Resolutions make you anxious? Try this instead.

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“The dictionary is the only place success comes before work” – Mark Twain

Happy New Year!  It’s the time of the year when gyms get packed (at least for the first few months), we are inspired to organize our living spaces, and we may even make some resolutions.

I am not one to make resolutions, as I know most of the time I can’t keep them.  I choose to set intentions for the new year, which is the easy part.  It is keeping them front of mind and acting on them that is difficult.  So this year I am going to start by setting a theme, an idea I got from the article below.  There are a lot of questions to answer, but I believe they will help me formulate an action plan for this year’s intentions.  In future blogs I will share my journey through this process.  Holding myself accountable is fairly easy, but knowing that others will see my progress is very motivating!

I hope you will spend some time setting a theme for your year by answering the questions below, creating an action plan, and WRITING IT DOWN.  I also like the idea in the article of creating a ritual to keep your theme alive.  For me this usually involves creating a short mantra that is easy for me to remember, that I add to my daily mantras and intention setting.  It could also be keeping a journal, carrying your theme on a piece of paper in your purse or wallet or hanging a note on the fridge.  The important thing is that you keep it ALIVE.  If this sounds like a lot of work, it is.  But as Mr. Twain told us, you have to do the work if you want the success.

I think the overall theme for this project is SUCCESS.  I want it for everyone, and I hope the article below gives you the starting point to achieve yours.

Many books and posts will tell you what new year’s goals to set, or what to skip because they don’t work. Before setting, resetting, or trashing your goals, complete these 5 steps to set a Focus or Theme for the year to ensure what you choose to do fulfills you.

You can use your Annual Theme as a guiding light if you get lost along the way. The rest of the year, review your Theme to help you make decisions or to return to your purposeful and satisfying path.

Step #1. Learn from the Past Year

Start by assessing the past year. Answer some or all the questions to determine how you spent your time and how you now feel about your choices.
1.When were you able to use your best talents, skills, and gifts? What were you doing? How did you feel?
2.What did you realize you were good at that you didn’t know or claim before now?
3.How did you grow? What do you know now that you didn’t know last year?
4.What did you do that gave your life meaning? How much time did you spend in that zone?
5.When did you avoid doing something uncomfortable even though you now know you should have spoken up or acted?
6.What did you put off that you wished you had spent more time on?

Review your answers. Note what you want to do more and less of next year.

Step #2. Clearly See the Present

It is hard to objectively evaluate your current life on your own. Consider exploring these questions with a coach or trusted friend who will challenge you to expand your thinking.
1.What impact are you making? Is this enough for you right now?
2.What do believe created your present circumstances? What wisdom has life given you?
3.What used to bring you joy but now, the energy is disappearing?
4.What are you clinging to that defines you but it is now time to let go of?
5.If you cleared away obligations that feel like a burden, what would you do instead?

It is okay to be unhappy with parts of your life. Feelings like regret, envy, and sadness can help you articulate what you yearn to create. Clearly seeing the present will help you determine what you feel is best for you to focus on next.

Step #3. Declare What Lights You Up

Review your answers to the previous sections before answering these questions:
1.If you had the opportunity to fully express your talents, what could you accomplish?
2.What do you dare dream of doing? What do you long to create?
3.Is there something you are called to do but thought you couldn’t?
4.What inside of you wants to be heard or unleashed? If you listened to this longing, what would you know you had to do?

NOW – DECLARE YOUR THEME FOR THE YEAR. What word, phrase or sentence defines what you want to focus on? What phrase inspires you to say “yes” even if the path isn’t clear?…

You might choose one word, like Courage, or an action, like Leading and Writing to Inspire, or a frame of mind, like Choosing to Love and Laugh…

Step #4. Clean Up the Path

To follow your Theme, you must leave some things behind. When looking at your past, what can you let go of or at least, spend less time doing? Find ways to release what drains your energy and diverts you from your Theme to allow the chance for your higher contribution to take form.

1.To step into your profound potential, what must you leave behind?
2.What can you say “no” to now?
3.What old promises you made to yourself can you now release? Crossing things off your list gives you more energy to spend on what is important now.

The more developed your expertise and career is, the harder it will be to re-create yourself. It’s also difficult to envision acting on something new when you have bills to pay. Set your direction anyway. The years go by quickly. Imagine your perfect day one, two, or five years from now where you are doing and feeling what you most want.

Step #5. Commit to Your Theme

The final question is – how can you ensure your commitment to living your chosen life? To begin his day on the right foot, Benjamin Franklin answered the question in his Virtue Journal, “What good shall I do this day?” In the evening, he would ask himself: “What good have I done today?” Can you create a ritual to keep your Theme front of mind throughout the year?

From here, you might set goals, or you might write yourself notes to help you remember what is important. You might find friends, a mastermind group, or a coach to support you.

Plan ways to remember your intentions so next year, answering these questions will be easier.


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