Why I Do Focus Words Instead of Resolutions

If you’ve looked at social media in the last 48 hours you’ve likely seen the word “resolution” a few thousand times. With the beginning of a new year comes the beginning of resolutions, and honestly, I’m not in the club. This year I’m all into focus words.

Until a year ago, I was all on board with making New Year’s Resolutions. They set the stone for the next 365 days and make you feel either awesome or crappy come mid-March. As I said in my last post I don’t really believe in resolutions as much as focus words. Words that guide me in my actions and prompt me to make better decisions. And in March I feel good about myself and my progress.

4 Reasons to Choose Focus Words Over Resolutions

1. They Set More Realistic Goals

One reason many people fall off the wagon with their New Year’s resolutions is that they mean taking a big jump at once. And to reach that you have to immediately jump out of your comfort zone. With a focus word it is about following what the word means rather than immediately “running two miles a day” or “getting eight hours of sleep”. With the focus words of “running” or “sleeping” you can work toward that goal by making decisions fueled by your words.

One of my focus words is Health and I find myself eating better and being more active by remembering Health when I’m going about my day, like walking to my mailbox when I’d rather drive the quarter mile.

2. The Littlest Action Means Achievement

The only way to achieve a resolution is to do that resolution every day until the next year. Which is borderline ridiculous. But with a focus word you can do just about anything and be achieving. An example? My focus word of Hygge is about connecting with people, something introverted people like me struggle with. But today I signed up for two volunteer opportunities and accepted a few social invitations over the next month. I’m looking forward to connecting with new and old people and I’m achieving my goal without overwhelming myself. It’s one step toward my focus goal even if it’s just signing up to connect.

3. They Seem Less Daunting

Going to the gym every day seems like the most overwhelming thing I’ve ever heard. “Gym” is a much simpler concept. It can mean everything from going every day to going whenever you feel like it. It puts your goal in your hands, and when you have “gym” on your mind, you’re more likely to go to the gym and feel less horrible when you don’t.

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4. Their Meaning Shifts With Time

My favourite part of focus words is that they can change meaning whenever you want them to. While a resolution is steadfast and meant to achieve one goal, a focus word is whatever you make of it. My last focus word for 2018 is Achievement. While it currently means focusing on growing my professional and blogging careers, throughout the year it will change. My engagement numbers will fluctuate, my goals may shift, and I may feel like achieving something I haven’t even known of before today. And I love that just the word Achievement will help me to follow whatever my heart desires so that by the end of 2018 I will have accomplished everything I set out to, instead of either achieving or failing a resolution.


So, before you go into your third day of proclaiming you’ll “go to the gym every day” and “eat more salad” and “use less social media” consider trying focus words in 2018. And if you decide to use a focus word – or two! – share them in the comments!

Stay classy, Internet,

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