on new years resolutions

i find traditional resolutions clunky, setting me up for failure.

i’d rather know what kind of energy i’d like to surround myself with in the coming year, and traditional resolutions aren’t helpful in this regard. i believe starting any action with quick reflection and intention is an easy way to create space for purpose, hope, and productivity. reviewing the past year equips me to continue life with such intentionality, while also finding something to celebrate, marking growth. i like to set the tone for a new year, and i like to return to these thoughts, to have a better view of where the past year did need to take me… so here’s my new year practice! just pick and choose what speaks to you.

note: i don’t want to date this post, so i am inputting xxxx rather than a year

note, also: this is a long one, bc i am extra. i work through this all december. don’t rush it.

quick practice: 

look over the last year. decide what you want to…

🌱take with you into the next year. 

🌱leave behind in this year. 

🌱generate in the next year. 

there. you’re done. go forth and live.

long practice:

generally i start prepping for the new year by reviewing the past year, to celebrate and assess what i may need for the future. educated guessing with the power of studying, if you will. answer some questions about this past year, such as,

🌱what did i embrace in xxxx?

🌱what did i let go of in xxxx?

🌱what changed for you in xxxx?

🌱what did i discover about myself in xxxx?

🌱what was i grateful for in xxxx?

🌱when did fear hold me back in xxxx?

🌱when did i practice bravery in xxxx?

🌱what made me smile in xxxx?

🌱what conclusions did i reach in xxxx?

🌱list three accomplishments from xxxx

🌱what skills helped make these accomplishments happen?

🌱how has my life changed?

🌱how did i celebrate? how could i better celebrate in the future?

🌱list three challenges from xxxx

🌱how did i deal with these challenges?

🌱what was a favorite moment from xxxx?

🌱did anything happen in xxxx that needs to be forgiven? where is gentleness necessary?

🌱xxxx in three words

then, using what i have learned, i might look forward and brainstorm for the next year. again, this is simply brainstorming:

🌱what topics might i want to explore in xxxx?

🌱what professional / academic goals might i have for xxxx?

🌱how might i practice better self care?

🌱which habits might i hope to change/shift/kick?

🌱what project may i want to complete?

🌱where do i want to be this time next year, physically, mentally, spiritually?

based on these answers, i make my intentions. i make a quick spread in my journal/planner. on one side i answer these questions, with the fewest amount of words i possibly can. also, i answer with as few answers as i can, usually 1-4 bullet points of 1-5 words each:

🌱what topics do i want to explore?

🌱what do i hope to achieve professionally/academically?

🌱how can i take better care of myself?

🌱what unhealthy habits do i hope to change?

🌱what creative project do i want to complete?

return to this next december. this is where i see where the year needed to take me. write this down. have grace for yourself.

on the other page, i do the most important work. i ask and answer the question


where do you want to be

physically, mentally, spiritually,

this time in december


the spacing is important to me, bc it acknowledges that i’m setting these visions from where i sit now. it allows for grace and shifting.

i then bullet point words that come to mind, having set the groundwork earlier with the more extended questions. i don’t think too hard. i just listen for the underlying themes of my desires / struggles.

then i write one last word that encapsulates all the other words.

last year, i did find a quote that also kind of encapsulate how i felt, and i included this as well.

often, this becomes a sort of mantra, especially if you can boil it down to a single word. words > resolutions. you can work a word into everything you do, and decide goals week by week, month by month, based on the word and your current need.

LET. IT. ALL. MORPH. rewrite intentions every couple months or so. once you settle on what calls to your heart, keep it. 

example, last december i wrote

:centered :quietly confident

:at peace :connected

:strongly vulnerable :open

:loving :happy to be alive

:trusting :active :clean

:open hands :prayerful

:honest :bulkier :naturally healthy

:rested : content :hopefully confident

which came down to “i am centered, thoughtful and loving.”

later, it morphed into “i am able. ready wild. centered and unalone. i resolve to root myself into routine, nourishing intention.” along with the verse “remember not the former things; behold- i am doing a new thing; now, it springs forth. make a way in wilderness and desert.”

if you want to be particularly extra, like me…. i also pull oracle cards. get your hands on a deck, ask “am i on the right path, and how must i walk forward,” shuffle, and pull three cards that call to you.

first card: describes where you have been

second card: describes what you need now

third card: describes what you need moving forward

this is just an organized, intentional way for me to set goals month to month, rather than year to year, and to continue building, depending on the way my time went.

i’ll post my own spread soon, with some reflections. it seems like a lot of writing, but it’s quite a low key, clear spread and that’s why i like it.

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