According to the experts, focusing on one habit can be mightily effective in changing our automatic behaviours. But what if you're ready for more than that? What if deep in your heart and soul, you need something to guide your every day decisions - throughout the whole year - which will inch you closer to being the kind of person you know you were born to be? What if you need something that focuses on the POSITIVES in life, instead of violently rugby-tackling the negatives? What if you want a theme, a baseline, a principle which will help you make everyday, as well as big, decisions? Click 'Read More' to find out how to create your One Guiding Word for the year...
You've seen it all over social media for the last few years, people are finally rebelling against the tyranny of lengthy lists of New Years Resolutions.
We know by now, not only because the social science geeks tell us (and also because we are all lab rat failures at New Year Resolutions) that having a long list of radical changes we want to make to mind, body and soul, is about as effective as a chocolate teapot.
A few years ago, a well-known beauty store launched a New Year campaign called "Change One Thing" which inched us closer to a more realistic and powerful way to jump on the Resolution bandwagon. Evidence shows that effecting any change in our lives, large or small, is entirely dependant on creating, building and of course sticking to HABITS. Developing good habits is a bit like moulding solid little bricks for your everyday life - that eventually stack up to real, tangible change. But nobody wants to talk about the daily, unglamourous grind of daily habitual behavioural change. No. We want radical. We want instant. We want to be different. Now!
Nobody wants to talk about the daily, unglamourous grind of daily habitual behavioural change. No. We want radical. We want instant. We want to be different. Now!
We know it just doesn't work like that, because by January the 18th, every, single. year. we're already in an autopilot slipstream, sliding back to our old habits, and politely not mentioning what happened to our fabulous declarations of personal development and change on January 1st. The really tough amongst us are still clinging on to our low carb diets well into February but then.. well.... life happens.
So, what to do! According to the experts, focusing on one habit can be mightily effective in changing our automatic behaviours. But what if you're ready for more than that? What if deep in your heart and soul, you need something to guide your every day decisions - throughout the whole year - which will inch you closer to being the kind of person you know you were born to be? What if you need something that focuses on the POSITIVES in life, instead of violently rugby-tackling the negatives? What if you want a theme, a baseline, a principle which will help you make everyday, as well as big, decisions?
Welcome! This is New Year Resolutions 2.0.
We are taking this to a whole 'nutha level because we instinctively know that we're slightly off-course. We feel it in the grumbling discontentment. We sense it in the draining dissatisfaction in our guts. We just KNOW that we need to adjust a little bit, like making a minor steering-wheel corrections as we go along on a winding road - otherwise when the inevitable harsh bend comes, we may very well wind up in the ditch of stress and burnout.
So instead of creating suffocating rules, regulations and programmes for our lives we are opting for something more subtle. One Word. A Guide. A Signpost that points left for peace, right for pain. Left for stress, right for space. A little lamp of sensibility that we can measure each moment against and ask ourselves 'does this resonate with my One Word?' or 'Is this going to take me closer, or further away, from my One Word?'.
The concept of having just One Word to help guide us through the unknown 365 day ahead, is appealing on so many levels. First of all, it's not quite as embarassing to announce on social media that your One Word is 'Happiness', as it is declaring that you 'will be 80lbs lighter by Summer'. By holding to One Word, we instantly remove the pressure of setting ourselves up for failure.
The slight downside is, we've also removed the positive-pressure of accountability. But there are ways round that - once you've decided on your One Word - join our Facebook Group for daily encouragement and accountability to help you focus! Sure, a friend might ask you how your little Happiness 'project' is coming along (next time she see you looking a little frazzled) but, unlike a New Years Resolution, there's no way to really measure success or failure with One Word - and that's the beauty of it. This is not about measuring your performance against a standard - it's about setting up the Sat Nav of your everyday life for a positive journey, even when you don't know the destination.
Unlike a New Years Resolution, there's no way to really measure success or failure with One Word - and that's the beauty of it.
5 Great Reasons to Have One Guiding Word for 2017
1. The pressure of trying to uphold a crazy, impossible, list of New Years Resolutions is gone!
2. You are being driven towards something POSITIVE, instead of away from the negative
3. You can share openly what your One Guiding Word is with friends and family
4. You can use your One Word as a baseline for all kinds of decisions; large and small
5. Your One Word will be deeply meaningful to you and guide you closer to your highest goals
Let's get really practical. The number 1 New Year Resolution is usually Weight Loss. So, previously you might have got the calculator out, cried over the scales and declared that you would be a mere shadow of yourself within a matter of weeks by hitting the gym 5 days a week and rebuking those carbs like they were of the devil.
Instead, in this brave new world, you sit quietly and have a word with yourself. Literally.
Yes there are bad habits which need to change in order for the scales to be your friend again. Yes, there are some dishes at your favourite restaurant that need to be modified to reduce the calorie content by two thirds. Yes, you need to accept that being on first-name terms with all your local takeaways is not a sign that you're just a really sociable person....
.....but instead of talking about weight LOSS; restricting yourself saying No to yourself, discipline, rules, numbers etc try coming up with One Word which is POSITIVE, life-giving, meaningful, inspiring to you. Then let your habits, choices and mindset flow from there. Your Word might be "NOURISH" which speaks to loving and nurturing your body so that it can serve you better. Your Word might be "HEALTH" which speaks to all of you - body, mind and soul and take the focus off the negativity of your relationship with food. Your Word might even be as practical as "VEGETABLES" - yes, really!! If you really embrace just one, simple theme - your behaviour will follow whatever fills your eyes and mind.
What Do I Do With My One Word Once I Have It?
This is a brilliant question because in order for your One Word to guide you - you're gonna have to take it with you everywhere you go! If you announce your One Word to your journal, or your Facebook friends, and then never mention it again - how can it possibly guide you throughout the year. So, once you know what your Word is, here are some practical things to do to make sure it stays with you and can guide you throughout 2017:
1. Plan a One Word "launch party" - this could be a quiet as a coffee alone as you journal and reflect on what your Word means to you and how you will use it in the year ahead - or as elaborate as announcing it on social media or even have a little celebration party with friends, music and your word iced onto a cake! Do what feels right to you - but make a point of officially launching your commitment to your One Word.
2. Create a One Word Journal - you might want to incorporate your Word into your existing journal in some way - put it on the cover so you see it everday - or start a brand new journal and set yourself some regular 'life audit' challenges that align with your Word. If you Blog, why not schedule a regular check-in Blog about your progress and how your Word is helpling you. Or tweet and share articles and inspirational posts relating to your theme. The key is to interact with your Word on a regular, preferably daily, basis.
3. Display Your One Word - get your Word up on your wall, mirror or fridge - somewhere you'll see it everyday as a reminder and encouragement. The eyes truly are the gateway to the soul and once you've take the time to come up with your Word, don't let it fade away out of sight. Keep it central. Just like a love-letter you keep in your bedside drawer, or a photo of your children you keep in your wallet, keep it close.
4. Join the Facebook Group - the She31 Bible Study group are going to be using our One Words this year to help us build our faith, foster a closer walk with God and reboot our devotional lives. Join us today!
The key is to interact with your One Word on a regular, preferably daily, basis.
Discovering Your One Guiding Word
I say "discovering" because it's true that no one can tell you what they think your One Word should be. It really does have to bubble up from within you. It is very possible that even as you've been reading this Blog, your Word has popped into your head and stuck there like glue.
Try to go with your instinct, rather than overthink it. There will be a positive, inspiring word that just sits well with your soul. It can be as 'vague' as "CONTENTMENT" or as specific as "VEGETABLES"! Pick something that is meaningful - and motivating - for you. Pick a word that resonates and excites you. Pick a word that makes you feel positive and optimistic.
Here are some concluding hints and tips for discovering your One Guiding Word:
Once you have your One Word, make sure you make a party of it, add it to your journal somehow, study around that theme using books, the Bible, online courses etc. As with anything in life, you will develop whatever you focus on. Just imagine where you could be in 12 months time; emotionally, spiritually, physically - if you carry this Guiding Word with you everywhere you go. Allow it to be a source of encouragement, blessing and inspiration.
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