This Year, I Ditched New Year's Resolutions And Found A Whole New Outlook

It's March. Most new year's resolutions are either going strong or hardly made it in the first place. Personally, this year, I decided not to declare a resolution. In my mind, I didn't want to just focus on something for a year. I wanted to make goals throughout the year and achieve them, without worrying about my focus constantly shifting back the looming resolution that I would feel obligated to complete and like I was letting myself down if I didn't.

Most of the time, we declare a resolution in the heat of the moment because we want to follow suit with everyone around us, and because of this, it's almost always something cliché that we just give up on a few months into the new year.

New year's resolutions have too much of a negative stigma about them nowadays. Most people joke when it comes time to declare their resolution because they know how it usually goes — we all do. A lot of the time, people associate the term "new year's resolution" with failure, and I just didn't want that kind of negativity in my life — especially not at the cusp of a brand new year.

I have plenty of goals, some long-term and others for completing in the next few months or years. This is why, for 2018, I decided to choose a word of the year. This word would define what I wanted my year to be all about, and I wanted to align my goals to the meaning that this word held for me. My word: Discover.

Since I've started college, I've made a lot of discoveries. I've discovered things about myself, things about my friends and relationships, and that there are so many new discoveries that still lie ahead for me. I'm not necessarily talking about the type of discoveries that involve finding out who is really there for you, or maybe discovering the career you want to pursue - I'm talking about those real, raw personal discoveries about yourself and what makes you, you.

Discover, verb. 1. Find (something or someone) unexpectedly or in the course of a search. 2. Become aware of (a fact or situation).

I've always heard the phrase that "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." I also once attended a special lecture where the speaker specifically said: "Life is all about learning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable." These quotes are ultimately what played the largest part in my decision to make "discover" my word of the year. To find and become aware of things I've never really taken the time to focus on about myself. To leave the comfort that is going through the motions and detaching myself from my emotions.

I wanted to discover what it was about certain situations that made me feel confident, scared, happy or just plain uncomfortable. I wanted to make these personal discoveries so that I could really take them into consideration when I approach new things in my life - when I set goals for myself. Understanding those feelings and emotions can really help a person successfully achieve their goals, and that's what I want to do, right?

I wanted to find out what it was that really made me tick — humans tend to just do things; we have emotions, we complete tasks, we go through the motions. We push forward through whatever we feel without sparing much thought as to why we are even feeling that way.

Today, everybody feels like they're in a time crunch, even when they're not. The best way — some may even say the only way — to get things done is to get them done fast; then it's over and it doesn't matter how we feel about it because we just needed to get it done. This is precisely what I wanted to stop doing. I wanted to find meaning in the things I do because for too long, I'd just been moving forward by going through the motions. My everyday life felt redundant. I was completing my goals and being successful, but I felt like I was altogether removing myself from the emotions that came with life — in almost everything I did.

This is how I knew that focusing on discovery, for 2018, was right for me. I could discover so many new things about myself that would help me become a more well-rounded individual. I knew that making these intricate discoveries about myself and being aware of them would help me express to others what I needed and was looking for in life, friends, and relationships.

I declared that I would get to know myself by focusing on me for a change. This was the perfect time to do it too — as my college years are coming to a close and I'm about to face real life responsibilities head-on.

Picking a word of the year has been so rewarding for me because it's so simple. One word to focus on and keep at the forefront of everything I do. I stop myself and think about the word, write it down, or say it out loud to remind myself of what I want to remain focused on this year.

I can honestly say that this method has helped turn my overall outlook on my life around completely. So far this year, I've made time for myself to reflect on everything I do, discovering even the most minuscule but rewarding aspects of myself and my emotions. I recommend giving my "word of the year" method a try because honestly, it has been easier and far more rewarding than any new year's resolution I ever attempted — better yet, it's March and I can still say I'm pursuing what I set my sights on for the new year.

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