Sunday, January 10, 2016

Yearly Focus Words

Note: The photo below is not mine. I found it here, which is another great article on the same topic I'm talking about today.


It's January, so this is the time when people are resolving to change their lives. We promise ourselves that we'll lose weight, that we'll work harder, that we'll be more productive, that we'll cook more -- or learn to cook better. We'll start exercising or we'll take up crafting, we'll be better parents, better men/women, better wives/husbands. We promise ourselves we'll get back into going to church.

The list is endless. And it's exhausting, isn't it? Think about it. We make all these promises to ourselves; and to our credit, we do start with a valiant effort. We join a gym because we think that monthly charge will force us to be committed. We tell everyone we know that we're going to accomplish *insert arbitrary goal here* because we think the accountability will guilt us into sticking with something we know we don't really want to do.

Don't get me wrong, commitment and accountability are good things, but the focus of a New Year's Resolution is usually very negative. For example:
  • "This year, I have to go to the gym to get this weight off -- I'm disgusting!"
  • "Ugh. I have got to work harder this year -- if I don't crack down, I'm going to be such a failure!"
  • "I still haven't bought a home / traveled somewhere / written that novel yet ... I'm never going to get anywhere if I don't buckle down and stop being a loser."
  • "Ew. I can't adult right now. It's too hard."

The list is endless too, but why do we keep doing this to ourselves? Why do we continue to begin each new year saying things we know we won't do? Why do we allow ourselves to keep ending each year disappointed, disgusted and disillusioned with ourselves because we didn't do the thing we knew we wouldn't do in the first place?

Still, self-improvement is a good thing, and I believe that with all of my heart. But there's gotta be a better way to do it, right? I believe there is, and I mentioned both sides of my favorite New Year method in my last post. There are two parts to this, but they're easy to implement and with just a little discipline (you have it, so stop telling yourself that you don't), you can make it work for you. Believe me, if I could, you can.

So what are they?

  1. Be Positive: This can be aided with techniques like vision boards, positive affirmations, etc.
  2. Be Focused: Don't make a list of resolutions. Instead, choose one word to focus on bringing into your daily thought process. Keep that one word in mind -- chant it if you meditate, add it to your prayer journal, visualize whatever your word is coming into deeper focus in your daily life. (Find help with this at myoneword.org or oneword365.com)
Last year, my focus word was "Goals." I spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to accomplish in my life -- as a mother, as a woman, as an author. I even wrote my first real five-year plan, complete with a monthly breakdown of goals for 2016 that are intended to take me closer to my ultimate goals. Why? Because "there are seven days in a week, and someday isn't one of them."

This year, my focus word is "Affirmation." I'm going to be focused not only on keeping and maintaining the goalsetting habits and behaviors that worked for me in 2015, but also on encouraging myself and being willing to celebrate myself when I've done something well. I'm also going to be using positive affirmation to keep improving my self-talk, my prayer life, my daily habits, and my self-image.

I plan to share more about this in upcoming posts, but in the meantime ...

What are you doing this year? Do you have a New Year's Resolution, or do you have a focus word like me? If you're willing to share, tell me your focus word or resolution in the comments, and let me know how you plan to improve your life this year.

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