Forget Resolutions

Forget Resolutions.

Forget New Year’s resolutions. Let’s talk New Year’s theme words. Maybe it’s time to throw out your usual New Year’s Resolutions and instead try on a “theme word” for the new year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about goal setting, focused efforts, and revolutionizing dead dreams–but somehow New Year’s resolutions don’t ever seem to get that done. But if you were to pick a theme word for this next year, what would it be? One word, one concept, one single description for the next year…your next 365 days.

New years resolutions

Even better, what would be the theme word for this last year? C’mon, be nice.

This started out as a game of mine in 2008, and every year since I’ve had a theme word whispered and drop in my heart at the beginning of each year. This is kind of a funny game between me and God, and now I look forward to it every year. The best part is that initial notions and predictions at the onset of the year of the selected theme word never really match what actually happens later on, yet somehow at the end of the year I can look back and see exactly what it meant. Meaning, what I thought would happen never happened the way I planned, and yet the theme word would somehow be dead on. I love it!

I’ve had a “squirrely” year that kept me on my toes with some unpredictable circumstances, followed by a year of “recovery & relief” that included several amazing travel experiences and a period of joy, relaxation, and celebration. Then there was the “roller coaster” year that included all the highs and lows of a graduation, a major breakup, and a new job. Who can forget the year of “refresh” with a major out-of-state relocation, the ending of a longtime relationship, and the start of my photography business?

The year of “rebuilding” threw me for a loop that turned out to have more of a focus on the surrounding community than my personal world– including rebuilding strained relationships between departments in a job, rebuilding broken budgets, and even an office remodel. Unforgettable was my year of “recovery” with an unexpected death and heartbreak, an 8 day evacuation due to the forest fires that definitely put things in perspective, and various other moments that needed several deep breaths of recuperation. Last year’s “release” could not have more accurately predicted the book launch of “Life Before the Lottery: Living Beyond the Bucket” in September and the letting go and releasing the heart of some heavy emotional baggage. There’s no way I could have predicted any of those things at the beginning of the year, but it makes the end of the year reflection time quite entertaining!

I’ve been asking friends and family for this year’s theme word for their lives, and the responses have been as varied as the people. I’ve heard everything from “new beginnings” to “saucy.” I dig it.

New Years Resolution

If this is a concept that intrigues you. Let’s play a little game.

A. Count the # of words that you identify with:
lost, apathetic, directionless, depressed, frustrated, lonely, tired, exhausted, weary, fatigued, worn-out, old, jaded, disillusioned, drifting, annoyed, irritated, aggravated, busy, broke, dull, flat, bored, numb, unresponsive, lifeless, lethargic, unmotivated, listless, unsure, unclear, disoriented, adrift, scared, confused, bitter, stumped, stuck, caught, puzzled, without an answer, hopeless, jammed, ugly, without purpose, weak, over it

B. Now count the words that you identify with:
determined, refreshed, alive, revived, rejuvenated, charged, recharged, invigorated, energetic, driven, motivated, ambitious, active, vibrant, vivacious, lively, spirited, dynamic, vigorous, full of life, on the go, self-motivated, exciting, brilliant, functioning, daring, lovely, effective, beautiful, exquisite, pleasant, agreeable, charming, attractive, joyful, relaxed, unhurried, calm, even-tempered, laid-back, full of purpose, focused, functioning, clear, energized, happy

Q: Count the words you circled—which category do you have the most words circled?
Q: Which category do you want to be in?
Q: What three words are the most important to you in describing the life you desire?

These are now your new theme words. Focus on these.

Excerpt From: “140902-Life Before the Lottery EBOOK_Proof2.” iBooks.


Ashlee Bratton - Life Before The Lottery

Ashlee Bratton is a professional photographer, freelance writer, and entertaining speaker with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in business administration.

Along with completing 29 of the 30 things on her 30×30 list, her writing contributions include numerous publications such as Vail’s EAT magazine, creating a 56 page Visitor Guide for a mountain ski town, blogging and guest blogging, being featured in multiple newspapers and e-zines, and various other projects.

Currently, she keeps her camera in hand in Southern Colorado, is a complete and total foodie, and takes plane rides for fun. She likes things that go.


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