With the New Year here, you may be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Although goal setting is good, it can start the year with a feeling of heaviness about how you’ll accomplish these goals. Trying to achieve the same goals year after year with no results can be disheartening.
Instead, what if you selected one word, a virtue, to support your vision for the new year ahead? This word can be a steady guide and inspiration for what’s to come.
When you choose a virtue, you 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 ‘determined’ (the virtue of determination) person.” If you believe you are determined, your actions will be driven by that belief, which means that the “have” and “do” will come more easily. So staying determined to lose weight will help you achieve your desired result.
Choose a Virtue Based on What You Want
To select your virtue, ask yourself what you most want 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 paint, write, or start a new business in the new year, you can choose “creativity” to help you feel inspired and stay the course. Or, if you want to focus on helping others, you can choose “kindness,” “hope,” or courage. Perhaps you want to forgive others more readily for the little things. Or, you are thinking about a relationship that can be mended through forgiveness. Start with this list below to see if you are drawn to any of these virtues. You can also view our full list of virtues.
How to Keep the Virtue Present All Year
Once you have chosen your virtue (or even two!), here are some suggestions to help keep it present in your mind all year long:
- Write it down and place the virtue around your home, office, and even in your car, wherever you see it during your daily routine. This helps remind you to live by it each day. Post-it notes are a great way to do this!
- Journal about virtue. Write about how you envision the virtue playing out for you this year. You can jot down ways you will practice it and then write about your experiences in a journal. Journal writing has many benefits. One of them is that you’ll have insight into how your selected virtue has made an impact on your life.
- Create powerful affirmations around the virtue that you can read regularly, such as:
- “I am strong, courageous, and worthy of all good things.” (Courage)
- “I intend to live this day to the fullest and practice gratitude.” (Gratitude)
- “I love and accept myself for who I am.” (Acceptance)
- Take one daily or weekly action. If you chose “peace”, perhaps you can begin meditating daily. Think of ways to incorporate virtue into your life by setting goals around that virtue. Then take specific daily, weekly, and/or monthly actions. And don’t forget to journal about it!
At the end of the year, it will be fun to look back in your journal to see all you accomplished around that virtue. With all the practice, you’ll also have the virtue more ingrained in your character!
Remember that the new year holds a promise of hope, success, revelations, transformations, second chances, ridding of old habits, love, friendship, and other countless possibilities. With 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 in 2023? Share your virtue with us below. We’d love to hear from you!
I love this idea. For 2022, my virtue is “Creativity.” I retired in the Spring of 2021, and since then have been focusing on my artistic side. For this year, I’d like to continue to learn the nuances of watercolor painting and enhance my drawing skills.
So glad that you love the idea Camille! I wish you the best in your focus on “Creativity” and what a great way to express it, through painting and drawing. Enjoy your retirement!
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!
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
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!