There’s something about a new year that feels like a clean break. We’re motivated to grow and change at the turn of the calendar page, leaving old habits and unhelpful routines behind us. That’s the premise of new year’s resolutions. We all want our lives to be better! But have you ever noticed that, come February, many of us have abandoned the resolutions we were so determined about just a few weeks prior?
Whether we set the bar too high to keep up with or other, more timely needs come up shortly after 2021 strikes, it’s easy to miss the mark on goals. The thing is, when we set goals that we can’t realistically achieve, we become discouraged, and in turn, less likely to accomplish what we set out to do. “May as well wait until next month (or year) to start fresh,” we think.
Personally, I know how easy it is to be idealistic about personal growth, especially with the fresh start of a new year! By January 1, I want to stick with a budget, meal plan, eat healthier, exercise more, spend more time playing with my kids, and plan more intentional date nights with my husband. All of those things are great, but they’re also a LOT to keep up with.
What if there was a more sustainable, intuitive way to go about personal growth this new year? A way to stay on track with the things you value without getting stressed or discouraged?
Setting yourself up for success is as as simple as a single word (a tip I’ve learned from some great coaches through my journey.) Rather than setting goals or resolutions in 2021, try choosing a word that encompasses what you want to focus on in the year ahead.
How to choose your word
Setting an intention or word for 2021 is as simple as looking back at the last year. What did you struggle with or miss out on, and what do you want to adjust? Or, you can work backwards from your goal. Picture yourself on New Year’s Eve of next year. Which one word or phrase sums up where you want to be at the end of 2021?
Maybe you noticed 2020 was full of busyness and distraction (to say the least!, with little opportunity to deeply connect with loved ones. A word like “presence” could serve as a reminder to stay focused on the people and passions that matter to you most.
Maybe you’ve struggled with self care, and you noticed that your health took a hit as a result. A word like “wellness” or a phrase like “self compassion” could help you remember that, at the end of the day, your own health is the precursor to everything else meaningful in your life.
There’s no right or wrong choice — just try to pick something that will set a positive tone for the year ahead!
How to use your word
I’ve found the most important thing is to keep your word visible. Think about writing your word on a post-it or index card and hanging it in a high-traffic area, like your fridge or your bathroom mirror. This way, you’ll have a constant reminder of your “filter” for the year, and many opportunities to reflect on it.
To go even deeper, you may also want to take time to read books, listen to podcasts, or journal about topics related to your word. If you are focused on generosity, for example, spend regular time reflecting on what generosity means to you, and dream up practical ways you can be more giving toward those around you. Spend time with people you consider generous, and get out of your comfort zone with giving to those in need. Maybe there’s a single mom on your street who would benefit from a hot meal — listen to that inner prying and bring her some soup! Or maybe you could tip a little extra when you go out to dinner with your family. Get creative!
How your word can help you
With your word as a constant reminder of where you want to go and who you want to be, you can make choices more easily. Think of your word less as an arbitrary goal, and more as a filter for decision-making. Will taking on extra hours at work for the money help you to meet your goal of presence? Will adding another soccer league to your kids’ routine add wellness to your life?
Remember, it’s less about perfection and more about a general, positive trajectory. By setting an intention for the year ahead, you’ve already accomplished something positive!
Whatever your word is, we a Nourish are here to partner with you in 2021 however we can. We’d love to see you this year as you make strides toward wellness!
Just click here and we’d love to help! -Dr. Berg