Choose a Virtue in the New Year


With the New Year here, you may be thinking about how to create positive change by setting some goals. Although goal setting is good, it can start the year with a feeling of heaviness about how you will accomplish these goals. Trying to achieve the same goals year after year with no results can be frustrating.

Instead of taking the traditional route of making resolutions, how about selecting one word, a virtue? This virtue can support your vision for the year ahead and be a steady guide and inspiration for what’s to come.

Choosing a virtue can set the tone of “being” instead of “having” and “doing” so “I want to lose weight” (having) and “I need to exercise to get there” (doing) is different from “I am a ‘confident’ (virtue) person.” If you believe that you are confident, your actions will naturally come out of that belief, which means that the “have” and “do” will come more easily.

Make a choice based in what you want

To select your virtue, you can ask yourself what you want most this year. Take some time to contemplate various virtues and choose one that holds real meaning for you and matches your desires. For example, if you want to write a book in the new year, you can choose “commitment” to help you see the project through. Or, if you want to focus on giving more to others, you can choose “kindness” or “generosity”. Perhaps you want to be more forgiving towards others and are thinking about a specific relationship that can be mended through forgiveness. See if you are drawn to any of the virtues in the list below. You can also view a full list here.

  • Acceptance
  • Authenticity
  • Commitment
  • Compassion
  • Confidence
  • Contentment
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Discipline
  • Encouragement
  • Faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Generosity
  • Gratitude
  • Hope
  • Integrity
  • Joy
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Patience
  • Peace
  • Trust

Once you have chosen your virtue (or even two!), here are some suggestions to help keep it a priority all year long:

  • Write it down and place around your home, office and even your car, wherever you will see it during your daily routine. This helps to keep it present in your mind and remind you to live it each day.
  • Journal about the virtue. Write about how you envision the virtue playing out this year. You can jot down ways you will practice it and then write about your experiences. This will provide great insight on your success with the chosen virtue.
  • Create powerful affirmations that you can read regularly such as: “I am a courageous person who radiates strength and determination.” (Courage); “I am grateful for all that I have and all that is yet to come.” (Gratitude); “I love and accept myself for who I am.” (Acceptance)
  • Take one daily or weekly action. If you choose “peace”, perhaps you can begin meditating daily. Think of ways to incorporate the virtue into your life through specific daily, weekly and/or monthly actions. And don’t forget to journal about it!

The new year holds a promise of hope, success, revelations, transformations, second chances, ridding of old habits, love, friendship, and other countless possibilities. With a virtue as your guiding beacon of light, you can shape the world with this one word intention as the world shapes you in its glorious response.

What virtue are you choosing to focus on this year? Share your virtue with us below. We’d love to hear from you!


  1. I’m choosing kindness as my virtue for the year! Thank you for this and may you enjoy peace and prosperity in 2013!

    • Thank you for letting us know the virtue you chose Upasaka. I wish you luck, and your year will surely be fulfilling! Let us know how you do. You can submit a Virtues Story on the site about how you practiced kindness. All my best to you in 2013!

  2. Thank you for your thoughtfulness inviting us to start the new year off with the mind/soul set of being, instead of doing and having. My virtues for the year is purposefulness. Since enthusiasm is also a strength virtue of mine, I can be pulled off purpose by shining object syndrome. As chair of the board for the Virtues Project International Association and author of “The Heart of Education: Bringing Joy, Meaning and Purpose Back to Teaching and Learning”, I am committed to remaining purposeful and open to staying focused on my life’s purpose. Wishing you all a year filled with joy, meaning and purpose. With love and gratitude, Dara

    • Dara – so glad you enjoyed the post, and what a great virtue to choose, purposefulness. In fact, I might switch mine now as I was going to choose creativity but feel purposefulness rings more true for me this year. Please let us know how you do in the new year with the virtue you chose. Your book sounds so interesting! I wish you a lot of luck with it! Wishing you too all the best in the new year and may you always be guided by your life purpose. Stacey

  3. I’m choosing patience as my virtue for the year

    • Hi Justine, Great! Thank you for sharing your chosen virtue. You may find that journaling about patience throughout the year will help to manifest it in your life even further plus track your successes. Best of luck!