Years ago, my uncle introduced me to a new way to tackle the annual “New Year’s Resolution” plan. If you’re like many, each January, you start the new year off with high hopes and difficult expectations. I will exercise more, I will eat better, I will stay in contact with family and friends more. The list goes on. Inevitably, around 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.

My uncle explained, instead of giving yourself a bunch of goals that die off, give yourself a theme. The theme must be so simple, that it fits into one word. At the time, years ago, I was going through a difficult divorce. Life was grim, to say the least. I thought, what is the one word that would encompass what I need out of the next year. I came to the conclusion it would be “heal”.

I’ll admit, normally, I would have set expectations on when to get up each day, set a gym regimen that would distract me from loss, and try and keep myself so busy that I wouldn’t have to face the reality of this transition. I took his word, cleared all the goals and resolutions, and put my one word, “heal”, on my phone.

Over the space of just the first month, I realized that I could not fail. It was a grey area at best, but my future focus was always top of mind. By February, I noticed myself making changes in my daily schedule that would help accomplish the year’s overall theme. It was incredible. Over the months I had accomplished more towards a new year goal than ever before… and it wasn’t even a goal. It was a theme.

During Thanksgiving, we would share the results from our one word and then elect the next year’s word. I was a new me and proud to report that I feel like I had undergone significant healing over the year, just by focusing on one word.

In subsequent years, I’ve opted in for words such as “Discipline” and “Fitness”. I’ve had friends and family opt in to words like “Relationships”, “Mindfulness”, and “Nutrition”.

As another New Year approaches, instead of making a laundry list of goals that statically will die off in February, may I suggest you enjoy a new kind of New Year’s Resolution. Think of one word, make it your theme, and reflect of it often. There is much to gain when efforts are focused.

May you have a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year’s, from all of us at Decker Retirement Planning.

Decker Retirement Planning Inc. is a registered investment advisor in the state of Washington. Our investment advisors may not transact business in states unless appropriately registered or excluded or exempted from such registration. We are registered as an investment advisor in WA, ID, UT, CA, NV and TX. We can provide investment advisory services in these states and other states where we are exempted from registration.