Why I Changed My New Year's Resolutions Into Two Words Or Less

December 31, 2021

New Year’s Day beckons the celebration of another year and the reflection of the past year. Likely you have been one to make new year’s resolutions; goals that you vow to make AND keep in the upcoming year. And if you are really invested, you may have even broken down those goals into timelines with sub-goals attached. I was that person for many years. Although time and time again proved that new year’s resolutions didn’t hold up, and yet I never questioned why. 

I’m certain we can all agree that December 2020 marked the end of a crazy year. I had no clue how 2021 would fare, let alone what type of goals I should be making due to the uncertainty of everything. That feeling of anxiety that was tied to the great unknown prompted me to keep it simple. One of my favorite mantras is K.I.S.S., which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. Albeit the brevity and potential harshness of this mantra, it has been surprisingly helpful in many situations. And that mantra is what helped me focus on a new type of resolution for New Year’s.

Instead of setting your resolutions as goals, use just one word to set the tone. 

Or even two words. Simple as that. What this does, as I’ve noticed over the past year, is create a feeling, or mood, that sets the overall tone of everything. Take for instance my words for 2020. They were STABILITY and ALLOWING. Regardless of all the big and small goals I had set throughout this past year, these two keywords became intentional focal points that overarched all my plans. I used these words like my own mantras; repeating them whenever my mind felt distracted or overwhelmed.

In yoga, I start my classes by asking my students, “What one word describes the feeling you want to have today?” This question helps both my students and I zone in on a feeling (like happy, grateful, joyful, productive, restful, etc.) and use it as their anchor throughout the class and throughout the rest of their day if they choose. 

My 2020 words were written in big letters at the front of my journal. And since I journal a lot, I was always reminded of those intentionally chosen words. I chose them based on how I imagined 2021 to be working in my favor. Overall, I feel that I made huge strides in achieving stability throughout this past year. Allowing was a word I picked to trust in what the Universe had in store for me and to not rush the process. By allowing, I was able to relinquish anxiety I had over trying to control everything. 

Before the start of the pandemic, statistics showed that gym memberships increased the most in January, by 12%, which makes sense since a lot of new year’s resolutions deal with health and fitness goals. Gyms are aware of this too and have capitalized on the new year with deals for signing up. What is interesting though is that most of the people who sign up for a gym membership during the month of January usually quit their memberships after just five months, on average. Why? Maybe because establishing goals with no solid intention or feeling behind them doesn’t set up the goal for lasting in the long run.

So what will your special word(s) be for 2022? 

Here’s a guided meditation and journaling prompt you can use to help discover your words. Feel free to read through the meditation before you do it yourself. 

Sit in a comfortable and quiet place where you feel grounded. 

Close your eyes and begin to notice your breath. Start becoming aware of your breath and how it feels coming in and out through your nostrils. Take a few deep breaths, breathing in and out, allowing your body to relax with every breath. 

Bring to mind a visualization of 2022 playing out in the best way possible. See it as a movie on a screen that you’re watching in a movie theater. Notice any big events that happen in your life. Notice the places you’ll be traveling to and the people you’ll see. Pay attention to the feelings you have. If any feelings stand out, ask yourself if this feeling can be a word you can set for 2022. If it feels good, then choose it.

Do this visualization for as long as you need. 

Here are some prompts you can journal:

  • What feeling does my highest self crave the most?
  • How can I enjoy 2022?
  • In what ways will this next year be the best year?
  • What do I look forward to experiencing the most in the new year?
  • What is my mantra for living a life most aligned to my hopes and dreams?

I hope this helps you start to live your life with more intention. Even if you pick a word that doesn’t fit your needs throughout the year, just know that you can always change it. The goal is to be okay with change as long as you pick a new word that becomes an anchor to focus on. Enjoy spending some time at the close of 2021 to discover your intentional words for the next year.

Happy New Year!

Also by Paige: December Yoga Flow for Setting Intentions During the Dark Time of The Year

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Photo: Hannah Jacobson on Unsplash

Paige Butzlaff
Paige has been writing since she was 7 years old. She's an avid fan of reading, especially metaphysical books, and sipping on matcha tea lattes. An ethical vegan, Paige is passionate about activism and raising awareness. Her passions also include yoga and cats. She calls Southern California her home and the Universe her playground. Follow Paige on Instagram @beingpaige and YouTube.


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