Choosing the Path for 2017

December 28, 2016

Some folks make New Year’s resolutions. I’m not one of those people. My closets are organized enough. I watch very little TV. I’ve never smoked, don’t gamble, and my annual alcohol consumption consists of about half a beer every summer—I open a bottle, take a few sips, forget about it until it gets warm, and then pour the remainder out on the grass. I almost never drink soda and my coffee, when I have a cup, is decaffeinated.

It’s not that I don’t have vices, but I’m not joining a gym and I have no intention of unfriending carrot cake. I’ve no desire to become a vegan or even a vegetarian. And if spending beyond what’s reasonable on books is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. So January 1st won’t find me giving up anything.

For the past handful of years, a bunch of people I know have chosen to forego New Year’s resolutions in favor of choosing a word, theme, or motto for themselves for the year ahead. I like the idea and think I’ll join in this year. The idea is to pick something that’ll help remind us of what we hope to develop in ourselves and our lives. A little mantra of sorts that we keep at the forefront as we go about the business of living. When we’re tempted to make choices we know won’t lead us where we want to go, we bring to mind our personal motto and put ourselves back on the right path. Big things happen in little steps and our daily decisions, especially those that are habitual, make or break us.

Sharing your word/theme/motto/mantra is optional. I’m not opposed to the idea of divulging mine, but I haven’t settled on it just yet. Some friends have posted theirs. If you’re looking for ideas, here are some of what they’ve offered: I am the change. Choose happiness. Peace is possible. Healthy, happy, holy. Feeding my creative spirit. Putting myself on the list. Living faith. Honesty always. Be gentle. Stay present. I’m worth it. The time is now.

Those are terrific, but none feel just right for me at this time. I’m almost there, though. What about you? What would you like to develop in the year ahead? Whatever your wish for yourself, I hope you make it come true. May you have peace, love, health, and happiness, and may 2017 prove to be your best year yet.






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  1. Reply

    Malcolm Campbell

    I’ve never liked New Year’s resolutions because it seemed to me that looking for ways to improve ourselves should happen all year, not just on January 1. When people post resolutions on line, I wonder if they are showing off or seeking support. Perhaps, both.

    The mantra idea is a good one. It’s like an affirmation of sorts, though perhaps more overarching. I think we have to live it, though. That is, actively think about it and brainstorm what kinds of thoughts and activities support it. I hope this post finds a lot of mantra-makers.

    1. Reply


      We definitely have to live it for it to be of any value. I like the idea because it allows flexibility and aims to keep us heading in the right direction, rather than the all or nothing feel of typical New Year’s resolutions. What’s a good road trip without a few side stops?

      1. Reply

        Malcolm Campbell

        One at least needs to stop for a beer once in a while even if they only take a few swigs before throwing out the rest of it.

  2. Reply


    Gave them up years ago, I just strive daily to be the best person I can be daily.

    1. Reply


      If we all did just that, imagine how the world would change!

  3. Reply

    Angela Myers

    I’m not a fan of resolutions, either, and I like your idea. I think for my “mantra” I’ll go with “Rise up.” It feels right.

    1. Reply


      “Rise up” is fabulous. My favorites are ones that have a wide variety of applications.

  4. Reply


    Motto: I am love.

    No, that’s not a statement of fact, but something I aspire to be.

    1. Reply


      I truly love that, Jay. And I believe it IS a factual statement for all of us–and using it as a mantra is a fabulous reminder to be who we really are.

  5. Reply


    For many years I have made commitments to do something rather than resolve not to do something–the longest recurrent commitment is to read a book a week for the year. I have now done that for 23 years I a row. The last few days I have been toying around with making one word my motto for the year. I am almost settled on HEAR. I want to listen to everyone with more care. And I want everyone to hear about the love of Christ.

    1. Reply


      “Hear” is a fine choice, Ralph. I think we (all of us) too often hear only what we already agree with and discount the rest so quickly they are barely blips on our radar.

      Your book commitment is wonderful, but I think my favorite of yours is the hand-written note/letter one. Do you still do that?

  6. Reply


    I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions because I strive to be better every day. Yet I’ll think about a 2017 mantra because I need some focus.
    Thanks for the provocative post.

    1. Reply


      Focus–that’s exactly why I like this idea. It’s not an “I’ll stop doing this” or an “I’m going to this other thing every day.” It’s more a compass we keep in our pockets to keep us going in the direction of our dreams.

  7. Reply

    Jo Heroux

    I also like the idea. Maybe now that I’m not planning a move and/or unpacking from one, I might have time to enjoy this exercise in improvement. I know that if I do decide to do this, my “words” would be “be humble and kind” because I’m convinced the world truly needs more of this and I can be the change. See what I did there? Two for one!!

    1. Reply


      Humble and kind on a worldwide scale would cure all sorts of ills. Happy New Year, Jo!

  8. Reply


    I love this idea, Beth. I’ve never been a resolutions person, though I do reevaluate my goals (I do that monthly though, so it isn’t exactly a New Year thing).

    My mantra for 2017 will be “Look up”. I’ll look forward to hearing yours when you find the one that fits. 🙂

  9. Reply


    “Look up” is terrific. Again, wide application possibilities, which to me, makes it a fabulous choice.

  10. Reply

    Jesse Chapman

    Hi EG, I’m liking this idea. Like you, Imma puzzle over it a bit.

    Nice write.

    1. Reply


      We’ve still got a few days, Jesse. 🙂

  11. Reply

    Tammy Minnis

    My word would be “Balanced”. That one feels good. But at the moment I have a few other ones I think I should consider for my self too.

    I made a resolution a few years ago to no longer make New Years resolutions. It seemed silly. I’m a goal oriented gal anyway. Waiting for Jan. 1 would be to long of a wait!

    1. Reply


      Balanced is a great choice! And I’m with you on the foolishness of waiting for a once a year event to implement changes.

  12. Reply

    Myke Todd

    Had I chosen such a word, I would surely have forgotten by now,
    or on second thought, cast it aside in concerted effort to disavow;
    but maybe that word or phrase, by this time would have returned;
    so in either case, I suppose I could say, I was bound to get burned.

    I don’t recall much about the new year, but Groundhog day was fantastic, Beth. 🙂

    1. Reply


      Love the reply in your unique style, Myke. 🙂

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