The year of differenter

Some people have new year’s resolutions. I have a different practice. (Or should I say, differenter?) I create a theme that I use to guide me as a somewhat fuzzy beacon through the year. And I choose one or two words to stamp on a disc which I wear on my wrist as a reminder to follow the theme.

Why? Because resolutions usually fail.

Resolutions are a binary practice (you either follow them or you don’t). A theme is easier to deploy. For example, if you set your theme for the year to be the year of “bravery,” you can remind yourself to be brave in any given situation. To point out the unsaid or the uncomfortable, damn the consequences. Or dive in and take charge when needed. Or maybe just try a new, exotic food. There’s no wrong answer. It’s just a guide. Like a beacon that lights your way, yet it doesn’t dictate the path.

This year I have chosen a made-up word to light my path through 2022: 


I define differenter as 1. adj. even more different than different. 2. noun. a person who does things differently, works against the status quo, and also makes a difference when possible. The past 24 months were less than perfect. 2021 was pretty much a bad xerox copy of 2020 with a government insurrection thrown in for good measure.

Let’s face it, we don’t just need a new year. We need one that’s differenter.

One reason I put this information in a blog post is that it’s always good for one’s colleagues and friends to know about the year’s theme, so I can be accountable to everyone around me. If I’m not acting the part of a differenter, I’m hoping people will point it out.

“Grant, that’s not very differenter…”

Side note: This practice was inspired by a unique and quite differenter management consultant and author, Dr. Jason Fox; you can read about it here. His course of this “Ritual of Becoming” is free this year. Check it out.

2022 is the seventh year I have adopted a theme to guide me through the year. Here are the themes I’ve chosen since the beginning of this practice.

2016 Rebel Scum (The rag-tag underdog good guys in Star Wars)
2017 Catalyst (To stimulate a change in others)
2018 Astronaut (To train for things no one has ever done)
2019 Invent Water (A pivotal year when I took a leap of faith off the diving board and invented water on the way down.)
2020 Chef (A chef is the spiritual and creative leader of the organization)
2021 Resistance (Only through heavy lifting can we become stronger.)

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