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  • Writer's pictureClaire Walmsley

New year, New you...? An alternative to New Year Resolutions

The start of the new year is always full of promise, right? Like a blank page waiting to be filled... and what better way to do that than making a New Year's resolution!


Bu the problem with New Year's Resolutions, are that people make them so goal orientated and so strict that it is sometimes really difficult to stick to! And if by the 6th of January, you've already given up on them, it can make you feel a little bit deflated. Not the kind of energy you want.


How can you build on that new year energy but still allow for kindness and self love? For the last few year, rather than creating a very strict new year's resolution like 'Write a chapter book' or 'Get published', I have instead started to choose three words to guide my year. I read this in a blog post once (when I find the original, I will link it in) and it changed my whole view!


The downside to NY resolutions is that they are often black and white - you either reach them or you don't. "I will go to the gym every day" is either a fail or a success - there is nothing in between! The beauty of choosing three guiding words, is that you don't have to have a set success criteria!. There are many ways to skin a cat as the saying goes.


Last year, I chose: present, small and joy. I picked this because I wanted to celebrate small wins, recognise small steps are still steps, find joy in times that were difficult and be more present with my writing and family life. I had no hard goals in mind - just knew these were the choices I wanted to make.


I've definitely been focusing on the small this year - every win has been celebrated with gusto! And that means that if the big things don't always go to plan (like being in hospital!) then I have found small things to be joyful about. Being more present has allowed me to really develop my craft and spend family time together. It's something I would like to focus a little more on in the future but I've made a great start!


This year, I've picked relax, challenge and explore.


My body needs rest - I can't get around that. It needs more rest than most so relax seemed a good one to choose. Relaxing comes in many forms - exercise, meditation, reading, sleeping so I know there are lots of ways I can work towards this.


Challenge can also come in many ways - it can be challenging my beliefs, my body, my mind, my habits. I have a few ideas to start the year with this but again no solid end points. They are more words to guide my decisions.


And finally explore - I want to explore more places, people, ideas, themes, books, writing, hobbies. I feel it is a good one to broaden myself a little more.


This is a great activity to do with children too. I know a lot of children (especially ND children!) can find the lack of achieving really difficult and it can have negative effects on their mental health. Plus, too much focus on change can lead them to believe they haven't been good enough (which is simply not true!). By talking with them about how they would like their year to go, you can open up some discussions about ways you can help and support them.


To help with this, I've made a little activity that you do with them! Simply cut out the words and ask children to find ones that speak to them. Together, you can then mindmap some ideas about what that might look like.


I hope you find it useful, and please do share your words with me. I'd love to know what you've chosen!



Claire Walmsley on a zipwire with the words my three words for 2024 and relax, challenge and explore underneath


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