It’s estimated that in early January, gym memberships go up as much as 20 percent, and one of the busiest times are those first weeks of the new year. It’s a huge part of the annual revenue for some fitness centers. However, it’s also been shown that nearly 80 percent of those who enroll won’t be there even a few weeks later.
The passing of one year to another is a milestone event, and for many, a reminder to reflect on our lives—who we are, what we’ve accomplished, our direction and how far we’ve come on our journey toward whatever destination we have in mind. And we all know it’s the time when folks traditionally make decisions (i.e., resolutions) about changes they’d like to implement—losing weight, getting in shape, stop smoking, saving money, better job, etc. (Clearly there’s nothing magical about the first of January; we could do our reflection and resolutions at the beginning of each new month...or every morning, for that matter.)
Personally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. It’s not an indication that I have nothing in my life that needs to be improved or changed. (WOW, is that ever an understatement!) I totally support anyone who makes a decision toward self improvement, but I decided years ago the tradition was not right for me. However, that doesn’t mean I want to waste the opportunity of self-reflection as well as the opportunity to embrace new beginnings which is afforded us at the start of a new year.
Instead of resolutions about specific matters of my life, I “adopt” a word for the year. I will spend several weeks pondering (and praying about) what word to select. At some point, I find a word, or a word finds me …and I just know: this is My Word for the new year. It might represents a seed of truth that I want to see come to some fruition in my life, or an important spiritual principle that I am studying for greater revelation and insight. It’s something that I ask God to bring to pass in my life during the coming months. It might be a life-lesson that I will learn (or need to learn) or a personal core value for concentration and amplification.
I like to think of it as my watchword for my next year. Kinda like a One-Word Mission Statement or the "theme" of my year.
Once I am sure of My Word, I will post it a prominent place at my desk so I can see it regularly, and/or a sticky note with My Word is attached to my Bible and Daily Journal. Throughout the year, I will meditate (i.e., “chew on”) on My Word to find meaning, insight, application and implications for my life. That's why I like to have My Word posted where I can I can see it often. The Word enters my prayer time in order to plant it deep in my spiritual being. Since My Word is chosen during quiet, calm reflection, it can serve as a point of focus and strength throughout the year, especially during times of internal struggles and doubt. As I encounter actual examples where My Word comes into play, or where I’m forced to remind myself of My Word, I include those experiences in my journal as part of my expressions of thanksgiving.
Personal Note: Sometimes I’ve shared My Word, as I did last year. There have been years when the meaning or intent of My Word was unclear when the year began, but became apparent as time progressed. Other times, My Word represents something so intimate and personal—between me and God—that I choose not to share it anyone. But there’s never been a year when I looked back and wasn’t totally amazed at the accuracy of My Word’s relevance to my life, and grateful for the lessons I've learned along the way.
Nope, I don’t ring in the New Year with Resolutions, but there is this word "ringing" in my head.
For me, the “adoption” of a New Year’s Word has proven so meaningful for many years.
What do you think of my alternative to New Year’s Resolutions?