I am not particularly fond of New Year’s resolutions; which only tend to set one up for failure. The multiple parts making up a resolution put too much emphasis on everything one hasn’t yet accomplished.
On the contrary, I love one single well-picked, encouraging word of the year, or mantra. If you Google “word of the year” (WOTY), you will find several articles related to choosing the perfect theme word to help you achieve #goals.
You can even receive a word chosen for you at random by http://www.wordoftheyear.me. I was given “vision”, then “renovate” and “release”. None of these inspired; the last just made me giggle. This is why I don’t put much faith in ‘Magic 8’ balls and fortune cookies, either.
My approach to self-improvement is a bit more rational. Hence, the WOTY: a memorable phrase that inspires movement in the right direction. Consider that rather than resolving this year to “lose twenty pounds”, your mantra could simply be “willpower”.
At the gas station, your newfound "willpower" could encourage you to choose water over an energy drink. Exercising "willpower" might empower you to walk 1.5 miles to the park instead of grabbing your car keys. Soon enough you will feel and look healthier. You've made a habit of employing "willpower" to lose weight and more!
Very late into 2018, I searched for a mantra that would sum up my goals and desires for 2019. I contemplated life at this moment in time. My husband, Nick would retire at the very start of 2019 and I was not used to being a breadwinner. I had the desire to write more and publish more of my writing, but always had more excuses than time to write.
After any attempt to sit down and tap out a few paragraphs, I would lose courage. I convinced myself the very next article I wrote would be the one that was good enough to publish, and walked away. The truth? I was insecure about my writing.
Just before the New Year I came across a Mark Twain quote that read, “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”
Mr. Clemens’ words came to me as a revelation. The fear of circulating imperfect work was paralyzing me. Going into 2019 I would have to set aside all insecurities and persist, apply myself, hold fast, stay the course and just. do. it. “Do, or do not…” you know the rest. I needed to "hustle".
As a result of hustling through 2019, I hope to achieve a few goals:
- Pay off debt
- Write and publish articles weekly
- Increase annual income by 100%
- Earn 100% of my income via freelance work
I am excited to say I can hit the ground running debt-free. When Nick retired we finished paying off our debts; something we had been chipping away at for years. One down, three to go.
I fear doubling my income will call for less sleep and more living outside of my comfort zone. If I keep holding out for perfection I'll be meeting Mark Twain face-to-face before my dreams of being a published author come true. It's never good to have regret. I would rather not carry the regrets of 2108 with me for another year.
The Oxford Dictionary’s WOTY for 2018 was “toxic”. Merriam-Webster elected the word “justice”. I had to raise an eyebrow at the latter… Perhaps combining the two words would be a more accurate description of current social and political circumstances. “Nomophobia” was selected as Cambridge University’s WOTY. It describes a fear of being without our mobile phones... Eyeroll.
What is your word for 2019?
When this year wraps up, I hope more inspirational terms are chosen to describe the turn of events. Possibly words such as “harmonize”, “innovate” or perhaps even “decentralization”.