Ditch the New Year's Resolution and Do This Instead

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New year's resolutions are toxic and almost never work out how we planned them to. Avoid the disappointment this year and choose a guiding word instead. Choosing a word for the year will help you to avoid the defeated feeling you get when you give up on your resolution and allow you to start living the life you've always wanted! Read on for my tips on finding your word and why new year's resolutions can be so toxic.

Why new year's resolutions are toxic

Each year, leading up to New Year's Eve, everyone starts buzzing about their plans for the new year. By now, all of your friends have probably told you how hard they are going to crush 2018 and what their resolutions are. You have probably even come up with a few for yourself. Well, I am telling you right now to forget all of the resolutions you have made! I am all for crushing the new year and making each year better, but resolutions are not the way to do it. 

New year's resolutions are toxic for two main reasons. The first being that they breed moments of self doubt, unhealthy comparison, and otherwise negative thoughts about yourself. The new year shouldn't be about picking apart your every weakness and resolving, unrealistically, to change all of them. We also tend to compare our resolutions and life to the lives of the people around us. This causes us to think negatively about where we are in life and what we have to show for it. Comparison like this leads to self-doubt and breeds resentment and toxic feelings toward ourselves and others. No, thank you!

The second reason new year's resolutions are toxic is because they aren't realistic. Each year, we compile a list of things we don't like about ourselves and/or our lives and set wild goals to change them. These goals usually aren't healthy (read more on setting healthy goals here) and cannot be easily accomplished. A few weeks into the new year, most people either forget about or give up on their resolutions because they realize they aren't attainable. This creates a vicious yearly cycle of self-doubt, unrealistic goal setting, probable failure, and disappointment.

Let's try to avoid that this year, shall we?

What to do instead of making a new year's resolution

This year, I challenge you to choose a word that will guide you. The word should encompass how you want your year to feel and what your focus will be throughout each aspect of your life. Rather than creating a goal for each life area like work, health, and relationships, you are going to choose one word that highlights the essence of what you want to accomplish and apply it to all life areas. This will be your focus for the next year and will help you create the life you want!

Choosing a word is different from creating a new year's resolution because it isn't focused on tasks, or even finite goals. It is more about creating your ideal life and becoming the person you want to be. This is an exercise in general mindset rather than specific goals with defined outcomes.

My Word for 2018

This year I am choosing the word intention. I want to do everything this year with intention. I will make decisions with intention, write with intention, eat and move my body with intention, and I will say what I have to say with intention. I will simply live with intention. 

Intention is defined as, "a thing intended; an aim or plan." When reflecting on my past, I realized that I have been to much of a passenger throughout the journey of my life. I want to take charge and allow my actions to create the future I desire. I will no longer make decisions without thinking more deeply of how it will impact the future I want. This trickles down through every aspect of my life from how I spend money, to what choose to I eat. This word will help me to change how I think, which is the key to getting what I want out of life.

This is a big word for me, but it came to me immediately and I feel strongly connected to it so I know it is the right choice. Being afraid of your word is okay, it is supposed to be something that will guide you and help you to grow. If it isn't at least a little bit scary, you aren't doing it right.  

how to Choose your word for 2018

Start by brainstorming what you want your life to be like this year. Is there something specific you want to do? How do you want to feel? What makes you happy? Write a few ideas down and words will start coming to mind. Just keep writing down words and feelings until you can't think of any more.

At this point, read over what you have and start making connections. Think about why these words popped up and what they have in common. It may not be apparent at first, but think deeply and try to uncover the true feelings behind what you wrote down. 

If you wrote contentment, friends, outdoors, and travel maybe your word is something like grounded or connection. Think about why these words came up. Maybe it is the energy associated with them that appeals to you, maybe it is the feeling they give you, or maybe it is something else entirely. That something will be the key to helping you find your word. Remember, your word should illustrate the type of person you want to become, not what you think you need to be doing.

Sometimes the word just comes to you, as mine did and that is totally fine! If a word comes to you and it feels right, then go with it. Trust yourself to choose your word wisely, after all, you know yourself best.

Here are some starter words if you're having trouble, use these as inspiration or choose one of them as your own if it feels right:

Mindful, slow, minimize, empower, balance, create, soar, connect, simplify, adventure, listen, still, positive, gratitude, strength.

Sticking with it

Like new year's resolutions, words can fall away and we can get distracted. To keep your guiding word fresh and in your mind, post it somewhere where you will see it often. I wrote mine down on a cute card and framed it to put on my bedside table. Every morning when I wake up and every evening when I go to bed, I see my word. This is great because I can reflect on my word at the start and end of my day, keeping it fresh in my mind and forcing me to grow with it. 

Don't forget to share your word with loved ones as well. Sharing our aspirations with friends and family helps to keep us accountable. In fact, share it with everyone! Post your word in the comments below, I'd love to know what you've chosen and help you create the life you desire!

Happy new year, everyone. Here's to a wonderful 2018!

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