A Different Kind of Resolution: Goodbye Nouns, Hello Verbs

It’s ubiquitous: the abandoned New Year’s Resolution. Feelings of failure. Resignation. Oh well. Who cares? Try again next year.

Maybe the fault isn’t with you but in the nature of resolutions. We form them as goals, future “destinations” we strive to attain, and we measure our success based on accomplishment. Did we get there?

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This creates a sense of separation between the Here-and-Now and the hard-to-imagine future. There’s You Today versus some Future You far removed from your current circumstance. This separation, I believe, is the undoing of many well-meaning resolutions. Whether it’s inertia or fear or old habits, making the leap across the chasm is our saboteur. Most advice about keeping your resolutions focuses on helping you bridge the chasm. I’m proposing something altogether different. It’s not about WHERE you want to get to, it’s about WHO you want to be.

Consider instead a resolution of how you want to BE, in the here and now. Write 3words: verbs (actions) or adjectives (qualities). Just THREE words. Simple, huh?

Try these adjectives on for size:

Calm • Centered • Grateful

Energized • Passionate • Loving

Or how about some verbs?

Move • Smile • Relax

Breathe • Embrace • Allow

Appreciate • Give • Invite

I like to place my chosen words where I’ll see them several times a day. Here are some ideas:

  • on your computer screensaver or wallpaper
  • sticky notes on the bathroom mirror and fridge
  • taped to the remote control
  • printed on a bookmark tucked into that novel you’re devouring
  • taped to your car’s dashboard
  • on index cards hung from string and positioned at head height so you bump them when walking by.

Be creative. For more impact, move your message to new places (anywhere obvious) every few months, or invite family members to move them and make a game of it. The novelty will keep your intentions fresh in your mind.

What’s so powerful about this method is that there’s no failing grade. It’s foolproof. You’re not waiting to achieve some distant reward, you win the moment you embrace the current moment. Forgot your words for a few days? No worries. Every time you read them or think of them, you renew your intention to bring these qualities into your life and use them as the starting point for creating the health you want.

With your three words, you’re embracing the actions and qualities that reward you with more health, vitality and wellness. Not in the future, but now, this moment, while honoring the place you currently inhabit as a valued part of your journey.

Ready to write your own 3-word Resolution? Care to share your inspiration?

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