What Do You Want In The New Year?

What Will You Embrace This Year?

At the end of each year, Jenna always made lengthy lists of New Year’s resolutions. She wanted to improve her life but come February, she would abandon her list and promise that she would get around to her resolutions later. This created a cycle of guilt and shame that followed her year after year.

Finally, Jenna shared her frustrations with her neighbor, Renee. That’s when Renee shared that she doesn’t use resolutions because they can be exhausting and overwhelming. “Instead I pick a theme for each year,” Renee explained, “A theme is all about embracing joy and being more intentional with each year of your life.”

Renee isn’t the only one that prefers to choose a theme for the upcoming year. So do these smart women…

The Year of Creativity

Rebecca had a good job that she enjoyed. But she wasn’t feeling fulfilled and she didn’t know why. She was thinking of switching careers when she went to stay with one of her girlfriends for a weekend. While there, she helped her girlfriend, a single mom, with some quick and creative renovations.

That’s when she realized her life had been missing creativity. It wasn’t that she wanted a different job—she just wanted more imagination in her life. Each month, she picked a hobby that allowed her the space to create.

The Year of Yes

Shonda Rhimes didn’t realize she’d been stuck in her ways until a relative asked her to do something fun. When she declined, she was told that she spent most of her time saying ‘no’ to opportunities.

The conversation opened her eyes and she decided to open herself to more possibilities. This sparked what she now calls her “Year of Yes”. She even wrote a book about the experience and you can find it here.

The Year of Self-Care

Delaney had spent years putting herself on the back burner. It took a serious health scare in December to make her take a hard look at her priorities. She knew she had to make a change.

So, she decided that her theme for the upcoming year would be self-care. She hired a counselor to help her tackle her emotional eating. With the help of a friend, she updated her wardrobe so she felt confident about her appearance.

There are so many different ways to set a theme for the New Year. Your theme could be about what you want to add (like creativity) or what you want to remove (like stress or emotional eating). Remember, there’s no right or wrong theme. Pick one that speaks to you and lean into it!

A great way to come up with a theme for the year? Pick a word…

Pick A Word

So you’re trying to choose a new word for the upcoming year. You want something that captures all of your hopes, dreams, and inspirations for the New Year. If you’re struggling to choose a theme, it can be helpful to think of one word or phrase. Here are three reasons you might want to consider this method:

One word or phrase invites simplicity.

There’s something about a brand new year that encourages you to become an overachiever. You plan to start a fitness regimen, get a new job, find love, get out of debt, eat healthy, spend more time with loved ones, go back to school, or any number of other goals.

But having just one word or phrase to guide you can simplify your resolutions. Not only does this decrease stress, it also makes it easier to focus. You’re more likely to achieve big things when you’re not feeling pressured to do it all.

One word or phrase challenges you to be intentional.

It’s easy to think of resolutions like a dessert bar filled with cakes, candy, cookies, ice cream, and other goodies. You want one of everything, so it’s easy to load up on the things you think you’re supposed to want.

But what if you flipped the script? What if instead of trying to take a bit of everything, you just picked up one decadent dessert like a creamy cheesecake topped with a sweet cherry glaze or a slice of melt-in-your-mouth peach cobbler? What if you embraced the sweetness of now with a simple choice?

One word or phrase shifts your focus.

It’s easy to fixate on what you don’t like about yourself or your life. For example, if you’re in a bad situation that you can’t change, you may keep throwing around the word “stuck”.

But choosing one word to embrace can shift your focus. What if you used the word “purpose” to remind yourself that there’s a purpose for the situation you’re in? Or what if you chose the phrase “this too shall pass”?

A lot of creative people enjoy choosing a single word to act as focal point. Elizabeth Rider has a blog post with a list of words you might want to consider. Gretchen Rubin shares the words she and loved ones have used in the past few years on her blog.

Regardless of what word/theme you pick, just have fun and enjoy doing it!