Hate Resolutions? What To Do Instead: Choose a Word (Plus Free Worksheet!)

We’re about a week into 2018, and I’ll confess: I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions.


  • I never kept them when I did.
  • I know I don’t keep them, so why set myself up for disappointment?
  • I can make a decision to change things any day of the year, I don’t really see why the first day of the year is any better or worse.

So, I’m not a resolution maker. But I do follow a ton of blogs and social media, and for the last week it's been all about resolutions, goals, etc. Which is cool.

It didn’t motivate me to change my mind personally, but I did come across several bloggers who mentioned choosing a word for the year instead of (or in combination with) making a resolution. 

For some reason, this “choosing a word” idea intrigued me. A word popped into my head right away. (Coincidence? I think  not!)

The word I chose to represent 2018 is:

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The Reason “REAL” is important to me

Partly due to the curse of being an INFJ type, and partly due to the effects of a childhood spent being invisible by choice, able to shape myself like clay into the cracks and crevices of life so I didn’t stand out or call attention to myself, I spent most of my life not knowing who I really was at all.

Now, as a thirty-something somewhat adult, I’m learning late what many people figured out in their teens: know yourself and be okay with it.

It seems like a simple two-part statement, but for someone who has lived her life wearing a fake skin, it’s anything but simple.

In fact, I had no idea that the “me” I was being wasn’t real, until about 5 years ago.

In summer 2012, I was talking on the phone with my now-fiancé. We had only known each other for about a month, so it was one of those marathon late night “getting to know you” conversations about what we wanted out of life.

He asked what I wanted for my life, and I had a hard time answering. I stumbled around, describing visions of a log cabin by a lake someday, and probably something about happiness and raising my daughter.

He stopped me. “No, I meant what do you want? It sounds like you really have no idea what you want, because you don’t even know who you are.”

I gracefully considered this and tried to see his—

No, I didn’t. I was pissed.

How dare he, someone I had known a month, say that about me!? I reacted super defensively, trying to prove he was wrong. (Which, we know, is usually the first sign there’s truth to what was said.)

I stayed angry about that comment for a while – it kicked around in my brain and came to the surface at odd moments, so I could fume about it all over again.

Learning What Being Real Actually Means

Until the day I was forced to admit to myself that it was completely true.

I was terrified to be myself because I had no idea what – and who -  that was.

And, more importantly, if I did allow the REAL me to come out, would she be accepted? This was probably my biggest fear, that nobody would like the real me.

And sadly, in the years since, as I’ve been working hard to be more and more my “real” self, I have lost some people – important people – from my life.

I had spent my whole life trying to be what I thought everyone else wanted me to be.

I didn’t know how to make decision based on my own wants and needs (without feeling guilty about them) because I was too busy worrying what effect those decisions would have on everyone else.

I was an expert at adapting and shifting myself to please the people around me, with little to no regard about what it was doing to me. I never even knew I was doing it, for years. It had to be pointed out to me by an outsider with no stake in my choices/actions so I could actually see it for what it really was.

So I am not choosing a word for 2018 to “get stuff done” or break a habit, I’m choosing to focus on the word REAL this year so I can feel better in my own life. It’s the culmination of 3-4 years of traumatic fallout from learning how I was operating (people pleasing to the nth degree) and why (I grew up the child of narcissistic abuse).

Your Turn

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Now it’s your turn! I’d love to hear from you . . .

Do you love resolutions? Hate them? What about choosing a word to focus on for 2018? If that sounds like something you’d like to do, I have a handy dandy free download for you below. This one-pager is quick and easy to fill out and hang up where you’ll see it, so you can be sure you won’t be scratching your head in February, wondering what happened to those oh-so-important resolutions you haven’t stuck to ;-)

There’s even some suggestions for how to keep your word top of mind for the whole year.

My Word for 2018

(click the link above to download the PDF)

It’s my gift to you. Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!

I’d love it if you leave a comment, letting me know if you chose resolutions or a word of the year (or both!)

See you next Tuesday!

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