I consider myself a disciplined person, but every year, I seem to fail at my New Year’s Resolutions– along with the rest of the world.
Last year, I tried a different approach to my goal-making and found it effective. Rather than picking one goal to change, I thought a little bigger. I sat down with my journal and thought about the year ahead.
What did I want my year to look like when I looked back on it next Christmas?
As I reflected on this question, I began to compile a list of qualities, traits and keywords that encompassed my desires for the year.
Rather than thinking of a specific behavior I wanted to change, I thought of what kind of a person I wanted to become in the year ahead and chose theme words to represent those goals.
After making a list of “theme words,” I used a word cloud generator (like WordArt) to make an image and print it out. (WordArt connects automatically to Zazzle, in order to print). I put my printed word clouds in places where I’d see them every day, to remind me of my end goals for the year. I am amazed at how effective this approach was! It truly changed the way I approached exercise, food, my mindsets and my character goals.
Here are my word clouds from last year:
(*I printed them on tiny cards. This year, I’ll make them bigger, Lol).
Let me Break Down 3 of My Key Words/ Phrases from Last Year:
- Build Strength
- Aim High
These might seem a bit vague, but each word or phrase carried specific meaning for me for the year– a grid through which I made decisions.
Rather than giving up sugar (yeah right) or going vegan, I decided to focus on one thing– increasing my protein throughout the year. My doctor advised me to do this and whenever I do, I noticed I eat healthier overall. I was not 100% successful, but seeing this word on my word cloud drew me back, whenever I was off course.
With Lyme disease, the idea of physical progress feels like an impossible goal. This year, I decided that whether I succeeded or not, I’d try to make progress in my stamina with exercise, even if I lost it again. And guess what? I did. I didn’t make huge progress, but I definitely tried more physical activities and built more strength than I’ve had since before my relapse in 2008. I consider that a success!
This phrase was the most influential in my year; in fact, it’s the reason I started this blog. For years, Lyme disease has stolen my progress in every area of my life. After a while, I stopped trying new things, because I was afraid of losing them. This year, I got the idea to start this blog and I was scared– of failing or of getting too sick to write. But I decided, I’d “aim high”– even if that meant failing.
I applied this philosophy to other things as well. I joined a weekly Bible study, even though I knew my health would keep me from being there every week. I’ve started pitching and writing articles for other publications like Motherly, Baby Center and Scary Mommy. While I’ve certainly not had success in everything I’ve tried, I have no regrets.