The Anti-Resolution Solution

This is not a message telling you how to make your new year better. It is a message to help you make every moment (or at least most of them) great.

Flipping the calendar fills us with joy and hope. There is something magical about writing a new number at the tail end of the year. January 1 is not only the basis of our resolutions. It is the start of a brand new possibility of positive change.

The trouble with New Year’s resolutions is we often try to change who we are to fit a mold we think is better for us.  We look forlornly in the mirror at our expanding waistlines and at our statements at our receding bank accounts. We think what we are doing is somehow wrong and that it would best to make a quantum leap towards a better future. The challenge is most radical changes are not sustainable. Incremental change, however, can lead to lasting improvement and well-being.

Whatever your goals are, it is possible to set and attain them at any time of the year.

Whether you have fitness, financial or family-related goals, you can live the life you deserve every day of every year. Think about your New Year’s resolutions as a chance to show the world who you truly are. It requires a bit of courage to denounce the common resolutions most people make, but my guess is, if you are reading this, you already have what it takes.

  1. Name the year. While in graduate school, my husband and I developed a system of naming the New Year something to help each other realize our goals. One year was the Year of Fun. We spent it looking for new, yet inexpensive ways to be entertained. Another was the Year of Travel in which we took ten trips to various places. Last year was the Year of the Book as I completed and published The Power of Slow. What will your focus be this year? Family? Career? Inspiration? Fun? Have the title reflect your main goal for the year. You may have many goals, which is great. The key here is to identify your main focus and to drive your efforts in a common direction.
  2. Get a new calendar. As silly as this may sound, holding a fresh, unmarked calendar is a powerful, hope-filled exercise. Flip through each month and envision how you would like to spend your time. Make a few notes in the margins or on the days themselves. Find inspirational quotes that motivate you towards your main goal. Add them to the page.
  3. Be realistic. The fastest way to discourage yourself is to set unattainable goals such as running twenty-five marathons in as many days. Recognize your limits. Be kind to yourself. New Year’s resolutions are about empowering yourself to live your best life, not a tortured one.
  4. Go slowly. We often get impatient when we ‘miss’ our self-induced deadlines. Celebrate the small wins and embrace the setbacks as something you have learned. Take baby steps to sustain your energy and your progress. One step forward is better than a giant leap, then a tumble to ground zero. Sometimes we achieve our goals in the most unexpected ways. Allow for surprises and trust that your life is unfolding just as it should.
  5. Get support. Gather your tribe of like-minded people to help you achieve your goals. Whether it is a weight loss group, an exercise buddy or a partner who lifts you up when the going gets tough, we all need human connection to help us on our way. No man, or woman, is an island. Sharing your goals with others also gives you a higher level of culpability than if you keep it to yourself. If you struggle with procrastination, ask others to help keep you in check. Do the same for them.

The New Year is a time of hope and renewal. It is a period of transition to our higher selves. We can reside in that place of heightened awareness more often than we think by tapping into our inner voice and actually listening to what it says. What do you truly want 2010 to be?  Take a moment to reflect. It can be yours for the asking.**

**Parts of this essay first appeared on


  1. tutoringmatch

    January 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I had to laugh when I read the part about the brand new calendar, because you are so right!
    All the empty boxes just waiting to be filled, and for some, left empty, giving the promise of both time spent and time to just “be”.
    A new calendar always boosts my enthusiasm for the New Year!

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. powerofslow


      January 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      Thanks, Mr. Lane! I truly appreciate you stopping by. I’m getting a calendar for my office wall ~a cheery one to remind me that time is the best friend I have!

  2. darkcherrymocha

    January 6, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    thanks for this….i get upset whenever i can’t fulfill those resolutions. it’s time to be realistic.

    1. powerofslow


      January 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm

      Good for you! We all need to realize the flip of the calendar offers new chances to shine, not shun ourselves. Go for it. Thanks for stopping by. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Lori Schmidt Lutze

    January 7, 2010 at 3:21 am

    Hi–we were both featured today on the WordPress homepage. I think Joyce loves the power of slow and has built her life around it! I’ll give you a mention in an upcoming post . . . xo

    1. powerofslow


      January 7, 2010 at 7:27 am

      Hi Lori!

      Congrats on being featured on! I had no idea my blog was, too. Thanks for the heads-up! Looking forward to reading your blog. Best to you!

  4. toss in the towel ’cause she really got the best of me « stadium of my heart

    January 7, 2010 at 3:54 am

    […] romantic significant other? really? o-v-e-r-r-a-t-e-d). and where did i read this? —-> a place to slow down… -go on 52 dates. its the idea of having something constant to recap that i like…as well as […]

  5. Thome Mercedes

    January 7, 2010 at 3:58 am

    I like to use NYE as a chance to make Absolutions, rather than Resolutions. It’s a nice chance to meditate on the year we’re leaving behind – not out of spite, but through growth – and cleanse ourselves of bad thoughts and memories. All the better a state to truly embrace the blank canvas ahead.

    1. powerofslow


      January 7, 2010 at 7:34 am

      I love that! New Year’s Absolutions to cleanse away the old. Great idea, Thome. Thanks so much for sharing. I think I feel another blog post coming on…!

  6. Moranna

    January 7, 2010 at 10:39 am

    What interesting ideas – particularly the ‘Year of..’.
    2008 was my ‘Year of Emigrating. I treasure the calendar with all the notes, ‘things must do’, ‘things still to do’ etc. It brings back so many memories, good, funny, sad and of course the not so good ones. I wonder at my stamina, the genorisity of friends and, in general the helpfulness of ‘those in authority’; whose brains I nreguolarly had to pick. My 2009 calendar, although less full held some equally interesting new comments and notes in to my new lifestyle.

    1. powerofslow


      January 7, 2010 at 11:03 am

      I love keeping my calendars for later viewing. They are a diary of sorts. In this year’s pocket calendar, I am recording all my moments of beauty. Today I picked up my friend’s photography that my mother sent me. Her work is well worth checking out. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Jaky Astik

    January 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I guess my 2010 will be a year of life. I want to recollect where I am lacking. I want to be what I really want to be. I want to let go of every mental stress that harnesses me.

    And I am pretty sure things have started to happen about okay.

    1. powerofslow


      January 7, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      A Year of Life sounds terrific! Remember to also recollect where you are abundant. The more we focus on abundance (time abundance, in particular), the more we have of it. My best to you, Jaky!

  8. conradvisionquest

    January 7, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    this year will be the Year of Travel and Self Discovery. can we have 2 names for one year? i don’t care, i’m doin’ it anyway… HA

    1. powerofslow


      January 7, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      Absolutely you can have two! Mine are Year of Entertainment (for my husband and me) and Year of Beauty (for me alone). As long as you have some kind of focus, you’re golden. Besides, when you travel, you often discover the self along with it! Safe travels!

  9. pyrit

    January 7, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Naming the year is genius! I like it.

    But, being realistic, hmmm. I think that’s tough for a lot of people.

    Happy New Year!

    1. powerofslow


      January 7, 2010 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks, Pyrit! It’s great to have someone to remind you to be realistic. Go for the dream and remember the end result might look different than you think!

  10. 2010 in review « The Power of Slow

    January 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    […] The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 897 views. The most popular post that day was The Anti-Resolution Solution. […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: