According to studies, while 75 percent of people hold to their resolutions past one week, that number drops to 64 percent past one month—and only 46 percent are still making progress with them half-way into the year.

It’s a familiar problem, but why is it that we can’t maintain our commitment to ourselves?

The obvious answer would be lack of willpower or self-discipline. Or putting the needs of others ahead of our own.

But I believe it goes even deeper than that. I believe it comes from the energy and core motivation that underlies the goal—is it one of self-worth or self-loathing?

For those who always find themselves abandoning their resolutions before February has arrived, there’s an alternative way to go. It requires a bit of self-exploration at the outset, but it sets us up to more easily stay true to our own personal intentions.

In the long run, it makes it easier for us to persist in honoring ourselves when distractions and challenges arise.

Have you heard of the Word for the Year phenomenon?

In a nutshell, it’s choosing a single word that best encapsulates the essence of what we’d like to achieve or experience over the course of the coming year.

It’s a word that focuses our energy and acts as a constant reminder of who it is we’d like to be.

It’s the perfect antidote to failed resolutions.

Its simplicity is genius—and highly effective. The key, however, is in the careful selection of just the right word to take us from where are now to where we’d like to be.

That process is not always straight forward, but is worth some patience when we don’t find the word coming to us easily.

So, how do you select your own word for the year?

Make a list of your goals, resolutions, intentions.

Look them over and reflect on the core motivation or desire that underlies each one. What will they help you feel?

Who will they help you be?

With clarity over what you want to experience and achieve—and why—the next step is to ask yourself, what trait do you need to gift yourself this year to support you in this journey? Courage perhaps? Or focus?

Make a note of single words that come to mind as you reflect on the essence of what you want. Allow them all to come—a long list is okay for now.

For inspiration, you’re looking for positive, expansive words like:

growth, creativity, love, hope, grace, Goddess, connection, nurture, flourish, power, knowing, dream, transformation, courage, truth, ease, expansion.

Review the long list and circle any that stir up a bodily response when you consider them. Armed now with a short list, you’re getting closer to your word.

Spend some time—even a few days—contemplating each of these words. Keep them in a place where you’ll see them frequently. And wait, patiently, for the sense of knowing to arrive. 

The right word will make itself felt in your consciousness. And when it does, embrace it.

Place reminders anywhere it feels right and appropriate to do so—your bathroom mirror, fridge door, car dashboard, inside your hall door.

Make it your screen-saver.

If you have an altar, place it there. You’ll find plenty of online stores where you can purchase lovely paraphanalia with your word engraved on it, but it would be better to make your own.

Of course, notes and trinkets aren’t essential. The important thing is that we use our word—all the time. Anytime you’re feeling challenged, use your word as a mantra to help shift and re-focus your energy. Ask yourself, “What would ______ do?”

Words are powerful.

Words consciously injected with specific intentions for growth and expansion can help us shift our energy. Our own words can move us from a place of self-sabotage to a place of self-care, self-worth and self-love.

So, worry not about failed resolutions. Go forth and find your word.

First published on elephantjournal.com
Photo: Greg Rakozy/Unsplash

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