In Praise of the One Word New Year Resolution

Happy 2021. Before I give you the secret to the one word resolution, lets take a look at how others go about setting and keeping annual New Year’s resolutions  🙂

One Word New Year Resolution

The Liveabout website lists the ten most popular resolutions Americans make. Number one is eat healthier, and number two is exercise. While spend more time with family and friends is number nine. If you need inspiration for goals to set, Click here to see the other popular resolutions in America.

Statistic Brain is a website of statistics, percentages, rankings, and all things numbers. They site that a mere 9% of people who make resolutions are successful in achieving them! People in their twenties have a 38% rate of success compared to people over 50 who achieve at 16% rate.

And Mental Floss has a piece about making your New Year’s resolutions stick. The author, Jordan Rosenfeld, gives 10 keys to help. I like number two: To Increase Discipline, Reduce “Activation Effort,” where she talks about the energy it takes to get started. Click here to read her article.

According to Health, there are apps to help people accomplish New Year’s resolutions. Each of the five apps they highlight are for a specific resolution such as wanting to reduce stress or getting organized. The idea is that whatever your resolution, like learning a new language or improving your sex life, you might find an app to help you achieve it. Click here to read their piece.

I should say I’m not against writing a long list of resolutions or goals each year. But I’ve found this one word method really kept me focused and centered. It’s a daily reminder–or however often you want to look at it–of what matters to you. The one word does not cause stress. There aren’t lists of items to check off. There’s no guilt as the months progress. There’s no time required to read through lists, adjust goals, cross off items, or add new items. The one word needn’t require a “to do” rather the one word can invoke a “to be” where you can easily identify if you are or are not being this word.

I learned about the one word approach at a New Year’s brunch with a few dear writer friends at a time in my life when I was incredibly overwhelmed and I didn’t have the energy to create a list of goals. But I could resolve to be one word. That was about all I could handle.  Now looking back I see that my one word goal was so simple that it was both achievable and inspiring. The trick is selecting the one word that truly represents your most important goal. Here are some examples: produce, organize, appreciate, balance, discover, fearless, flexible, and declutter.  Here’s one I wish a friend of mine would adapt: No. She says yes to everyone and has little time left for herself or her writing.  Writers might pick a word like: prioritize or diversify.  Last year my word was submit.  It helped me focus on a weakness: I would write and edit pieces, but never spend time researching markets or submitting my work.  And last year, with this one-word goal, I had the most submissions, rejections, and acceptances, in my career. My word for next year should be sleep, since I didn’t get much of it.  Instead my word for the new year is thrive.  When I’m presented with an invitation or opportunity I can ask myself, will this activity help me thrive?  Then I can decide if I want to accept the opportunity or not.  If you’re one who enjoys writing several New Year’s resolutions, go for it.  Then see if you can find one word that sums up the most important ones.  And tell us your word for the coming year in the comments below.


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