Tips with Trish: One Word

Dear Trish,

Now that we are well into the New Year and a few weeks into the semester, I’m ready to look at what I need to focus on personally this year. I’m not much for resolutions. It seems like my pattern is that I set them early on, and by mid-January, they’re a joke — or something that just makes me feel worse about myself when I don’t achieve them. Can you give me some ideas about realistic ways to help me work toward goals and feel like I have some direction for the year?


Need Direction


Trish says,

I agree, the whole New Year’s resolution thing is good in theory, but too often we aim high and are then disappointed with our lack of progress. It seems like many of us have a hard time following through with the list of habits that we’re trying to undo, and forget how long it took us to pick up those bad habits.  Oftentimes our downfall happens because our goals are too ambitious, too complicated, or too unrealistic. The guilt from not being able to reverse a bad habit often contributes to an even greater lack of motivation. The “One Word” philosophy experiment is designed to get you out of this cycle.

Here’s how it works. Pick one word that helps you narrow down your goals to a single focus. This provides clarity and makes the challenge more doable: not necessarily easier, but more simplified. Pick a word that describes a clear vision of the future you desire. Make it meaningful and attainable, so as to not set yourself up to fail. Picking one word makes it easy to remember as well. Put it on your computer screen or your iPhone wallpaper, your agenda, or your mirror so you see it every morning.

Some possible words? Consider these: Connection, Balance, Joy, Renew, Peace, Present, Growth, Accountability, Strength, Love, Forward, Mindfulness. Think about what might inspire you in the year ahead. Then, consider a few specific goals related to that word, and you’re on your way to a more positive and prosperous year.

Good luck!

Signed, Trish

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Tricia Borelli is the Director of Counseling Services at Loras College. In Tips with Trish, she will answer student questions concerning anything that relates to keeping it together while doing this crazy thing called college. Send questions or comments to Ms. Borelli, Loras Box 100, or to the e-mail address All names of those sending questions will be kept confidential.

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