Reject Resolutions. Here Is What To Do Instead.



In the past, I’ve written resolutions. By mid-February these goals are lost in the shuffle. For the last few years, I’ve opted to reject resolutions and chose to focus on adopting one word that will set the tone for the next 365 days. Keeping a single word in mind enforces a clarity that is reachable and practical amidst the buzz of life’s noise.

How do you choose your one word?

One year I chose the word compassion as a blueprint for my year. My commitment to that word stemmed from reading a book called Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. This story chronicles the friendship of two men, one, a rich art collector and the other, a homeless man. Their narrative revealed one truth: Every person has a story. The homeless man. The prostitute. The thief. The banker. The doctor. Mothers. Fathers. Children. Sisters. Brothers. Every single one of us. And I think we all forget about the stories that people carry. I know I do. Many, myself included, may encounter the homeless man on the street and quickly assume, “He must have a drug or alcohol habit or he is mentally ill. Or he is lazy. He looks healthy enough, why isn’t he working?” In some cases, this may be the truth, but how often do we ask, “How did he get there?” Where is our compassion?

Your word of the year can come from an unexpected source like the book I read, or circumstances in your life. To decide which word is most applicable to you, make a list of words that appeal to you, or a particular attribute that might introduce clarity into your life. As you go through your list, cross out the words that don’t work and reflect on the words that push you to pause. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few words, make a choice and write a paragraph on why you arrived at that word – think of it as a miniature mission statement for your word.

You have your word. Now what? 

Once you settle on a word, what is your next course of action? Write your word down on an index card and paste it in on your computer or car or a place that you intersect with everyday. Ask yourself how you are going to incorporate that word into your daily life. Last year I chose the word laughter as my word of the year, so in order to explore this concept, I listened to various comics on YouTube and laughed out loud at some of their stories and jokes. This didn’t take very long, but it offered me a way to practice my word. The practice wasn’t complicated, but can be anything that epitomizes the meaning of the word you decide to choose.

              After a few months, determine what you are learning from your word. 

After gaining some comfort level with your word, take time to determine what you are learning from the experience. In the year that I chose laughter, I realized that I was smiling and laughing more, experiencing a level of joy that I had lacked only a few months before. The choice fit well for that time in my life. If you wish to have further support, announce your word to family and friends so that you can build some accountability.

Happy New Year! Good luck with choosing your word of the year.  

Previous articleWant To Thrive? Do These 5 Things
Next articleDon’t Miss Out: Best Local Self-Development Courses
Rudri Patel
Rudri Bhatt Patel is a former attorney turned freelancer writer. Prior to attending law school, she graduated with an M.A. in English with an emphasis in creative writing. She is the managing editor for The First Day and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, The Review, Review Role, Reboot, The Mid and elsewhere. She writes her personal musings on her blog, Being Rudri, and is currently working on a memoir that explores Hindu culture, grief and appreciating life’s ordinary graces. She enjoys reading, writing and running. Rudri has lived in the Valley since 2009 with her husband and daughter (9). You can find Rudri on Twitter, Facebook and Being Rudri.


  1. I spent 2014 traveling almost monthly with my toddler and baby. My mom had terminal cancer and we were off visiting her as often as possible. She passed away last month and my dad and I had a long talk about this coming year. We chose “regroup” as a theme for this coming year. I’ve never chosen a word before, but I felt like this was very appropriate for not just me and my little family, but my dad and immediate family as well. Just rambling, thanks for sharing this post!

Comments are closed.