At the end of each year, it seems everyone is talking about making New Year’s resolutions, setting goals, and giving tips on how to make it all happen. Picking a word of the year should be different.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. So we start making plans and dreaming about what we would like to accomplish in the coming months.
Sadly, however, research tells us (especially gym owners!) that most of us will give up on our New Year’s resolutions by January 15th. We lose interest, get busy, and get discouraged.
So what do we do?
It’s a question I’ve been wrestling with again this year as I pick my word for the year. How do I stay motivated and focused once the excitement has worn off and the hard work begins?
My New Year’s Word is Purposeful
As I have worked on my overall vision for this year and what things I want to accomplish in my health, relationships, spiritual walk, and in my business, the word Purposeful kept coming up. So I adopted the word again for this year.
Last year I wrote about the four lessons learned in picking a New Year’s word. Thankfully in looking back at that post, I see that those lessons still apply.
- Lesson #1: It’s okay to adapt and change
- Lesson #2: Pick actions to support your word
- Lesson #3: Regular reviews and reminders (are VERY important)
- Lesson #4: ??
(Okay that is funny, I just realized I titled that post “4 Lessons Learned”, but only listed three – wonder how tired I was on that day? Oy!)
This year I thought it would be a good idea to expand the list with a few more lessons learned.
Lesson #4: Little by Little is Progress
This one comes courtesy of Lara Casey of CultivateWhatMatters.com. The past six months has held some pretty significant hurdles including finding (and buying) a small fixer upper for Bailey and me followed by some health issues that have slowed both me, and the renovation schedule way done.
On the days I’m frustrated, tired, and wonder what in the world I’m doing, Lara’s concept of “Little by Little Is Progress” comes to mind. So I pick a small task to tackle that will help keep my goals and projects moving forward.
Some days this means taking 10 minutes to fill in the holes in the wall and be one step closer to painting it. Or maybe it is brainstorming a short list of blog post ideas. No matter what you pick, the point is to take action, at lease one small step that will keep you moving forward.
It’s hard to remember sometimes, but, small daily actions build up over time to produce significant results.
Lesson #5: Release Your Unrealistic Expectations.
It is so easy to get caught up in the fervor of starting the year with a blank slate. We get caught up in grandiose plans and expect to see giant leaps and bounds of progress right away. No wonder we fizzle out!
We expect so much from ourselves and get incredibly unrealistic in what we can accomplish during the day, week or month. As a result, New Year’s resolutions become burdens.
Each year it becomes more apparent that I need to look closer at the expectations I place on myself. And now with the health issues that have sprung up, I need to be more aware than ever before, of how I manage my time and energy.
These limitations force me to get real about the unrealistic expectations I tend to place on my schedule. Well, most of the time anyway, I’m still working on this one.
Lesson #6: Picking a Word of the Year is About a Journey Not a Final Destination
When the overwhelm hits, and it feels like I’m not making as much progress as I had hoped, it’s time to remember that picking a New Year’s word is about a journey. Not everything has to be completed by some arbitrary date that is entirely unrealistic.
The word we pick for the year describes a journey. This one word can help us make daily purposeful decisions that keep us moving forward, even when the going gets tough. It’s about knowing that some days will work the way we planned and giving ourselves grace on the days that don’t.
Do you pick a Word of the Year? Share yours in the comments below.
More on Picking A New Year’s Word:
- 6 Tools to Help Cultivate Your Word of the Year
- Pick a New Year’s Word Not A Goal
- 4 Lessons Learned From Picking A New Year’s Word
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.