I’m Not Making New Year’s Resolutions :: What I’m Doing Instead


I’ve never been much good at New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, in all my life, I’ve probably never kept a resolution past the first of February. By summer, I’ve completely forgotten what it was I “resolved” to do.

So I haven’t made resolutions for quite a few years. 

Resolutions may work great for some people. You may be the kind of person that once you’ve set it, you can’t do anything but work toward achieving it. That’s great.

Some of us are not like that. Some of us aren’t even sure what we want to resolve to do. But out of peer pressure, we pick some goal — eat better, go to the gym more, give up sugar, train for a 5K — something that fits in with everyone else.

Done With Resolutions

Some of us — like me — are done with it. We’re done picking some arbitrary thing on January 1st that we’re still going to be interested in come December 31st.

I’m also not one to be really open and share details about my goals. I’m not very talkative when it comes to my dreams and ambitions. I have reservations about “putting something out there” and people knowing about it, but then it not coming to fruition. 

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” Yeah, I’m not answering that question. At least not with any sincerity. You might get, “On a beach in Aruba,” from me if you ask that question. 

Being on a beach in Aruba in five years is not one of my long-term goals. The truth is, I do have some idea of where I want to be in five years, the end of this year, and the end of next month. I’m just baffled as to why I should want to tell someone or why someone else wants to know.

You Don’t Have to Set New Year’s Goals

I saw a great image circulating Facebook recently that I shared to a feed full of people declaring their resolutions for the new year, what they aspired to accomplish, and all the fresh New Year buzz words. The image said:

I’m not even going to talk about my goals for 2020. I’m moving forward in silence, walking the walk, not talking the talk.

Yes! Someone else feels like I do! Now, obviously, I’m not being silent, because I’m talking to you right now. Thus, the downfalls of being a writer. 

But I’m talking to you because I want you to know that it’s okay if you didn’t set a resolution. I’m talking to you because I want you to know that if you want to ditch that resolution before January 31st, go ahead. I’m talking to you because I have a better idea.

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, Choose a Focus Word

But what does that mean? It means I’ve picked a word — a verb, an action word — for 2020 that is, well, my mantra. When I encounter choices in 2020, I’m going to make my decisions based on my word — which choice most aligns with my word.

Having a hard time following? I’ll share my word to make it more clear.

My word came to me from the 2020 wall calendar I purchased to hang in my kitchen. I put it up on January 1st and the phrase for the month says, “Live Life in Full Bloom.”

My focus word inspiration

That immediately made me think of the phrase, “Bloom where you are planted.”

I “artistically journaled” that on my calendar (translation: I drew like a middle-schooler).

To Bloom and Flourish

The word “bloom” stuck out to me, so I looked up the definition. Side note: I love looking at word meanings — I’m such a nerd! I mean, we all know what bloom means. But what does it really mean if you have to define it?

Bloom, as a verb, means to “come into or be in full beauty or health; flourish.”

Ohhh, flourish, that’s a good word, too! What does it mean? Flourish means to “grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.” That is what I want to do this year.

So my 2020 word is FLOURISH. I had a hard time deciding if I should stick to bloom or use flourish. Writing this post made me settle on flourish, because bloom starts looking weird after you write or type it a lot.

In 2020, when faced with choices, decisions, and opportunities, I’m going to ask myself, “Which one of these is going to help me flourish?”   

Different From a Resolution

How is having a focus word different from making a resolution? It’s different because it’s not a concrete goal. I don’t have a set goal that I want to achieve or a certain place I want to be by year’s end. I don’t know what flourishing in 2020 is going to look like when December rolls around. But I do know that I want to flourish this year.

For 2020, I’d like to experience growth, health, vigor, and planting myself in the most favorable environment. I’m ready to flourish.

If you decide to choose a focus word for 2020, I would love to hear it in the comments below!

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Tabitha has spent her entire life living in various parts of St. Clair County . . . small town life but close enough to the city to enjoy all it has to offer. She's been married to her high school sweetheart for 13 years. Tabitha spends her days as a blogger and homeschool mom to Gavin, a 5th grader who loves animals, books, geography, LEGO, Disney, roller coasters, museums, pirates and karate. Indeed, he keeps her life interesting! Part of what makes it interesting is homeschooling an only child - it's a unique journey! Tabitha loves libraries, good books, history, traveling, coffee, Disney, sometimes cooking (but never cleaning up), being a "karate mom", more coffee, scrapbooking in her free time (ha!) and naps. Around town, you're likely to catch her "field-tripping" with her son at one of the libraries, a park, the Birmingham Museum of Art, McWane Science Center, the Birmingham Zoo, or one of the other dozens of interesting places in the city - and she'll probably have coffee.