New Year’s Resolution? Try a Motto Instead

by Michael on December 30, 2010 · 2 comments

Hint: it won't be "everything in moderation." (Photo by TinyTall)

The second the clock passed 12 midnight on December 26, the entire blogosphere (and Twit-o-sphere and Facebook-sphere) started asking you for your New Year’s Resolution.

Not me.

I’m going to suggest that this year you do what I’ve been doing for about 7-8 years now: instead of a resolution, think of a motto.

A Motto is All-Encompassing

Resolutions aren’t all bad. If you really want to put the words to a change you want to make in your life, do it. But when you make a resolution, it usually affects just one part of your life. When you create a few words to live by, however, it can drive everything you do. Relationships, fitness, travel, work…a personal motto can help you make decisions in all aspects of your life. Whether those decisions ultimately succeed or fail, you know you made them according to your values.

The great men of history had spoken values, from Truman’s “the buck stops here” to Vince Lombardi’s “quitters never win and winners never quit.”

A Motto Won’t Disappoint You

The downside of a resolution is the failure to accomplish it. One of my Facebook friends asked today, “Anyone else resolve to try and quit smoking again this year?” Researchers estimate that over 90% of people who resolve to be more fit end up giving up their gym memberships within the first month. And the more people you told about your resolution, the worse you feel when you fail to do it. (If you do decide to resolve, research shows your chances of reaching your goal are higher if you don’t tell anyone.)

A personal motto doesn’t have a finish line. No matter what happened yesterday, you can look at that motto taped to your mirror or stickied on your computer and strive to live up to it today. “One Day at a Time” isn’t the AA motto for nothing.

A Motto is a Way

Think of a personal motto as gently guiding you through the year. It’s a touchstone you can return to every day to keep you on track even when life gets crazy. It should be broad and inspirational, short and open a bit to interpretation. One motto I adopted that offered meaning beyond its surface frivolity was, “it is what it is.” To this day, one of my key values is to not dwell on the emotions of a problem, but rather to overcome or sidestep it.

I’ve Already Got Mine…What’s Yours?

This year I’m breaking my tradition of coming up with the slogan on New Year’s Eve, because I’ve found the perfect words for 2011. However, I am going to honor my tradition of revealing the slogan after the clock ticks over to the new year. You’ll see it first if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Do you have a motto or a resolution for 2011? Leave it in the comments below!

2 comments… read them below or add one

Olga ("Allowing Life :)") January 12, 2011 at 1:38 am

Oh Michael, it’s so good!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll get it even to a shorter thing – a mantra ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d say, mine for this year is “Goddess”. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you very much!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. I just saw your comment on FeelGooder, and I was curious: how do you manage to add the photo in the comment??

Have the nicest day!! ๐Ÿ™‚


Michael January 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Thanks, Olga. Good mantra!

If you sign up with Gravatar ( your picture will be linked to your e-mail address and show up at any site that allows it (like mine). Cheers!

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