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Just Say No To New Years Resolutions, Choose A Word of the Year Instead

Nearly 10 years ago I made a decision to STOP making resolutions. I simply decided to just say no to new years resolutions. Here’s what I found to be true about making resolutions…

Making resolutions:

  • can often serve to frustrate you, instead of motivating you
  • can allow that inner critic to mouth off inside your head (and heart)
  • can fuel nonproductive thinking (I’m a failure, I can’t follow through with anything, I’ll never get this right)
  • can put you on the struggle bus with negative self-talk
  • can make you feel overwhelmed
  • can make you TOO “destination” focused (aka too goal focused so that you can’t see the forest for the trees)

Here are a few ways to start recalibrating your New Year feelings and thoughts

Creating a Template for Your Word of the Year

Just Say No To New Years Resolutions, Choose A Word of the Year Instead
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After I choose my word, I update my graphic (you can use a free service like Canva). I get my kiddos to also choose a word, and I make one for them too! See last year’s post for inspiration!

Then, I print multiple copies and laminate them (because I’ve always been THAT person who LOVES school supplies – which includes laminating anything that will stand still).

If you are stuck, like I often am, in choosing a word, here are a few pointers to kickstart your process!

Choosing Your Word of the Year

Oprah has some good suggestions in a recent post entitled What to Write Down Before the New Year. Get started now by asking yourself the following:

  1. Recall ONE REALLY GREAT day last year – is there a word or words that describe it? Write it down.
  2. Think about the one mistake you NEVER want to make. Make a note of it.
  3. What younger you would like about present you
  4. Your go-to recipe of the year
  5. A secret you’ve been keeping from yourself
  6. That one quote you love
  7. The most unexpected compliment you got
  8. Your ridiculous niche
  9. The tiny promise to yourself

Let Go of Hope to Find Peace in Times of Profound Change

I know, it’s controversial to say this especially given my spiritual roots – where hope is often a powerful antidote to despair. But hear me out for a second.

I’ve spent my whole life up until now – clinging to hope. That sounds like a good thing, right? But – sometimes clinging to hope is the very thing that keeps you from making transformational decisions.

So this year, I started to let go of hope. And you know what, I got unstuck.

I realized, as Pema Chodron writes in When Things Fall Apart, hope and fear come from the same place. We hold on to what we know, deep down, won’t last.

Nothing stays the same, and thinking you can make things not change, is just an exercise in frustration. Children grow up, jobs change, loves are lost, and time marches on. It’s not despairing.

Chodron says what it *should* teach us is that the very nature of life IS change. The more we *hope* or *fear* that things won’t or will work out, the more we sit in chronic, persistent frustration. Instead, it’s better to let go – and find peace amidst groundlessness and uncertainty.

Plus, Let’s Stop People Pleasing

I love Glennon Doyle – and I especially began to understand her genius when she said, “I’ve stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”

I’ve stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”

Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed and Love Warrior

I have to admit I have spent much of my life as a “permission seeker.” I wanted everyone’s approval, because deep down, I was terrified of not being liked.

The one thing we share as humans is the deep desire to belong, right? Brene’ Brown admonishes us to “never go looking for evidence that you don’t belong, because you will always find it.”

Doing just that caused me a lot of pain – and it also caused me to make some choices that were not at all good for me.

And let’s be honest – a LOT of people pleasing comes from women. The social pressure on women is crippling. And the pressure often doesn’t even come from men, it comes from fellow females – conditioning one another in their family and communities – from work to church to friend groups – to play nice, sweep it under the rug, don’t make waves (and while you are at it plan every gathering, buy every gift, write every card, organize every family event, and raise your family while working full time and getting paid less for doing the same work as men).

In other words, women are discouraged from speaking their truth – especially when it makes those in positions of power (read: status quo patriarchy) or those attached to positions of power squirm in their seats. The fact is, gender bias shapes our brains, and that is not a good thing when you are trying to live your one wild and precious life.

Girls can be conditioned from a young age to:

  • that a long-lasting marriage to one person (never mind if it’s healthy love or not) is your life’s goal
  • to become a mom (the pressure on women to have children is enormous)
  • be a mom who ALSO does PTA, cooks everything organic and from scratch, has an immaculately decorated (and tidy) home, well behaved kids AND holds down a full time job while remaining fit and perpetually happy
  • work without without equal pay for equal work, and if you are. an entreprenuer to not be taken seriously as seriously
  • to held under the BS assumption that you work out of choice because your husband is the one who really brings home the bacon

And perhaps the most dangerous one:

  • that religion doubles down on all of these things and makes you feel guilty and inadequate when 1 or more of these things doesn’t pan out. Here’s an example of one woman’s experience in the Christian faith. Though I do strongly believe there are many examples of healthy churches out there who have evolved past gender stereotyping and conditioning, thank goodness!

Embracing Your One Wild & Precious Life

Let’s change it by shifting our mindset away from social conditioning and toward embracing our one wild and precious life. Check out this article for ideas on making the people pleasing break in 2023. How Women Can Stop People Pleasing

Your Word of the Year

Just say No to New Years Resolutions: Choose a Word of the Year Instead
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My Word of the Year is not as flashy as my 2022 word, “Sing,” nor is it as serious as ones I chose before that, like “Protect,” “Courage,” or “Rise,” just to pick a few (see photo at right).

Looking back, I chose some words on a premise of people pleasing – of working hard to overcome circumstances that were honestly, not controllable.

Read a brief synopsis of my mindset shifting words in year’s past, (scroll to the end)

Just Say No To New Years Resolutions, Choose A Word of the Year Instead
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This year, my Word of the Year is Embrace.

To me the word “embrace” feels like I’m falling into the arms of comfort, of belonging, of deep acceptance. Keep in mind those arms may not be a person.

It may be a book, hobby, or even a simply healthy meal, walking your dog, a brief meditation as you drink your morning coffee, or just a good sleep.

Here is a list of words to help you choose your word of the year. I hope you’ll take a moment to visit me on Instagram and share your 2023 Word of the Year with me!


Dr. Ginger Garner, DPT
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Garner is a passionate, unapologetic advocate of improving access to pelvic physical therapy, a mother to 3 sons, & a 25+ year veteran in Functional, Integrative, & Lifestyle Medicine-based physical therapy. She is the author of Medical Therapeutic Yoga, Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine in PT, founder & CEO of Living Well Institute, owner of Garner Pelvic Health, and loves making music and adventure seeking outdoors as often as possible.

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