How many times can you honestly say you’ve stuck to your New Year’s Resolutions? Many of us enter January with good intentions only to forget about the goals we originally set ourselves within a matter of weeks. Research suggests that most people abandon their resolutions by the 19th of January and just 8% of people see their ambitions through to the end of the year.
The pandemic has shown just how uncertain our lives can be. We might enter a year with a plan of action in place only for circumstances to change outside of our control, forcing us to change our priorities and have a very different perspective 12 months later.
Rather than setting yourself a giant to-do list (or not-to-do list) this January, could it be time to embrace a Word of the Year instead? By simplifying the resolution process and whittling your ambition for the year ahead down to just one word, you can place less pressure on yourself, reduce your chances of ‘failure’, and avoid the guilt that comes with being unable to meet your targets.
In an article for Oprah Mag, Gretchen Rubin writes: ‘Every January, in addition to making resolutions, I pick a one-word theme for the year. I think about what I want most from the next 12 months—how I want to grow, what I want to accomplish—and search to identify a single word to sum it up into one overarching theme. Choosing my word is a creative, clarifying exercise, because it pushes me to think about my aims and distill them into a single idea. Over the years, my one-word themes have included “Upgrade,” “Bigger,” “Re-purpose,” and “Delegate.”’
It’s unclear who was the first to come up with the concept of a Word of the Year, but the initiative does have its own website. Its creator Alece Ronzino, a nonprofit communications strategist and freelance copywriter/editor, writes: “One word you can focus on every day, all year long… One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps.”
Unsure what to select as your Word of the Year? Here are just a few suggestions: