, in-your-face part of your life. Write it on sticky notes and post it on your
- bathroom mirror
- computer screen
- car dashboard
Post the word anywhere you look every day, so it seeps into the very fabric of your life.
Make your word the wallpaper on your phone, so you see it 500 times a day. Use a website like Canva to make a pretty jpg of your word with a photo or background pattern – choose something inspiring or enjoyable to look at. Save that to your phone, computer, or tablet so you can look at it often.
Remember to be flexible & gentle with yourself
Resolutions don’t work, in my opinion, because they’re so restrictive and people go all-in when making them.
Resolving to workout 5 times a week is going to be really really hard if you’re not doing anything right now. However, focusing on the word of the year health will help ease you into a workout routine. You could start with a 15-minute yoga video every other day or walk around the block. Eventually, you’ll work up to longer distances and more endurance, so your weekly habits can adjust too.
Not focusing on your word for a day, or even a week, is no reason to stop. Simply pick up where you left off and continue. Don’t beat yourself up for a slip.
My word: balance
I have been thinking about balance in my life a lately… balancing my daughter’s developmental needs and her health, balancing the very different needs of my two children, balancing my roles as wife, mom and entrepreneur.
Obviously the whole premise of Balanced FI is balancing actually living and pursuing financial goals. Both are important but neither should overshadow the other.
In 2021 I want to focus on creating balance, not just thinking about it. To do this, I plan to
- carve out alone time with both girls and my husband each week
- use the girls’ afternoon quiet time to do at least 15 minutes of yoga or meditation, then work
- spend more time reading books for fun
Get more ideas and inspiration at Inc.