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Out with the Old: A New Way to Start Your New Year

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Resolutions are promises to ourselves that set us up for failure.

Life is unpredictable and fluid. Things don’t happen in the linear way people would like them to. Circumstances require shifting. For that reason, I have avoided resolutions in the past and will continue to.

I prefer to have visions, intentions, and goals.

It seems the rest of the world is beginning to think the same way. My social media feeds are filled with “Word of the Year,” “2018 Mantra,” “2018 Intentions,” and “2018 Planning” posts.

This shift is a sign that we are moving from a society focused on conventionality, expectation, and tradition to one more interested in intention, adaptability, and resilience.

Every year, millions of people make promises to themselves and others that they will inevitably break within weeks (or even days).

How many people do you know who have promised to quit smoking, lose 30 pounds, stop spending so much money, or some grand resolution…only to break it to themselves and others?

According to a recent Huffington Post article, only 8 % of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them. (Read the article to find out theories on why these resolutions don’t hold.)

But, despite the unlikelihood of resolution success, most people see the transition into a new year as a time of great change.

To make this transition more meaningful, people find ways to attach symbolism and intention to this event. Those tired of repeated failed resolutions have learned that it is much more effective to apply a more flexible and fluid symbol to the transition.

Here’s a few ideas for those who don’t believe in resolutions but still find importance in the transition of the new year :

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash


Rather than voice a breakable promise, goals for the year can be set. These are things people can strive to accomplish. They are more hopeful and less concrete in nature.

Last January, my goal was to use my degree to attain a “job” along the conventional path to contribute more fully financially for my family and to continue along the track to become a professor… but circumstances and my ability to quickly adjust my sails allowed me to become what I never thought I’d be- my own boss- in February. Rather than feel like a failure, I remained hopeful by simply setting new goals.

“Word(s) of the Year”-

A more recent popularized symbolic habit for New Year’s has been to choose a word or a couple words to represent the coming year. (Although, sometimes, in retrospect, you can realize at the end of the year what those words were.)

My words for last year (though I didn’t realize it until the third quarter) were LEARN and SHIFT.

I soaked up every resource and learned from every positive (and awful) experience through the year. I learned hard lessons. But, I also learned some really great ones. I learned how to let go and love myself, as I shed the veil that I kept pulled tightly over my body and allowed myself to own who I am and share it with others.

Every experience led me to quickly pivot and shift direction. My mental flexibility and releases of control let me pivot so fast, it was dizzying. (I may have a little residual whiplash as a result.) This gal who resists change and has relied on safety in the known learned to embrace SHIFTS in the past year.

This year, my words will be GROWTH, COURAGE, and BALANCE. These are the guiding words I’m focusing on for this coming year.

I’ll use the suitcase full of lessons from 2017 to grow from where I am. Only through personal GROWTH will I be able to fulfill my intention to be a catalyst for transformation for those I work with.

I’ll fight the inner demons and remind myself that I’ve persevered through adversity. I’ll allow myself to have the COURAGE to grow.

And, my fierce determination to make this business of mine strong and effective resulted in an un-level balance beam… between building my business and juggling my family’s health issues, some relationships were neglected as I was a bit isolated in my little country home. This year, I plan to make more of a conscious effort to have a more even BALANCE, so I don’t lose out on the magic of personal family and friend relationships.

Photo by Pascal Treichler on Pixabay


Many people choose to set a mantra to guide them in their decisions and actions for the year. A mantra is a single phrase, representative of your inner voice. To develop your mantra, it is helpful to reflect on the past year or years, think about the recurring themes that have come up, and craft a positive statement you will repeatedly refer to throughout the coming year.

For example, before this past year, I had very low confidence due to fear of being judged and criticized. This resulted in me being filtered and playing it safe early in the year, which led to a struggle for visibility. I didn’t want to be visible necessarily, but needed to be in order to reach the right people who needed the skills and insight I offer. So, my mantra became “unveil the soul of your brand.” I used this not only to guide my clients, but to guide my own presence and brand as well.


My intention is to reach a greater number of people to help them make their visions reality and promote transformations. I intend to widen my offerings, so I can help people at multiple income levels and points in the entrepreneurial journey.

What I have learned in a year of working with business owners is that we are our worst enemy when it comes to getting visible and making traction. Business owners struggle to reach the right people who need their life-changing services because they’re stuck in their own heads and don’t allow their own unique personality and strengths to shine through. So, I’ll help them get past these boundaries and metamorphose.

Finally, I learned too late in the year that networking and making authentic connections is one of the best things we can do as business owners. So, I INTEND to continue to build lasting relationships with like-minded business owners and others so we can support each other and promote success.

Whatever your preference, finding purpose and hope in the new year propels you into an optimistic future. And we all need a little guiding optimism in our lives.

Do you have a word, mantra, or intention for 2018?

Leave a comment and tell me what it is.

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