I’ve chosen this one word to guide me like a (fuzzy) beacon through the coming new year. Here’s why it’s better than a resolution.

Resistance is the act of pushing against something, literally and figuratively, to get stronger. One can do resistance training and build muscle in the gym. One can resist the urge to slow down and take it easy. One can resist a slice of pie. It’s difficult. But it can be done. (I have heard.)

One does not always have to say no to pie. But sometimes one does.

In WWII or the Star Wars movies, the Resistance is the rag-tag group fighting against an evil regime for what is good and right. The Borg, of Star Trek fame, says “resistance is futile,” and yet the good guys resist anyway. And they eventually win.

Resistance is a virtue. Pushing back, when it’s required, can be a good thing to do.

With the incredibly awful year we just had, I needed a powerful word to act as my guide for the coming twelve months. When I chose the word, “Chef” last December, I had no idea that COVID was coming. Nor did I fully understand how rancorous or crazy national politics might become. (local politics was bad enough.) In hindsight, I wish I had chosen “Hunker” or “Endure.”

Or “Resistance.”

Resistance: Not futile. Assimilate that.

I have chosen a new word (or two) each year for the past six. Here’s the rundown.

2016 Rebel Scum
2017 Catalyst
2018 Astronaut
2019 Invent Water
2020 Chef

Each word or phrase has a special meaning to me. (I’ve written about this practice each year since the beginning if you want to click the links above and learn more.) I do this instead of making new year’s resolutions, which I find somewhat limiting and difficult to manage. Resolutions always get broken. A word that acts as a guide for the actions and decisions of the next 12 months is both easier to do and more effective. It’s about intentions. Not empty promises. When faced with a decision, large or small, I only need to ask myself, “Is this what one would do in the Year of Resistance?” If I forget, I have it conveniently stamped on the metal disk pictured below which is tied around my wrist, as a reminder.

I got my word stamped on this black anodized washer from myintent.org. It’s not expensive.

For me, 2021 will be a year of lifting weights, resisting the easy path, saying no to flour and sugar, and fighting the good fight. And it starts with one word.

Try it. And happy new year to you!

NOTE: If you want to learn more about this practice of choosing one word, Dr. Jason Fox is the expert. I got the idea from reading his books and web pages. They are excellent. Special thanks to the a-maze-ing Lorna Dollery for providing the plan and accountability to make my physical resistance a reality.

Grant Sanders is a father, husband, dog trainer, short-order cook, cold-weather swimmer, electric piano restorer, jump rope enthusiast, podcaster, ad industry veteran, and the founder/lead of SAND. Which, it so happens, follows an interesting creative and strategic agency model that can expand and contract to meet the needs of the clients we serve. It’s built to work speedily and is tailor-made for a global viral apocalypse, strangely.

Essays on the creative process from Grant Sanders. Creative astronaut. Art and copy switch-hitter. Brand strategist. Client confidant. Founder, SAND.

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