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An Alternative to New Year's Resolutions


I personally haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions in about a decade. If I want to make big changes, I wait until spring to reflect and plan and then act from there. In my opinion the dead of winter is a terrible time to embark on behavior change. (But you do you, no judgement.)

If you want to infuse some intentionality into your new year, I’ll offer you this alternative.

1. Assign each month a quality

I’ve taken the liberty of choosing 8 of them as a starting point and have left the remaining 4 for you*. (If you want to choose all 12, by all means do.)

January = curiosity
February = rest
March =
April = vision
May = authenticity
June =
July = levity
August = intuition
September =
October = reputation
November = agility
December =

As you play with qualities each month, feel free to use different forms of each word. For example, “rest” might turn into restful, resting, rest-filled, or rested.

*To choose qualities, you can go with whatever pops into your head or do an internet search for lists of personal values and start from there.

2. Engage with each quality during its month


At the beginning of each month, explore your current and past relationship to the quality.

  • How do you personally define [quality]? What does it mean to you?
  • What associations or memories do you have with [quality]? What is the mix of positive to neutral to negative?
  • How often do you use [quality] as a word when speaking or writing? Why do you think that is?
  • On a scale of 0 to 5, where zero is “none” and 5 is “way too much”, how much [quality] do you have in your life? Is the answer different in your professional versus personal life?
  • If you had more of [quality] in your life, what would that mean for you? What about if you had less of it?


During your daily work and life, start to notice when [quality] comes up. Either its presence or absence. In you or in others. Take a few moments to reflect at the end of each week.

You can also play with invoking it when you are stuck or in a challenging situation. For example, you might ask yourself “how would the most [quality] person in the world approach this task/conversation/issue/etc.?” or “my touchstone for the month is [quality], how might I apply that here?”

Some people like to phrase qualities as affirmations like “I am [quality]” or “[quality] is abundant in my life when I remember to look for it.

Be open to how [quality] may show up during the month, especially as your attention/intention is on it.


At the end of the month ask yourself:

  • How has your relationship to [quality] shifted during the month? Or if it didn’t shift, what are your thoughts on that?
  • What from this exploration of [quality] do you want to take forward with you?

3. Look Back Each Quarter

It can be nice to take a look back at the last quarter’s qualities. Explore how they relate to one another, complement each other, contradict each other, etc.

Do yourself a favor and download the free pdf so you’re ready for each month and don’t have to hunt down this post.

Sending good vibes your way for a wonderful year.

Let me know how it is going.

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