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It’s almost the end of the year, which means that you’re probably thinking about all the things you’d like to change or goals you’d like to achieve next year. Maybe you’ve even started pin-pointing some resolutions you’re going to make?
What are you are thinking you might change?
- Is it finally time to shift that excess weight?
- Is it finally time to leave that job that devalues you?
- Is it finally time to get your finances in order?
- Is it finally time to meditate daily or ramp up your spiritual practice?
- Is it finally time to exercise more?
I use the word ‘finally’ because New Year’s resolutions are a lot like those promises you make to yourself when you go to bed each night.
- “Tomorrow” I’ll get up early and meditate.
- “Tomorrow” I’ll eat a healthy breakfast.
- “Tomorrow” I’ll go in and ask for a raise.
- “Tomorrow” I’ll change my spending habits.
- “Tomorrow” I’ll exercise first thing.
It wasn’t that long ago I had the stunning revelation that “tomorrow” is ALWAYS tomorrow – it’s a day that never comes! Ok, it may not seem that stunning to you but it stopped me cold. I got it. I finally got it, and heard little Yoda’s voice in my head saying
‘There is no TRY, only DO or not DO.”
Creating ‘Themes’ Instead Of Resolutions
So I stopped setting New Year’s resolutions.
I stopped goal-setting and putting pressure on myself to accomplish specific things in a specific time-frame and instead started thinking about my life along more general themes. Much broader and more open-ended than resolutions, themes allow for exploration and growth, and a meaningful journey through the upcoming year, rather than success or failure and nothing in between.
My first theme was ‘simplifying my life’
Over the months and years that I worked with that theme, I moved house twice, each time letting go of a lot of material goods I no longer needed or wanted.
But getting rid of furniture, clothing and knick-knacks was not the real benefit of working on my theme. Of course, on the surface, life did become simpler but this isn’t where the most important changes occurred. Because the process of simplifying life actually reverberated much deeper, into my work, relationships and the activities I chose to put my time and energy into. So I found myself letting go of relationships that weren’t fulfilling (not easy!) and refocused my work around a few key areas instead of trying to do everything that floated into my busy brain. I’m pretty certain that overall, my sense of health and well-being improved much more than it would have if I had set specific goals to that same end!
My next theme was ‘finishing what I start’
As a writer filled with the impulse to create, I struggle with staying with one project at a time long enough to get any one of them finished. So my next theme had to be about completion and for a couple of years, I carried that theme with me on a daily basis, through all areas of my life. It was under this theme that I finally got books into publishing, got my website into the hands of developers and also managed to complete some aspects of my legal business structure that I had put off for a while.
I also made a vital discovery. I figured out that my themes tended to span years and bring forth a lot of opportunity for growth, especially regarding the empowerment of choice. Instead of setting unattainable goals that were highly likely to be forgotten within a few months, I was making life-changing progress!
And I realized that the old themes still stay with me, even as I choose a new theme for the New Year. So I continue to simplify as I go and also keep the lessons in completing what I am working on before moving on to the next great idea.
My next theme was ‘I am enough’
That theme proved to be a real challenge and marked the first step on another journey. It brought me many opportunities for growth as I looked at all areas of my life through this lens of being ‘enough’. Over time I began to feel more confident and more at peace with all aspects of my life and I’m definitely no longer someone willing to allow other people’s expectations to define me. But it is still very much a theme in progress.
That theme led directly to another, which was ‘self-love – body, mind, spirit.’ So what did a theme of ‘self-love’ do for me? So glad you asked! With that theme in my head and heart, (and without a strict New Year’s diet to follow!) I released 40 excess pounds and got healthier on many levels, beyond only the physical (though for me, this was an important part of the plan). I focused on self-forgiveness and self-esteem and released a lot of unresolved emotion around past events.
And that theme has led to my theme for 2019 – ‘releasing the past’
This year I will work to align my thoughts, emotions, and actions with presence.
For me, as I believe it is for so many people, and maybe for you, it’s so easy to get stuck in the mind, ruminating over mistakes, poor choices and missed opportunities. Even though my head knows the past is over and done, it still creeps into my present and affects my actions and choices.
But not anymore!
How To Work With Themes For 2019
I invite you to join me in working with themes rather than setting resolutions this year.
First, begin your process of envisioning the life you want – the strengths, skills, and feelings that characterize the life you desire. Then choose a theme that will support it and help you to evoke the sensation of living your most cherished dreams. Let this be your motivation, but not a pressure not to fail!
Now live your life according to your theme and the improvements will be far beyond what any New Year’s resolutions could have predicted!
Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with love, light, and peace.