The new year is always a time of excitement for new beginnings. I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions – making or sticking to them. In fact, only about 8% of New Year’s resolutions are achieved. So I’ve come up with some alternatives to New Year’s resolutions that I think will be much more beneficial for us this year.
This post is all about my favorite alternatives to New Year’s resolutions.
Choose a Word of the Year
I have heard of many people doing this in the past and never gave it much thought. For some reason, this year I love the idea of having a theme for the year as an alternative to New Year’s resolutions.
By picking a word of the year, you are defining the way in which you will live out the year. I have seen words such as joy, patience, focus, and intentional chosen by people to define the theme of their year. I was originally thinking of the word “completion” because I want to follow through with things more in 2018. However, the word I settled on was “flourish” because I want to do more than just complete tasks. I want to learn and grow from every experience I have, so that is my theme for the year.
I challenge each of you to pick a word of the year. Let me know in the comments what it is or write it down and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Telling someone will hold you more accountable.
Update: this post was originally posted in 2017. It is now 2021 and I have done a word of the year every year since and LOVE it!)
Write a Letter to Your Future Self
When I was in fourth grade I had to write a letter to my future self as a class assignment. At the time I didn’t take it very seriously. When I received the letter I wrote myself in the mail four years later, I was bummed that the only thing I really talked about was my favorite TV shows and food at the time.
In these last few days before the new year, I think it is such a great idea to write a letter to your future self. In this letter (which I am also planning to write) you could talk about your successes of the year, your current struggles, your hopes and dreams, and even make predictions for the future. You could then open it at the end of 2018 and see how much you’ve grown or if any of your predictions were true. Really take the time to think about where you are currently at in life and write down the parts of your heart you might not share with anyone else.
Highlight All Your Positive Aspects
Instead of focusing on the things you want to change about yourself, highlight all the good things. I think the reason I never enjoyed New Year’s resolutions was because I always focused on the things I didn’t like about myself and tried to think of ways to change them. How sad is it that we feel like we need to change things about ourselves?
Take a few minutes this week and write down at least five things you like about yourself or that you are proud of. If you take the time to highlight a few things and decide that you could improve even more in the new year, note ways that you can build on these things. Feeling brave? I challenge you to share them with everyone in the comments.
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Maybe the main reason none of my new years resolutions ever lasted was because they weren’t S.M.A.R.T. goals. In order to set S.M.A.R.T. goals they need to be: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. The general resolutions like “lose weight” and “eat healthy” never last because they don’t meet this criteria.
This year my number one S.M.A.R.T. goal is to read 15 books by the end of the year. This is a S.M.A.R.T. goal because it is 1) specific – I know exactly what I am trying to do 2) measurable – I clearly stated the amount I want to reach 3) achievable – I could easily read a book a month 4) relevant – reading more will increase my brain activity and possibly increase personal development if I am reading the right books 5) time bound – I want to finish this goal in one year.
Create a Bucket List for the Year
This one might be one of my favorite alternatives to New Year’s resolutions. I am someone who loves to make lists and check things off. For your yearly bucket list you can note things you want to do, places you want to go, or people you want to meet. The options are endless. Take some time to note things you didn’t get to do this year that you wanted to then add new things for 2018 as well. One way of doing this list would be 18 Things To Do In 2018.
I hope that you found one of these alternatives to New Year’s resolutions helpful for you. Best of luck in your new year, I pray that each and every one of you experiences peace and joy in 2018. Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all!