Everyone knows that resolutions are kind of a joke. Like when we get up in the morning and tell ourselves, “Today I’ll _______” (exercise for two hours, eat only vegetables, organize the closet, donate a kidney). It’s a promise filled with good intentions… that we never seem to stick with.

Despite all the phony-baloney we tell ourselves, I actually love the coming of a new year. Several years ago, I read a book by John Maxwell where he talked about his New Years habit as a time where he pauses to reflect on where he’s been in the past year and where he’d like to go in the coming. To start, John writes a list of the best moments of the pervious year, the worst moments, and what he took from both. He continues by revisiting his major learning points, and ends by outlining what he’d like to build more of for the coming year.

I love this type of stuff. I could self-analyze all freaking day… especially when it involves strategic planning; my brain thinks all of this is the shit.

But I’ve found that all my graphs, charts, stream-of-thought writings, check-lists and goal sheets can be way too much to try and reference during busy days… so, like—always. It’s a pain to bring out my 20-page report of “The Future Life of Me” every day so I can reference what I’m working on now against my scientific, crayon-colored findings. (Did I mention that I love to color & draw when I’m doing this stuff? I usually end up making a giant game-board-like sketch of my ideas… but that’s another blog post.)

So rather than hold a meeting with the stakeholders (me) every day to discuss the state of the company, I’ve started summing up my coming year in as a one-word New Year mantra. (…Which is also travel-size, for your convenience. Unlike my 20-page report, no matter how cute the Lisa-Frank cover is.)

This is one word that I can repeat to myself over and over during the good times and the bad… During trying situations (my business coach calls these, “Character building moments) or phone calls with my mother (Yes, they are often one and the same).


My One Word New Year Mantra:

Is: Verge

Why verge? Because (1) it sounds cool—thank you Thesaurus.com—, and (2) it covers a lot ground for what I’d like to accomplish this year. Here are a few of the ways it relates to my 2016:

Verge = Boundaries: This year I’m very focused on creating healthy boundaries for myself as a writer and a person.

As a Writer: Anyone who’s ever stayed at home to work (kids included) has experienced the people who believe that your time is somehow less valuable then theirs… ‘cause, besides, all you’re doing is watching netflix and eating popcorn, right?

Since you’re not really doing anything, if I need you to meet the plumber, you should be more than happy to. If I want someone to pick me up from the mechanic, you should thank me for “getting you out of the house.” If I call you at noon, you should pick up your phone immediately. Etc, etc, etc.

My new rule: If you wouldn’t ask me/ expect me to do this while I was “at my office” then you shouldn’t be asking me to do this while I’m at my office—even if that office is in my bedroom and my “business suits” are fuzzy slippers and yoga pants. I am still at work.

Does this mean I tell everyone no? Of course not. There are always exceptions—and you can almost always tell when a person genuinely needs help or, conversely, when they are trying to “use you.” I listen to my gut on this and am learning how to say no.


As a Person: Verge (meaning boundaries) to me, personally, stands for the same over-stepping of others, but this time into my personal space. Areas this person is not allowed or not invited but think they are entitled to. No bueno.

… I’m working on this one. I’ll let you know how it goes (after I read the five books I just got on Amazon about personal boundaries).

Verge = Growth & Life: Verge also implies that I’m on the edge of something… something great. It encourages me to continue to stretch and reach for the place I want to be. It encourages me to keep writing, writing, writing.

Explore. Find. Push. Discover. Step forward… these are all emotional states that I associate with the word “Verge.” It causes me to be uber-focused in my pursuits… and it gets me excited, so super-bonus. It also sounds like a great thing to be chanting while on a yoga mat. (See how efficient I am with wearing yoga pants to the office?)


How to Come Up with Your One Word Mantra for New Year Resolutions:

Once again, Thesaurus.com is your friend. Start dreaming up ideas about what you’d like to see happen in this coming year. Ask yourself:


A Few Examples of One Word New Year Mantras:

So, get ready. Get set, and go, baby, go! There are 365 new possibilities heading your way right now—you’re on the verge of something great! A lot can happen in a year.

Crazy love,

– Olivia –

To give credit where credit is due, I stole this concept from these two people (both of whom are excellent sources of verging inspiration):



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