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Lose the New Year’s Resolutions!

What’s In a Word?

Many people choose a “word” as a focus tool for the year. I have been doing this since probably 2005 when Kathy, the owner of the yoga studio where I practiced, passed around a basket with words. I chose “openness.” At the time I asked if I could pick a different word. After all, the woman next to me chose love, which seemed like a much better word. I remember Kathy telling me that I was stuck with openness because the word had chosen me.

I went home, taped the word onto my computer, and let it be an anchor as I went through the year. Looking back, I know that this made a tremendous difference in my year.

What it did was allow me to focus on being a person who was more open to opportunities, more open to challenges, and more open to other people. It required me to “be” or work on “becoming” a certain person.

That is what I like about choosing a theme, whether that’s one word, two words or a short phrase. It is not about resolving to do something. It is about becoming – becoming the person you want to be. You know those New Years resolutions you make every year? Lose weight, get organized, exercise more, the list goes on and on. The reason they don’t work is that you are still “being” the same person. You need to choose to “be” a different person. It’s the focus on being that makes a difference.

Here we are nearly at the beginning of a new year. I have been thinking about my word, or rather my intention for being, for the year. I looked back at the words from previous years — openness, abundance, challenge, joy, consciousness, trust among others.

Last year’s word was impact. I wanted to create a bigger impact with the people I worked with. I wanted what I do to have a positive impact on people I may not even know. I wanted to have a greater impact on my own life. And, I want to feel mindful inside about what I was doing. All of that required me to take specific actions.

Choosing Your Word

Have you picked a word or theme to guide you for the year? If you have not, give it a chance.

Here’s some ideas if you need help getting started.

Think about the quality or direction that you want your year to take. How would your year be different every day if you focused on this quality every day of the year? What would you and your life look like one year from now if you focused on this quality?

Think about what you might have resolved to do and ask yourself what quality is necessary for that. If you followed our four-part goal setting blog series, ask what quality is needed to accomplish those goals.

Try a search online for character qualities and go from there. Lots of people immediately come up with a word that resonates with them. Others need a bit more time. It’s about finding your word, not someone else’s. My best advice is think of a word, mull it over, and if it keeps showing up, that is the one.

Moving Forward Next Year With Your Word

Once you come up with your word or intention, what do you do with it? Here are four tips:

Create habits or practices that will let you incorporate this word/theme into your life. This could be as simple as creating goal/affirmation cards around your theme and reading them every day. I write my word on a sticky note and attach it to my computer where I will see it every day. Since I work with artists, many of them create a small piece of art with the word.

Share it with someone else. This is especially helpful if the person will hold you accountable. Over the years I have shared mine with some of my mastermind partners or family members, and we talked about why we chose the words we did.

Look at where you’ve sabotaged yourself with respect to this word in the past. Why is now the right time for this word? We are all our own worst enemy, and it’s important to look at where we stop ourselves. When you understand this, it will help you watch for triggers that may stop you going forward.

Do something that lets you take action on your intention. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to know the “how.” You are letting the word guide who you become. When you are ready, the how will show up.

What is my word for next year? I’m still mulling, though I know it’s around leaning in and taking bigger risks. No fear need apply.

What word did you end up with? And, if you picked a word last year, how did that make a difference in your life? Please share your word below (in the comment section) to make that commitment and see what you can create in 2017!

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12 Responses to “Lose the New Year’s Resolutions!”


  1. Lorraine Giannetto-Glach said:

    I really enjoyed this information! I will be diligently thinking of my WORD for 2017. Thanks for always sharing such insightful informations!


  2. Morna said:

    Lorraine, let’s us know what you come up with!


  3. Cathy frick said:

    I got my word on Christmas Eve from the pastor’s sermon. He asked for a word of something we would like God to change. I chose ‘distractabilty’. Then a word that described what I wanted to be that related. I wrote ‘Focused’. There’s a lot of things I let get by me. So I want to focus on starting AND finishing!


  4. Morna said:

    Cathy, great word to choose. Interesting that the way the word came to you outside the business context. It will apply to everything around you, and I know you’ll get more accomplished.


  5. Christine Hager-Braun said:

    Last year I chose the word “noteworthy”. As a quiet introvert I struggle with marketing and tooting my own horn. Noteworthy meant to have a new website, try harder to write a blog and use Facebook more often. Although these are small steps they lead in the right direction!


  6. Morna said:

    Christine, Hooray! It’s really about consistent small steps in the right direction as you found out. Now you’ve got noteworthy to build on going forward.


  7. Elli Molstad said:

    My word this year is Challenge–to walk without pain, to expand my business,to write,to create new designs and patterns.


  8. Morna said:

    Elli, great choice. It fits so much of where you are in your life and business.


  9. Sue Choitz said:

    I love this idea. I have a deck of cards with attributes of the “Universal Laws of Creation” I meditated on the coming year. . . shuffled the cards and CONCENTRATION was the word I got. Going with it. It fits. Concentration as in concentrate on what I want in my life and my business. Now to make some signs/posters for myself.


  10. Morna said:

    Sue, Perfect! It’s about not getting sidetracked with all the bright shiny objects!


  11. Jo Ann Woods said:

    Last year I chose TRUST. I wanted to trust God 100% as I entered retirement on Jan. 12th. I was scared…financially, longevity, and family issues. Funny how my business wasn’t included! I’ve made it one year now and I end my year with…Checking in with God everyday is essential. His presence in my life has never been so apparent. My word this year is Change. I have always loved change in my life and my surroundings but to change something about myself is a whole different story. There’s a couple things I need to work on.


  12. Morna said:

    Good choice for you, Jo Ann. I can also see how trust and change are connected.

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