Jagaul.com Digital Marketing Forget Resolutions; What’s Your Word for 2024?

Forget Resolutions; What’s Your Word for 2024?


Happy New Year.

Yup, it’s that time again. You open your favorite journaling book and write your intentions or resolutions. You dust off the gym membership card and try to remember exactly where the gym is. You start relearning the implications of all the diets — keto, Mediterranean, South Beach, paleo, raw food, macrobiotic — and conclude not one includes the kind of food you really want.

Or maybe you choose a word for the year. I can’t find where this idea started, but I’ve done it for the last two decades. I like it better than making resolutions because the word becomes a theme or intention rather than a set of rules I will likely break. It also sets a foundation for the intentions (or even goals) I write down when I break out my journal on New Year’s Day.

My word for 2024: Imagination.

I have a specific lens through which I’m looking at that word.

A world of pure imagination

One of my favorite songs is Pure Imagination from the movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. As a musician, I could write a thesis on why this song might be the most beautiful ever written. The way the song incorporates seventh chords and changes in Lydian scale is masterful. But I digress.

I want to call attention to the lyrics. The chorus captures exactly what my 2024 word of imagination means:

         “If you want to view paradise
        Simply look around and view it
         Anything you want to, do it
         Want to change the world?
         There’s nothing to it”

People often define being imaginative as coming up with something inventive or original. You’re being imaginative if you “think outside the box” or conjure an original story, song, or new product.

In this regard, imagination becomes an activity, something you do when you need to create something — output. The activity involves the time and headspace for imagining that output.

But the Willy Wonka song assigns imagination a different – and deeper – meaning. It sees a world that is your creation (no matter what it is). It encourages you to go there and see the world around you as you want to see it. If you can do that, well, then there’s nothing you can’t change to make it real.

The song sees imagination as a state of mind, a way of seeing the world. If you can imagine it, you can bring others into your world because, as the song concludes:

“There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination
Living there, you’ll be free
If you truly wish to be”

Seeing 2024 through imagination

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am not sad 2023 is gone. My word for last year was balance. Interestingly, I feel like I lived up to it. I strived not to force things in my life — to allow for more elegant solutions to complex challenges and bring a different intention to balancing my work and life.

Some years end with what seems like quality work and perhaps a full bank account to show for it. But to get there, you constantly reacted, pushed, forced, and tried to balance against what best practices told you to do. You sweated your way to that destination. You became the living embodiment of a mantra I hate: “No pain, no gain.”

That lets the world see you instead of you seeing the world.

I chatted with a friend last month who spent the year as a new leader at an amazing nonprofit, the kind of organization that makes you feel a deep gratitude that there are people who can do the kind of work he does. It’s complex, deeply emotional, and highly needed work.

He had an incredible year, both in the meaning of his work and financially. I asked him how he did it, especially in his first year. He attributed it to his naïveté coming into the job. Not knowing what could and couldn’t be done enabled him to ask all the “dumb” questions. In turn, he could see that world in a new way and make innovative changes that led to their success.

He saw a world of pure imagination.

Come with me

2024 is a new adventure — and for me — an opportunity to see the world in a different way. Imagination.

Why does that word resonate so much?

At the end of the original Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory movie, Charlie, his grandfather, and Wonka ride the magic elevator, flying over the countryside. Wonka has just told Charlie he’s giving him the chocolate factory.

Then, Wonka throws a warning. He smiles and says, “But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the person who suddenly got everything they ever wanted.” Charlie replies, “What happened?” And Wonka says, “He lived happily ever after.”

Happy New Year. I wish you the best of 2024 and a world of pure imagination.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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