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Out With Resolutions, In With Word of the Year

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

4 people out of focus holding sparklers that read "2022"
Welcome to 2022, what will you make out of your new year?

New Years celebrations have been said to have started around 4,000 years ago, along with the annual promises made - the resolutions. Originally, this was a promise made by Babylonians to their gods to repay any debts they had accrued. Then the Romans adopted it after shuffling their calendar to begin a new year in January, named after the god Janus who reportedly hangs out in doorways and archways and has 2 faces - so looking both back at the exit (previous year) and forward through the door/arch (new year), as a way to promise good behavior in the coming year. The Christians viewed the New Year and resolutions as a way to look back on any mistakes and indiscretions while setting out to do better in the new year. Despite the origin being rooted in religion, New Years Resolutions now are typically focused on activities of daily life - exercise more, join a gym, eat better, be more organized, etc. People don't even think about resolutions until that weird, hazy time between Christmas and New Years anyways, and only around 8% of people actually keep up with resolutions for any amount of considerable time.*

Resolutions are often vague, impersonal, meaningless almost. They're an arbitrary parameter a person sets for themselves, so there's no big consequence to slack off. I have never been one to set resolutions for these very reasons, but last year I decided to try something new (to me) and do a word of the year. This made much more sense than setting several random resolutions because this one word could be my focal point in all things that I was already doing. It could help motivate me across the board. To choose your word of the year, you will reflect on the previous year, identifying things that went well and things you wish had gone better. Focus on how these things make you feel, versus how you'd like to feel at the end of each day. Brain dump or make a list of words that come to mind (don't self edit!) and review that list for common themes or words that stand out to you. Circle the top 3-5, and reflect again on your upcoming goals and interests to see how each of these words would apply. Choose the word that best fits the theme of your goals and interests.


Go with your gut and follow the universe. I know that sounds a little lofty, but it's how I landed on my word of year for 2021 - fearless. Granted, that did not mean that I was fearless for the year, but it definitely helped me do things scared. I didn't let fear stop me from taking leaps and going for things that I usually wouldn't have. What I mean by following your gut and the universe is to pay attention to the little signs placed in your path each day. I began to notice a trend at the end of 2020 in which the word or theme of being fearless kept popping up. From books I was reading, to random quotes and images on social media shared by others, to conversations I was having with friends, to trainings I participated in for my social selling business, the idea or word fearless continually showed up. I started to notice it, as if it had arrows pointing at in neon lights, and I realized that this was my sign to my word for 2021. And it was a good word.

graphic with a woman's silhouette with words "would, should, could" crossed out and checkmarks next to "am" and "did"

I became a better advocate for myself. I set boundaries I'd been too afraid to set before. I set expectations that I'd shied away from before.

I put myself out there for the world to see. I started doing video content, going live on Facebook and doing live show-and-tells for my business. I learned how to do Reels on Instagram.

I started sharing myself - my true self - openly. The messy, loopy, sometimes weird, all the time a fiasco self. And you know what? I felt better and I made more genuine connections in the last year than in quite a while.

I took a leap and invested in myself and the future of my business. It was terrifying but it felt so good once I did it and got started!

Using the theme of fearless during 2020 definitely got me through the tough year that it was and allowed me to prove to myself that I am capable of way more than I was giving myself credit for. I don't yet know what my word for 2022 will be, but I know that it will help guide me in my growth. It will take my "should have", "could have", and "would have" moments and turn them into "I am" and "I did" realities, and I am excited to see where this year and this word takes me.

Your turn! Do you do resolutions or words of the year? I'd love to hear some of your previous successful resolutions, words of the year that made an impact, or what your word of 2022 is! Share in the comments!

*Information from an article by Sarah Pruitt



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