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It’s kind of remarkable that it is already 4 days into 2019. Last year just sort of went by in a flash, didn’t it?

If you are like one of the millions of people who make New Year’s Resolutions on the eve of a new year then you’ve probably already considered giving up your resolutions approximately 50 times by now.

Dude. I feel you.

My entire life it seems was an endless guilt spiral that started and ended with over-enthusiastic New Year’s Resolutions that fizzled out by the first week of February EVERY YEAR.

Stop me if this sounds familiar.

You make the resolutions. Then, you give up on the resolutions between 2 weeks to 6 months from now. You would, of course, remember those resolutions a few times throughout the year. Then you feel guilty about letting them go, and make a promise to yourself that next year you will do better. But, since you had already failed at keeping them up, you might as well put it off until next January and start over then. December then rolls around with its bingeing of pie (just me?) and resolution making in which you are forced to remember everything you didn’t do the year before. Que the depression spiral.

There is a better way!

In 2018 I decided to try something different with my New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of making a list of resolutions that would be long forgotten by February and then a source of depression at the end of the year. I decided to pick a focus for my efforts instead of set in stone goals.

What is a Word of the Year?

The basic premise is that having a word of the year is an alternative to yearly resolutions. To put it simply, instead of having a bunch of resolutions, you have a theme that you choose to focus on throughout the year through actions and reflection.

If you could improve ONE aspect of your life, what would it be? If you find yourself struggling to decide what that focus should be, writing down all of your goals and hopes and dreams for the year is a great way to discover underlying themes that your subconscious is naturally pushing towards.

By focusing your energy on one simplified overarching theme that you want to improve, you have a useful tool in aligning your actions with your intentions.

I wrote more about setting a focus Word of the Year last year as well.

Vision boarding

To help you keep up momentum and periodically remind yourself of your focus word create a vision board and hang it in a prominent place of your home. Or go the digital approach and make a virtual one on a site like Canva or PicMonkey and set your board as your computer desktop background so that you are guaranteed to see it nearly every day.

There are instructions all over the web on how to make your own. I really enjoyed this one that goes into a little bit about why vision boards work as well as how to make your own.

PicMonkey also has a really nice tutorial on how to make a couple of different styles of virtual vision boards, as well.

How 2018’s word went

For 2018 my one big focus was adding in more adventure to all areas of my life. I made myself a suggested list of activities and accomplishments I could pursue throughout the year but gave myself the leeway to change things up if those items seemed less exciting or doable as the year progressed. I didn’t let myself off the hook all the way though because that leeway came with the caveat that I would have to actively look for other ways to implement my “Word” outside the boundaries of the list. With the focus word of Adventure that meant saying YES! more often to opportunities that presented themselves and changing up my routines to find new and exciting ways to do what had become mundane.

And the Adventure List?

I didn’t complete everything on my suggested Adventure List (in fact I barely completed any of them.) If they had been resolutions I would have felt really bad about myself. But, I knew going in that I was very unlikely to complete all of them because of the realities of time and money. I do however feel like I succeeded with living up to the focus word I had set for myself because of the things I did that couldn’t have even imagined when I first sat down to make that list.

Things such as:

  • Leading several teams during my last semester of college
  • Going to TEN holiday parties in December (my little introvert heart almost couldn’t handle that)
  • Being present for the birth of my nephew
  • Spending several weekends at renaissance fairs in gorgeous outfits that I had had made for me or had collected throughout the year
  • Taking spontaneous road trips to visit family
  • Starting working a freelance side-hustle (and I loved it!)
  • And of course, the biggest achievement for me in 2018, GRADUATING COLLEGE! *partypartyparty*

 

2019 Word of the Year: Growth

For 2019 I want to focus down a little bit from the wild exuberance of Adventure’s TRY ALL THE THINGS to “try all the things that will help me GROW”.

In a lot of ways, 2019 could be seen as a prep year. I have a really good feeling about what could happen as we roll our way ever closer to the magic of the 20’s being reborn in the 21st century. 2019 is going to be devoted to preparing and improving so that when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2020 the steam will already be pumping so that we can take the 20’s by storm.

2019 is the year of growth before the harvest in 2020.

Conclusion

Having a Word of the Year is a much more forgiving concept than huge unchanging resolutions. Your focus word allows you to set little goals and ambitions for yourself throughout the year that align with your intentions and ultimately achieve more without guilt.

Just as with Resolutions, if you don’t keep your Word of the Year in focus you run the risk of forgetting about it completely. Kick that possibility to the curb with the help of an accountability buddy! Or, for a slightly more hands-off approach, sign up for my weekly newsletter where you will receive weekly inspiration to keep working towards your goals, as well as tips/tricks/dirty little secrets to help you reach those freelance dreams. All you have to do is fill out the form below to sign up.