New Year's resolutions come in all shapes and sizes, but they are becoming increasingly less popular. In a 2020 survey, only 27% of participants made resolutions. Another survey showed that only 8% of people actually followed through with their resolution by the end of the year. So what are we to do? Forgetting about resolutions altogether seems like a negative route, as we should always be trying to improve ourselves. Continuing to make the same resolutions without following through doesn’t seem like a great solution either. Maybe what we need to do is reframe our resolution, to take away all of the fluff until we are left with one simple word.
Instead of having multiple resolutions, try choosing just one word that represents what you’d like to focus on over the course of the year. The simplicity of selecting one word for the year allows you to truly focus on that behavior, that feeling, that action, rather than having your mind busy with multiple resolutions that might only apply to one area of your life.
A one-word resolution allows more room for flexibility. If your word is “dedication” but you didn’t go to the gym that morning, that’s alright, you have the rest of the day to be dedicated to your work, your family, and your diet. In almost all circumstances, you have the opportunity to practice your word. If your word is “present,” you can start each day by thinking of ways to be present in the upcoming activities throughout your day. At noon, you can evaluate the ways you’ve been present - in just a few hours, chances are you’ve had the opportunity to practice your word at least dozens of times! Maybe you were present with your kids during breakfast, present with your audiobook while driving to work, present with your co-workers as you arrived at the office, and present with your work responsibilities.
Choosing your word should be a process that allows for much self-reflection and self-awareness. Consider the situations that brought you stress, anxiety, fear, or sadness over the past year - or past few years - and what factors led to those negative emotions. Are you low on energy and need to reset? Do you find yourself focused on the difficult things instead of recognizing all of the good that is around you? Are you feeling stuck and want to give yourself room to grow? Do you wish you had more time to spend traveling or with your family and friends? Take a few days to evaluate which word would benefit you the most - after all, it’ll be 365 days of the same word so it’s an important decision.
Maybe you’ve come up with a few words and it seems impossible to narrow it down. Even if the words are all positive attributes, still choose just one to focus on. It will make following through easier - and there’s always next year for the next word!
The New Year’s Eve countdown is on and there’s one question left - what’s your word?