Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Word (Instead of a Resolution) to Guide the New Year


Perhaps you like the idea of using the new year to set a new path, but resolutions just haven't worked for you. Here's a different approach, courtesy of Christine Kane - and found via Meanderings, where you can read the whole article rather than just this excerpt. You can also read a somewhat different version on Christine's blog.
Several years ago, my friend Kathy and I decided that, instead of making resolutions, we would pick a word that would guide us throughout the year. It would be our touchstone. ...

Let's say you're one of the many people who would normally choose "Get Organized." You're tired of chaos and clutter. So, you think, "I need to get organized. That'll be my Resolution."

But then you read this article. You decide to try this new approach.

You sit with your clutter. You spend a few days pondering words. You realize in an "Ah-Ha!" moment that you hold on to lots of things. You're scared to let go.

So you choose the word "Release" because it inspires you in a bigger way than "Get organized."

So, every time you approach your clutter you remind yourself of that word. "Release," you say softly. You start to let the clutter go.

Eventually, you realize that you're still holding on to lots more than just physical clutter. You realize that you hold onto resentment at old relationships. "Release," you remind yourself.

You realize that holding on is affecting your diet and health. "Release" applies to some of the extra weight you've gained as well. Throughout the year, you can see clearly how much you hold on. "Release" is your touchstone. It grows you throughout the year. It becomes your guiding force, not your harsh standard.

Your clutter became your teacher simply because you shifted your intent towards it. This wouldn't have happened if you'd opted only to "Get Organized."
Author credit: Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at


Sara Bereika said...

Jeri, I love this idea. You put it into perspective nicely for getting organized. I have a similar phrase in mind that I think I will use. Detach...with love.

Susan Culligan said...

Wow, Jeri, as usual you're spot on. I'm forwarding your post to friends and clients. I haven't picked my word yet, because I can't decide between Release (what a lovely feeling this gives) and Presence (which is where I try to spend most of my time). Maybe my word for the first week of January will be Decide :)

LOL and Happy New Year

Jeri Dansky said...

Sara and Susan, I'm so glad to hear this resonated with you, too.

Sara, I think you've made a lovely choice.

Susan, I'm still pondering my word for the year, too. Of course, I just saw this suggestion this morning, and Christine does recommend sitting with it for a few days, so the right word emerges.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

Well, this is just perfect! What a burden lifted -- resolutions are so tiresome and "failing" to keep them is such a useless, negative place to get stuck in your head.

Creating a personal mantra that allows you to focus on being calm and make choices that feel good and right is so much better. I'll sit and ponder, too, until my word comes to me.

Thanks for another great post and belated Happy New Year! My we all be fine in 2009!

Jeri Dansky said...

Happy New Year to you too, Cynthia!

Anonymous said...

This is one of the best on-line articles I've read. It is very helpful to me. I lost my mom. This coming year will probably include selling my childhood home, throwing our tons of old memorabilia, etc. I Googled how to declutter memorabilia and found your site. Thanks for the great info.
Also-any tips? What do I do with 4th grade report cards, birthday cards from my first birthday, old notes and cards from the 50's (way before I was born??). Thanks!