New Year Resolutions are tricky and cliché by now, that’s for sure. Still, every year millions of people set goals for the upcoming year and hype themselves up for what they might accomplish.
It seems that no matter how much we fail at holding to past resolutions, we have a hope for our future ability to stick to our intentions.
Whether we succeed or not seems to become irrelevant. The thrill of the New Year is that we have a clean slate to create whatever we want.
In reality, January 1st is no different than December 31st in the realm of opportunity. But still, the New Year holds weight. This year I’d challenge you, instead of looking at the New Year as overrated, use the momentum it seems to create and run with it.
Set goals. Dream big. Make a plan.
A fun twist on New Year Resolutions is to take up a word for the year.
Many people I know choose to nix the traditional New Year “resolutions,” and opt for one word to focus their year on. This word has to do with faith and character.
The word points out something you hope to grow or improve in. It marks something you hope to attain, just like a resolution, but often encompasses more the way you live your life than the specific things you are doing.
The trick here is to pick something you can actually explain. To say you want to be “present” this year is great, but what does this mean to you? Does this mean hanging out with the people around you more? Is it chasing opportunities in front of you? Is it doing your work really well? Is it all of these things?
Words I have used in the past include “love” (to learn how to love and be loved in various levels of relationship), “self-discipline,” “boldness,” and this year is “cherish” (to love the time I have with the people and places I’m at this year as if they’re coming to an end).
My favorite thing about picking a word for the year is that throughout the coming months I constantly come to God with the intention. I pray for him to show me ways to improve in the area, thank him when I have, and ask for help when it’s inevitably way harder than I thought it would be.
As you figure out your word and what it means to you, think of practical, tangible ways you can make it happen. What are habits you can work on, changes you can make, resources you can use to bring this word closer to reality?
Often New Year Resolutions fail because we assign ourselves a list of tasks and goals without preparing ourselves for them or checking in with our heart to make sure it’s ready for them.
But what if you just took one word? What if you looked at your heart and thought about where you are now and where you’d like to be a year from now? A year is a long time, a long time to work on one thing. But maybe that’s how long we need to learn something like self-discipline, love, patience, boldness, generosity, or encouragement.
2018 is here and with it comes our proverbial fresh start. I encourage you, begin it with just one word in mind.
What one thing would you improve about your heart and character?
Let’s be a people that want to grow, no matter how long it takes or how hard it may be. Grab a friend, hold each other accountable, and see how one word changes your year.