I am not a fan of resolutions.
They’re well-intended, but they don’t seem to last. We need something to anchor and guide us, to help us be our best.
Having a theme for the year is what works for me. It’s more inspirational.
The thing about resolutions is they set external targets. They are prescriptive, telling you what to do. While there is a certain power to their concrete and tangible character, they seldom stick because they lack inspiration.
Themes don’t expire, they inspire. They tap into our creativity and curiosity, rather than our willpower. They engage us instead of dictating to us. That’s why a theme lasts longer.
Review Your Year for the Pivotal Moments
That’s the simple lens I use to review my past year, reflecting on events, accomplishments and moments.
Try it… Write down your “yahoo” moments of 2018. What are you proud of? What brought you joy? Maybe you’ll think of positive steps taking care of your health; quality time with cherished friends; redesigning your website or reorganizing the basement.
Now your “boohoos.” What tough things happened? Jot down whatever triggered your disappointments or sense of loss or shortcoming in the last year.
What sparked an “aha”? What did you learn? What truth were you reminded of?
Review your list. Say thank you to 2018 for the yahoos, the boohoos, the ahas. Feel your gratitude for all you learned.
Now crumple it, toss it out, and say goodbye to 2018.
A Theme to Inspire Your New Year
To figure out your theme, take a fresh piece of paper and write on top: “What Is Next.”
Jot down what comes to your mind and heart.
- What do I want my life/career/work to feel like in 2019?
- What do I want more of? Less of?
- What fires me up, makes me feel more alive?
- What scares me?
- What are the challenges in 2019?
- What do I want to focus on for the next year?
Noodle on these questions…. Instead of trying to figure out the answers, linger with the questions.
While you linger, drop your attention to your heart. Drop your attention to your breath. Don’t force it, see what comes.
As words, images or ideas surface, a theme might reveal itself. Sometimes it pops right out, other times it emerges as you noodle. Pay attention to what makes you sparkle, what inspires you.
Once you’ve got a theme in sight, take it out for a test drive. Live with it for a week or two. Does it resonate? Does it spark more questions? Revise and reiterate until it resonates, and let it guide and inspire you as the year unfolds.