Sometime in my late teen years I picked up on the negativity vibe towards New Year's Resolutions. So instead of sitting down each New Year's Eve to write out a list of resolutions for the next year, I wrote myself a letter that looked back over the past year and pinpointed positive aspects of the year - what I did or who I was that I was proud of - as well as negative aspects of the year - what I could have done better or things I needed to change. I then turned the focus towards the upcoming year and identified specific goals that I wanted to accomplish over the following twelve months. Over the years I found specific goals were often achievable versus failure that often accompanied lofty expectations or general desires. Many of my fondest memories come from those expectations written on a New Year's Eve. There have been a few years in the recent past where mommy life has urged me to go to sleep on New Year's Eve instead of write, and I have found that those years often don't have those one or two special things I can point to and know they were intentionally planned and worked hard for. With my sons' sudden decision to sleep in this holiday break, that New Year's Eve letter to self was written!
The week after 2015 began I heard a short radio commentary regarding New Year's Resolutions with a different twist. Although I rather enjoy my system, I thought this New Year idea was also worth sharing. It is the concept of living "One Word" in the New Year. The idea is to think, brainstorm, and pray about a theme for the upcoming year. Often we start with the best intentions, but then life happens and the daily grind crowds out change, ideas, etc. Sitting down and brainstorming single words begins to show the person doing the exercise what is important to them, what comes to their mind.
After contemplating those words, derive one that your year can center around. For example, my first few spontaneous thoughts are: positive, joy, flexibility. I know that 2015 is going to be a year of change, new baby, new home, new coast of the United States! Being realistic is important, and I know I am not going to complete a major sporting event, save the world, or start a degree in higher education this year. However, attitude will make or break 2015. Those three words encompass qualities that can make change exciting instead of scary. I already wrote my letter…no one word theme for me this year. Perhaps next year, when I am once again short on sleep and time, I will adjust my New Year's Eve tradition to one word. In the meantime...
Instead of making hopes and aspirations for the New Year ones that quickly fade as spring time approaches or frustrations that are brushed aside, SIMPLIFY…a few goals, one word, whatever works for you to not only begin but also end 2015 different & better than you are at this moment.
Below are fond memories, proud achievements…intentionality from New Year past!