New Year’s resolutions fail. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Think smart, think simple and jumpstart your year. Choose a single word!
[NOTE: This first appeared on Medium.com on January 11, 2022, as I was testing a new platform]
It’s been nearly two weeks since we celebrated New Year’s 2022. By now, nearly 30% of you have already failed in keeping your New Year’s resolutions. If you are being successful so far in keeping your resolutions, I want to congratulate you. However, you will most likely be a member of the nearly 55% of people that fail in their commitment(s) after 6 months (source: Discover Happy Habits).
Let’s face it. Many of you hate New Year’s resolutions just as much as I do. I stopped pretending to do New Year’s resolutions about 10 years ago when I admitted to myself that I will most likely fail at each one of them. A friend once told me, “You won’t fail to keep your resolutions if you don’t make any.” Seems pretty logical to me and fits my desire to not fail.
I do like the idea of New Year’s resolutions. As an analytical person that loves stats, milestones, and goals, I like the idea of setting goals for myself — to be healthier, to exercise more, to devote more time to my family, to spend more time reading, to eat healthier, to try out a new hobby or learn a new skill or spending more time volunteering.
For the last five or so years, my wife and her friends have gravitated away from New Year’s resolutions and spent time in thoughtful prayer and reflection to try and identify One Word that could encapsulate her vision for the year. A word that could bring focus to her pursuits. Her words over the years included Portion, Glorify, Rhythm, and Strive. Three of those words are represented in the above picture with the little 4 by 4 paintings that she commissioned one of her long-time friends to paint.
The concept has fascinated me over the years as I would watch her regularly go back to her word through prayer, reflection, and planning. Her North Star has always been prayer and spending time in God’s Word but adding One Word at the beginning of the year truly did provide her with some clarity in what she wanted to get out of that particular year or where and how to focus.
For the last few weeks, I intently watched her go through the process from the start. She initially started with 4 to 6 words, and I thought she had it narrowed down to the word Steadfast. I thought for sure that was going to be her word for the year and I might have even championed that one on. However, after additional reflection, prayer, and soul searching, she ultimately decided on Strength using the following Scripture Verses:
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”Psalm 28:7, ESV
“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”Nehemiah 8:10c, ESV
“Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”Hebrews 12:12–13, ESV
In doing some additional research, I found that One Word was the creation of Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page (author bio page) and they had written a book titled, One Word That Will Change Your Life*, that was published in 2014. From their website, they describe One Word as follows:
Sounds simple enough and a little inspiring. Don’t we all want clarity, power, passion and a life that is changed to be more rewarding and exciting? Of course, we do!!! In my own reflection, I decided to take on the One Word challenge and identify the word that I want to focus on for 2022. This process wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I was about to jump on 2 or 3 words that seemed like the direction I wanted to go, but a word jumped out that made it seem perfect for me and for this particular time in my life.
Balance. In the busyness of life and all of life’s expectations that have been on my shoulders over the last 10 to 20 years, I have felt a little unbalanced and stressed. Then the recent piling on of the COVID pandemic, the political unrest, the Government mandates and lockdowns, and the changes to fulltime work-from-home, I haven’t really felt like I’ve been in the best of spirits. So, for 2022 I’m selecting Balance as my One Word and I want to ensure that I remain focused on the following:
- Prayer and Scripture Reading — I can always improve in my prayer and scripture reading and I want to try and give the Lord my first fruits and not the leftovers that I generally find myself giving after a long and exhausting day. As such, I’ve started diligently praying to start my day and I have started to read through the New Testament in 60 days. After the New Testament, my focus will shift to reading the Prophets and then see where the Lord is leading me next… maybe the Bible in a Year again.
- Health and Exercise —At 46, I’m terrible at visiting the doctor and the last two years have had a noticeable impact on my overall health and exercise. I think it is because I’m an introvert by nature and the craziness of COVID has basically kept me inside even more. Why go out if you are already home? Well, that has changed. I visited the doctor, and we reviewed my bloodwork and I’m now doing 2 to 4 miles a day on the treadmill 4 to 5 times a week (It is Michigan, and it is cold — anything below 70 degrees is cold to me). I started this before the New Year, and I am currently on week four.
- Work and Family — I’ve been with the same company for the last 21 years. I love what I do, I love the company I work for, but it is high stress with high achievement expectations. The company has given me a lot of freedom to achieve both my professional and personal goals. With that freedom that is granted, it also means it is easy to become a workaholic and work 10 to 16 hours a day, especially in this work-from-home mode that we are in. I want to do a better job to ensure a healthy work-life-family balance.
- Fun — I want to make sure I have fun this year. I want to do more writing (especially Financial and Christian-based), I want to play more games, I want to develop my woodworking hobby, and I want to see and travel a little more with my wife. We are now officially empty nesters. Life is too short not to enjoy it and you never know what is around the corner that may put limits on you or your family.
That’s about it for me. How about you? What are your New Year’s resolutions or what would be your One Word for the year? I wish you nothing but the best for 2022. I hope you receive many blessings, and you find clarity and purpose as you start this new year.