Food & Fitness

New Year’s Resolution Alternative: Choosing a Word or Phrase for the Year

New Year’s Resolutions are great. They can be valuable to us if they’re SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). But since I love making mini goals all throughout the year, creating resolutions every January just doesn’t really happen for me. Instead, I like to go with a New Year’s resolution alternative by choosing a word or phrase for the year.

New Year's resolution alternative

Happy New Year!

 I like the idea of choosing a word for the year for several reasons:

  • It can cover a range of different areas of your life.
  • It’s something you can keep coming back to, day after day, and discover new definitions for and meanings behind it that pertain to you.
  • Success with a word of the year is really about embodying that word—it’s something you can continually work toward, every day of your life.
  • A word or phrase for the year can help you understand the person you are and the person you want to be, and help to connect those dots. It can set you along the direction and path that is right for you, right now.

Choosing the right word for 2015

I hadn’t given too much thought to which word or phrase I would choose as my 2015 New Year’s resolution alternative until it came to me, just last week. In my experience, you can’t spend too much time trying to carefully choose what word or phrase is the right one for the year; if you do that, I actually find that it’s much more difficult to really be it or live it. Instead, you have to come by it more organically—and you’ll know it’s the right word or phrase for you when you see or hear it!

Last week, I was talking to Mr Science about how I hoped that the people we had been out with earlier that day didn’t get the wrong impression about me: I was concerned that some of my mannerisms and interests had come off as snobby.

And Mr Science said this to me:

Who cares? This is who you are—if people consider that to be “snobby,” that’s their problem. You have to be who you are. Own it.

That, right there, was when it clicked.

Own it.

That’s exactly the right phrase for me for 2015.

One of my favorite words of the year in the past was confidence. That word was perfect for me a while back, and at this point in my life I have a great deal of confidence in myself and my abilities—which is awesome! But as someone who critiques for a living, I am also aware that there is always room for improvement, and always ways in which we can grow and change.

I still want to grow and change (and do any of us really have a choice in that? We might as well enjoy the process!), but I also want to make sure that I own who I am, right now—without apology, shame, or guilt.

So that’s what I’m focusing on this year as my New Year’s resolution alternative: owning it.

Do you like to make New Year’s resolutions? Are you interested in a New Year’s resolution alternative? Have you ever chosen a word or phrase of the year? What will your resolution or word of the year be for 2015? Share in the comments section below!

Edited to add: Check out my “owning it” articles throughout 2015:

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  1. Contemplative Fitness

    This gets thrown around so much this time of year; resolutions, choosing a word for the year, don’t make resolutions, and so-on.

    I’ve never understood this. Yes, I have words that mean a great deal to me, but I can’t stop at one. Mindfulness. Kindness. Giving. Listening. These are just a few.

    If there’s on resolution I think we all could benefit from, is taking 5 minutes every morning for contemplative prayer. It’s the best 5 minutes of my day…

    365 though, 365…

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Ooh and I think you’ve made a really good point here: we’ve got to do whatever works for each of us as individuals!

      I think part of the *problem* with New Year’s resolutions is that there’s so much pressure associated with the term. When we think of it as goals or as words of the year or what-have-you, it maybe seems a little more doable?

      Love words 🙂

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  3. Marc

    Another epic post Sagan–SMART is where its at. I used to like the idea of goals but things changed when I came across this quote: “Losers have goals. winners have systems.” It basically means that you need to actually have a plan for how to get up off your lazy butt between the goal planning and achievement.

    The idea of “chucking” things into micro-goals or milestones keeps you motivated and keeps your eyes on the prize. The time-boxing part is also so crucial otherwise like Parkinson’s Law says the time it takes to complete a task will fill into how much time to give it (paraphrasing). So if I knew that I had only 1 week to practice for a 10K I would have a much more productive week than allowing 1 month to plan for the run.

    Between time-boxing and chucking one major 2015 goal can be 52 SPECIFIC micro-goals that you would complete each week. If its a goal that can be completed in 1 month then make a daily micro-goal. If its a goal that you have one day to complete–use the Pomodoro method (its the best technique that I learned in 2014). Thanks for sharing.

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