Resolutions Are Over!
As of early January, it’s safe to say that most New Year’s resolutions are dead. I know how discouraging it is to dream big for yourself, only to lose steam and feel like a failure. But I’m here to tell you that it’s ok! You still have 11 full months left to grow! (Why limit it to 11 months? Let’s visit that another day.) In fact, like many others I know, I tend to wait until year-end holidays are over to make my plan for the year.
I don’t do resolutions. That’s not why I’m writing this today. Instead, I want to share with you what has worked tremendously well for my personal development for the last three years. This practice beats pants off of resolutions. It’s a practice that has been helping me become the man I want to be, the man I’m meant to be. And it’s so simple that you might find it hard to believe.
Three years ago, I discovered the book One Word That Will Change Your Life, and I began the practice establishing a theme for an entire year. Follow this link learn more about the book.
Establishing a theme is a completely different strategy than resolutions when it comes to growth and change. As you know, many resolutions lack the requisite framework for accomplishing goals, so they just end up as dreams without plans. Working within a theme is different. In a nutshell, after some time of reflection, maybe prayer and meditation (if you’re inclined to do so), you decide on a word to serve as a theme, a single-word idea that you can think about every day, a fixed point from which you can contextualize your thoughts and actions. In any and all situations you can ask yourself, “is this consistent with theme for the year?”
This year is my 4th year of establishing a one-word theme. This year’s word, for me, is the culmination of the last three years’ worth of growth and development. It is the logical next step. It is also a word I feel strongly should be shared. In fact, I want more than to just share it, I want to invite you to join in with me.
Now, I’m not sure if the author the One Word book would approve, but my one-word is actually an acronym. I found I couldn’t decide between the first two words, then I thought of a third option. Then it occurred to me that all three words complement each other in their potential effect, as well as in their level of necessity in my life. A three-way tie. I realized I could combine them to form a powerful trio of words that I can meditate on daily.
My word for 2019 is FAR.
My goal in 2019 is to see just how FAR I can go. I know, this sounds a little simplistic. But, if you have known me and known my proclivity to be flakey, scattered, and undisciplined, then you know these three words aren’t ones you would typically associate with me. Allow me to expand on what each word means to me and how the combination plays out.
Focus: this is an area of particular struggle for me. Three of our children have been diagnosed with attention deficit related issues. As I listened to my children open up about their struggle with focus and attention in school I realized that these are the same experiences I knew as a child and that persist to this day. My entire professional career is littered with incomplete tasks, unfinished projects, and ideas that never left the ground. Over the years, through sheer grit and determination (and out of fear of losing my job), I have learned disciplines to manage my lack of focus.
This type of focus, relating to staying on track, however, is not entirely what I have in mind for this theme. While that is definitely a component, my intent is geared more toward focusing on a vision, on my personal and professional aspirations, about a bigger picture for my life as a whole. I need to focus on what matters. It means getting rid of distractions. This means I need to be decisive, make a plan, set goals, and lay it all out in way that makes sense. The next word in my theme is the necessary counterpart to focus.
Act: what’s that old saying about a path somewhere being littered with good intentions? Yeah, I get it. This word matters to me because I’ve always been more of a “dreamer” and less of a “doer.” The more I’ve disciplined myself in the “doing” of things the more I see how hard it DOESN’T have to be.
There is a fantastic phrase I read that was printed on the exit door of a client’s office that I’ve thought about every day since I saw it several weeks ago: “you are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” This packs a punch. It’s a much-needed truth that helps me stay motivated.
I’ve found that once I have a vision, a plan, and some goals in place I can simply create some tasks and start DOING. The beautiful thing is, once you start to ACT you build momentum that helps you ACT on the next thing. Momentum is important, especially considering the third part of this theme.
Repeat: consistency is key. I’ve found it easy over the years to reward myself with a break after some level of achievement. This isn’t necessarily bad, and there is a time for rest, but if you never learn to leverage the energy from even your smallest successes then you’ll struggle to start again and maintain momentum. Repeating the act of focusing, then implementing, is my goal this year.
I’ve proven to myself that I’m not great at resolutions, but I can observe a theme for an entire year. I’m so excited to see how FAR this year’s theme will take me in my journey of becoming the man I’m meant to be. I’d love it if you joined me to see how FAR we can go together.
To your adventure,
- The One Word that Will Change Your Life by Dan Britton
- Start by Jon Acuff
- The Distracted Mind by Gazzaley and Rosen
- 5 Gears by Kubicek and Cockram