Recently I was having lunch with a couple of friends and we got to talking about our goals for the coming year. “Do you have any resolutions?,” I asked. The moment the question left my lips I realized how trivial it sounded. So, instead I told my friends about how this year I decided to choose a theme instead of resolutions, and how much more effective it was for me. I was eager to explain to them all the benefits of choosing a theme, and I could tell my advice was resonating. I put together this blog post in hopes to inspire a few more folks to choose a theme for the year and leave resolutions behind. I hope you enjoy, let’s get into it!
It’s that time of year when we begin to reflect on the year nearing its end and start making promises to ourselves about all the ways we will change in the year ahead. It’s the time for setting our New Year’s Resolutions…right?
Well, the thing about resolutions is that they often carry with them the weight of failure. Our intentions may be good, but the moment we lose sight of those resolutions we become guilt-ridden and usually give up on the goal altogether.
This year I am suggesting that you create a theme for your year in lieu of resolutions. Keep reading to find out why, and learn some tips about how to choose a theme of your own.
Resolutions tend to be specific while choosing a theme is more general.
Choosing an overarching theme allows it to take shape in various aspects of your life, versus one specific area. For example, your resolution might be to drink more water or join a gym. Those are great goals, but instead, you could make your theme for the year “Experience Health.” Choosing “Experience Health” as your theme could lead to much more than upping your water intake and joining that gym, you may also begin to consider other aspects of your health such as mental clarity and healthy relationships.
A theme continuously unfolds, while resolutions are a one-and-done.
Another benefit of choosing a general theme instead of a specific resolution is that open-ended ideas take longer to develop. Let’s say you choose “Go Slowly” as your theme. As the year progresses your theme may reveal itself in more ways than you intended. Perhaps you’ll take more time to self-reflect before making major decisions, or begin taking walks to clear your mind or develop a meditation practice in an effort to honor your theme of slowing down. The possibilities for your theme to manifest itself are endless.
Your theme can be your mantra.
In 2017 my theme was, “Year of the Follow Through.” I used this theme as my mantra when I found myself in a situation where I wanted to back down or give up. Follow through, I would say to myself. I knew I chose my theme for a reason and using it as a mantra helped me stay on track. It would be much harder to use “join a gym” as an everyday mantra. (lol!)
You can look back at the end of the year and reflect upon all the ways your theme took shape.
As mentioned, my theme for 2017 was “Year of the Follow Through.” As the year came to a close, I could look back and see all the ways in which my theme manifested. I followed through with starting this blog (woo!), and I followed through with making a major shift in careers (from nanny to substitute teacher). The career change had many steps to it…passing an exam, filling out applications, going on interviews, etc. all of which I was able to follow through with and complete within the year.
Both starting a blog and launching into a new career had been on my radar for quite some time, when I decided on my theme for 2017, I was able to commit to following through with these major goals. No resolution has ever proven to be as effective, in my experience.
Taking time to reflect on your theme at the end of the year is a very rewarding experience and can help you determine your new theme for the next year.
How to Choose your Theme:
Now that I’ve convinced you that choosing a theme for the year is more effective (and rewarding) than making resolutions, let’s talk about a few ways you can go about choosing a theme of your own for this coming year.
1. Write a list things you would like to see come to pass over the next year or areas in your life you would like to see improve. Once your list is done, look it over and see if there is a common thread. Allow that common thread to translate into your theme.
2. You could also get quiet, perhaps sit for a meditation (5 minutes is totally fine), and set the intention of seeing yourself having a rewarding year. What is your visualization? Do you see more money flowing into your experience? Maybe more meaningful relationships? Use these images to determine which theme you could choose in order to help your vision come to pass.
3. This next tip is very important: Always speak in the AFFIRMATIVE when choosing your theme. When we’re pondering changes we want to make, it comes naturally for us to speak about what we don’t want. Your theme will not be helpful if you focus on what you don’t want. Saying “I don’t want to be late,” is the same as projecting the energy of “lateness.” Instead, you may say “The Year of Arriving Early,” or “The Year of Perfect Timing”, for example.
Let’s do one more example just to be clear: When I asked a friend about something she wants to let go of next year, she replied with, “I don’t want to be afraid to be myself.” Such a beautiful goal, but in order to make it into her theme, it needs to be spoken in the affirmative. So, we played around with a few ideas until we came to a theme that felt comfortable for her: “The Year of Embracing Openness,” and her mantra can be “embrace openness.”
Be open to the many ways that your theme may manifest, and do use it often as your mantra so that you can remain focused on creating a beautiful year.
My theme for 2018 is “The Year of Diving Deeper.” I want to dive deeper into creating meaningful content here on the blog, deeper into my relationships, deeper into my health, and deeper into all the creative passions that bring me the most joy. Dive Deeper will be my mantra.
What will you choose as your theme? Did I convince you that choosing a theme is more valuable than making resolutions for the year?
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Thanks for reading! Let’s crush it this year.