What’s the Word?


Instead of making resolutions, pick a word or phrase that will guide your self-improvement in the coming year

If you’ve set and failed to keep new year’s resolutions in the past and resolved that you’ll never resolve again, you’re certainly not alone. But there’s something about a new year — maybe it’s all those clean calendar pages — that makes many of us want to set a goal for the coming 12 months.

Instead of making resolutions, Katherine T. Kelly, a psychologist and author in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, encourages people to choose a single word or phrase to guide them through each year.

The practice allows people to be more flexible in how they make improvements to their attitudes or actions — and helps avoid the quick failure rates that can come from pledging to save 10% of your income or lose 20 pounds.

Simply taking the time to find a word or phrase that resonates with you can help you clarify issues you are facing or illuminate areas of your life that need attention, Kelly says.

The guiding words or phrases you choose should be positive and, ideally, action oriented. Here are some options that might lead you to a better life at home and at work.

  • Strength
  • Be fearless
  • Seek opportunity
  • Be open
  • Love
  • Make connections
  • Nurture family
  • Freedom
  • Success
  • Compassion
  • Take responsibility
  • Embrace change
  • Look for beauty
  • Faith
  • Seek adventure
  • Optimism
  • Learn
  • Make the leap
  • Kindness
  • Balance
  • Grow
  • Embrace possibility


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