We all know that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. In fact, pretty much all of us have made them and not kept them at some point in our lives. I’m no different. I have made resolutions to exercise or organize or self-improve, and pretty much all of them fell by the wayside before January was over.
All the same, I think that a new year can offer a great opportunity to make some changes. There’s something about a new year that seems fresh and clean and full of possibilities. Sometimes a natural shift like that can provide a great impetus to do something new and different, and improve your life in the process. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of the feeling of a new start that comes around at New Year’s, and doing a little bit of soul-searching and personal reflection. But nobody wants to set a bunch of goals that go nowhere, so what do do?
Last year I decided to choose a word for 2011. The idea was that it would give me something to focus on, and something to keep in mind as I went about my life. My word was “space”. I wanted more space in my life for myself, my family, and the things that I enjoy doing. I wanted to end the year feeling as if I had more time, a better living space and more room to maneuver.
Image credit: Jeremy Yerse on Flickr
Did choosing a word for 2011 work? Yes and no. On the one hand, I did make changes and choices to bring more space into my life. I let go of some things that weren’t working for me, set some priorities and started saying “no” more. On the other hand, I started a new job in July, wrote an e-book, and started a podcast. As I see 2011 out, the truth is that I probably brought more things into my life than I let go of over the course of the year. But there’s something critical that makes it worthwhile, and it’s that I love the things I brought into my life. I adore interviewing people for my podcast, I love my job at VancouverMom.ca, and I’m immensely proud of my e-book. Maybe I filled up the space I created, but I filled it up with good things, so I’m calling it a win.
Buoyed by my semi-success, I’ve decided to choose a word to represent what I want to bring into my life in 2012. But with January 1 closing in on me, I still don’t know what I want that word to be. When the word “space” came to me last year, it just felt right. I’ve been spending a few weeks thinking about my 2012 word, and so far nothing has really resonated with me. I’ve considered joy, play, sustainability, purpose and passion, but none of them quite fit. Peace is the closest one so far to being a winner, but it’s still not there. And so, I’m continuing to work on it.
I trust that the right word for 2012 will come to me. In the meantime, I will sit with it, and think about what I want to bring more of into my life. No resolutions – or magic – required.
Do you choose words or set intentions at New Year’s? And have you decided what you want more of in your life for 2012? I could use suggestions!