Did you fail to make any new year’s resolutions this year? Or do you already feel your resolutions fading? Do you feel as if an opportunity to grow and create a better life is slipping away? It’s not too late to make 2014 all that you hope for.
The fact is, resolutions just don’t work for many people–including me. So instead, I want to share a New Year’s practice that I’ve found helpful: creating a “theme” for the year.
Why create a theme for the year
Your theme is all about the way you want to BE and FEEL in the coming year. (Possible themes could be courage, gratitude, creativity, abundance, love, spirit, power, healing, persistence, clarity, laughter, ease, curiosity, respect, fun… and more.) Unlike a long list of unrelated resolutions, which is hard to remember, your theme connects all your goals by identifying one fundamental quality that will help you reach your goals. Once you have your theme, you commit to approaching each day and each action with that theme. Achieving your goals can flow naturally from that way of being.
Here’s my experience from the first time I used a new year’s theme: At the beginning of 2012, I was recently married and had just found out I was pregnant. I knew there were big things coming that year: finding, buying, and renovating a house; moving; transitioning from an intense corporate advertising job into self-employment; and of course, growing a baby, going through labor and birth, and becoming a mother. I knew it could be an incredibly stressful year. I also knew I didn’t just want to push through everything, straining myself and my health: I wanted to move through it easily and have it all flow. So “FLOW” became my theme for the year.
In everything I did, I stayed conscious of connecting to a state of flow and the belief that it all could flow. And, though I believe in this type of work, even I was surprised at the results. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by stress or overtaken by a never-ending to do list. I moved through all the transitions—and led a copy team in an advertising launch, finished a draft of a story collection, and launched a new website for my writing and coaching business. Though there was a tremendous amount to be done, and though there were difficult things to face (including a difficult, complicated labor and a postpartum period that was much tougher than I expected), through it all, I continued to feel a sense that I was flowing through my life, moving in a way that was aligned with my heart and supported by the universe and the people in my life. I hadn’t expected that this process could be so profound or effective, but it was. My theme connected me back to the fundamental flow I wanted to experience, and everything else flowed from that.
How to create your theme for the year
1. What’s missing?
Look at the different areas of your life (career/life purpose, money, health, romantic relationship, friends and family, personal growth/spirituality, play and fun, physical environment). Was anything unsatisfying or missing in those areas?
2. What do you want?
Now write down what you want in your life this year. What are your goals? Big or small—put it all down.
3. How do you want to feel and be?
Ask yourself: What quality do you need to activate in yourself to reach those goals? How would you like to feel as you move towards those goals? List all the words that describe how you want to feel and be in the coming year.
4. Choose a theme for the year
Now, look over your list (from #3). Choose one word that resonates with you and truly sums up how you want to be in the coming year. Say your word aloud. See how it feels. Close your eyes and imagine yourself moving through 2014 with that quality alive inside you. How does it feel? If it feels good, and if it feels right, that’s your theme! (If you want, send me a message letting me know your theme for 2014. I’d love to know! :-))
5. Live your theme!
Write your theme and pin it up where you can see it. Feel it in your body. If you want, you can dance it or create a vision board with images that evoke this theme. Most importantly, keep your theme in mind as you move through each day and moment—really try to embody this quality and live your life from this theme. Good luck, and may 2014 bring you all the blessings of the theme you choose.