Why I Don't Make New Year's Resolutions

by Amber Dorsey

A brand new year is upon us and all the life coaches are asking you to think about what goals you want to accomplish for the new year. And all the fitness gurus are giving their best pitches, encouraging you to make changes in your life. Instead, I find myself focusing on something different. Right now, there are about thousands—if not millions—of people writing out their wistful resolutions for a “New Year, New Me” blog post.

But I don’t make resolutions.

I stopped years ago. They were always too grandiose, so I could never adhere to the high standards I set for myself. Or some simply weren’t practical at that juncture in my life. You know: get straight A’s, eat “healthy” every day, workout everyday, etc. At 19 years old, there was no way I was going to eat healthy everyday, as I still did not know exactly what eating healthy meant in the first place. Every year, I would set myself up for failure, so a few years back I decided to stop making resolutions entirely. But I still felt that I needed some sort of direction or blueprint for the year ahead, albeit it one that I could stick to or wouldn’t feel guilty if I “messed up.” Instead, I was inspired to start choosing one word as a theme of sorts to guide me through the year.

I’ve been doing this for the last five years and it’s uncanny how the chosen words ended up being so relevant for the calendar year they were applied. As I tend to spend the latter part of the year in a somewhat nostalgic, reflective state, the end of the year becomes the perfect time to think about what will define me in the coming year. In past years, it was easy to focus on a word as it just came to me or it seemed to be something that I’d see over and over: Faith, Simplify, Focus, Home.

All of these resonated for me and the year which they were chosen to define. However, last year I didn’t just choose one word; I had several that were bouncing around in my head and I chose not to commit to just one and try to have them all. That didn’t work out so well and ironically enough, it set a the tone for 2014. I felt very disjointed these past twelve months, as if things are in constant motion. I’ve tried some new things with my career. I was successful in some ways, but failed miserably in others. I think part of it has to do with not having that one word to fall back on, to rein me back in and get me back on track. It’s odd that a simple word—whether it be an adjective, verb, or noun—can have such a profound affect on my life. (Or should I say how a lack of a word or theme could have an affect on it?)

In the last few retrospective weeks of December, I daydreamed about my future and how straying from my one-word theme for the year had affected me. As I thought about my intention for 2015, one word in particular stood out in bold surrounded by a million exclamation points: BE!

It seems simple enough, but this word resonated so deeply within me, and I just know it’s what I should focus on for the next 12 months. Similar to what I’ve experienced in past years, it seems to whisper to my soul. By definition, it means:
  • to exist or live
  • to take place or happen
  • to occupy a place or position
  • to continue or remain as before
  • to have presence in the realm of perceived reality. 
I connect with all of this at my very core: Just. Be. Be present. Be honest. Be faithful. Be happy. Be open. Be focused. Be inspired. Be a friend. Be creative.

It just makes sense to have this word become the cornerstone upon which my year will be built around and upon. When I am feeling lost, this word will return me to myself and my senses. I know I will hear these phrases whispered throughout the year in moments of doubt, fear, and misfortune, and I will feel OK.

It may be corny or silly to some, but for me, it works better than writing trite resolutions to check off. The idea of being guided by one word, one sentiment for 365 days is more meaningful for me than promising myself I will work out everyday. At the end of year, I know I’ll still be able to look back and see the changes—physically, mentally, and emotionally—that happened as I tried to live up to my word. But I won’t have any of the shame or self-disappointment that may come when falling off from accomplishing resolutions.

I encourage you to do the same. Look back on the last year, and envision the year ahead.

What word comes to mind?

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Amber Dorsey is a Southern California writer, stylist, and makeup artist living in Southern California with her husband and two crazy kids. When she’s not tapping away at the computer, she can be found scouring the aisles of Michael’s plotting her next Pinspired project or in the kitchen perfecting her margarita-making techniques. You can also find Amber on Instagram @fromcarpools2cocktails or on her blog From Carpools to Cocktails.

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