An Alternative to The New Year Resolution

Now is the accepted time to make your annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.    – Mark Twain

I have never been a fan of the New Year’s resolutions.

They seem like societal peer pressure.  We do it because all the cool kids are doing it.  And 88% fail anyway.  While that is a statistic that means nothing unless it’s about your resolutions, who wants to start a brand new year with the overwhelming odds of failure.  It’s kind of sadistic.

What I am a fan of is new beginnings.

New Years is a great milestone for that.  So is the beginning of a season, the start of the school year, or the day that you decide you’ve had enough!

I am also a fan of self-development (um…duh…have you seen my cool new blog? www.aseriallife.com?).

Self-development happens holistically. Click To Tweet

I believe that self-development happens holistically.  If we focus solely on one area of our life we can make the mistake of neglecting what was previously working for us.  Who has a health goal that doesn’t affect business goal?  Or a business goal that doesn’t affect relationships?  Or a relationship that doesn’t affect our long term goals?  It’s all interconnected, isn’t it?

If we look at all the goals we have in the many different areas of our lives-financial, health, personal growth, professional, relationship, etc- it could quickly become overwhelming.  When most people become overwhelmed we shut down.  When we shut down we contribute to the 88% failure rate.

Find a Theme Instead

If you look closely at your collective goals (I am assuming, of course, that you have goals) you can usually see an overall pattern or direction that your life is headed.  If you put a name to it (you can call it a theme or a mantra or a purpose) you now have a way to channel your intentions.  A simple theme is easy to remember, it can be posted in key places as a reminder, and it removes complications.  It fits your whole life so while you go about living that life and meeting the individual goals in different areas of your life, you can ask yourself,  “Is what I am doing supporting my theme?”. Or in other words, “Is this going to help me get what I want?”

Some Examples

I want to show you why I am a fan and why it works for me.

I am a multipotentialite  who has been known to be very aggressive with her goals and sometimes over analyzing of my life (my mom’s voice is ringing in my ears telling me to chill right now).  My theme reigns me in a bit and keeps me on track to where I want to go.  

In 2016 my theme was *Re-imagine.*Reorganize.*Rebuild (yes, three words, I told you I could be aggressive in my goals).  I wanted to make some dramatic changes with my life across the board.  I wanted to blend careers and make adjustments in my professional life.  I wanted to deepen my relationships with the people I loved.  I had to accommodate the changes of a new life phase (adult children, empty nest, blah, blah, blah).  I had to reconfigure my budget to focus more on retirement and less on children (see previous comment).  I had to focus on new health issues.  My theme covered all of that!

With all that in mind, I accomplished a lot of my goals.  I started this blog.  I rearranged my professional life, I put time and effort in to building relationships , I upped my contributions to my (our- The Mister is included on this one) retirement account.  I stabilized and increased the amount of sleep that I got and upped my vegetable intake.

The beauty of it is that all areas of my life improved, some more than others but the best part is that there was no failure.  Not like if I had those crazy resolutions.

Both of my Angels, after years of fighting the Mama’s advice (Isn’t the Mama always right? Lol), decided to come up with a theme and they picked the same one for solidarity and accountability purposes.  After graduating and spending some time bouncing around a little like typical young adults, they decided the last half of the year would focus on *Blossoming*.  As in blossoming into adulthood.  This means something a little different to each one but they are both seeing progress. It works at whatever stage you are in life.

2017 will be the year of *Honing* for me.  All the work I did in 2016 is going to be honed and refined so that I can maximize all those hard changes I made.

Advantages of a Theme

  • It is easy to remember in every part of your life
  • it doesn’t require you to be perfect
  • It is hard to fail
  • It’s a positive motivator
  • it’s flexible- you can start a new theme at any time you see fit, it doesn’t have to wait til the next January 1st

How to Find and Use Your Theme

  • List all the goals for every part of your life
  • Try not to pass out when you see that list
  • Examine the goals and discern what direction you trying to go in
  • Identify a word or a phrase that embodies your direction
  • Display that word- your theme- everywhere; your notebook, your corkboard, your whiteboard, your bathroom mirror, etc.
  • Repeat your theme as a reminder when things do not go according to plan and again when they do.
  • Repeat your theme to yourself as you make decisions
  • Repeat it to yourself as often as needed to keep your head in the game.

Do you think a theme might be more valuable to you than a resolution?  Do you have a theme picked out?

Photo Credit: gjuro_faker

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