So, it’s the beginning of February. Did you set New Year’s Resolutions this year? Have you fallen off the New Year’s resolution wagon? That’s ok. I used to set them every year and before the end of January I’d fizzle out on doing anything or making progress because it was overwhelming and usually I was trying to reach multiple goals at the same time.
Instead, for the last few years I’ve done something a little different, and it gets results without making you feel bad. (And if you’ve already forgotten about your resolutions, now is the perfect time to start with this technique. 🙂 But kudos if you are making progress!)
What I do is choose a guiding word for the year. I’ve mentioned this before in previous posts, but I’ll go over it again here since we’ve started into a new year again, and for anyone new. 🙂
Last year my word for the year was “trust.” That was an interesting choice because somehow it presented me with many, many situations in which I would just need to trust that things would work out, even if I couldn’t see how. (So be careful in choosing a word like “patience,” or you’ll find yourself surrounded by opportunities that test your patience! ;)). Ok, so maybe it doesn’t work exaaaactly like that, but it sure feels like it.
Maybe you want to choose a word like “compassionate.” The goal would be to approach each situation during the year with compassion and love. If you find yourself in a difficult or trying situation and you don’t know how to respond, you have some built-in guidance already that you set for the year. You are going to respond the way a compassionate person would respond, as much of the time as you can.
This is a little different than setting a resolution like, “Don’t blow up at people,” because it focuses on what you DO want in your life instead of focusing on not doing something negative.
If you wanted to lose weight or already set a resolution to lose a few pounds, for example, and haven’t had much luck, try setting a guiding word that focuses on the emotional result you were hoping to have as a result of reaching your goals. Maybe you want to feel “healthy” or “light” or “at ease with myself.” Maybe you’ll discover that you don’t even need to lose weight at all – you just needed to learn to love yourself the way you are.
I actually set a second guiding word for last year too, and that was “relentlessly positive.” I LOVED having this guiding phrase. (See what i just did there being relentlessly positive about it? ;)).
But really, this little phrase stuck in the back of my mind at all times was such a great way to be more positive. It’s like a mantra you can go back to in any situation. Sometimes the things people say to themselves are more like, “Wow, people must really not like you” or “You can’t do anything right, can you?” but if you have a guiding word or phrase that focuses on a new positive quality that you want to develop, you can use that as the lens for approaching nearly every situation in life. Stop, and reframe your thoughts with your guiding word.
If your current guiding word for life feels more like, “Why do bad things always happen to me?” then it’s time to intentionally choose a (positive!) guiding word to live by for the rest of the year. YOU choose how this story is told, and you get to create whatever life you want.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Compassionate, loving, trust, light, freedom, joy, relentlessly positive, faith, happy, optimistic.
What’s your guiding word? 🙂
P.S. If you’re curious, my word of the year for 2016 is “streamline.” I’m trying to simplify, declutter, and streamline as much as possible in my life, including digital stuff and my physical environment. So far I’ve mostly focused on cleaning up all my digital clutter and old files and things I’ll never use, and I feel so much lighter every time I make a certain process in my life a little simpler or more efficient. Or like how I recently organized my whole apartment (including using a bunch of 80 cent plastic bins that I got on after-Christmas clearance!!) and made it a better and more calming environment to be surrounded by. Little things make a difference.