I gave up New Year’s resolutions years ago – instead I set a theme for each year. A theme creates a sustained, focused effort in one area of my life – both personally and professionally – which I find to be more impactful. I not only get to work consistently at creating and building the change but with a year of effort there is a residual effect for lasting change.
There are 4 simple rules –
- State it simply so it can easily be kept front-of-mind.
- Tell others – put it out into the universe so opportunities are created
- Act – plan at least one activity per month – read a book, attend a class, complete a project
- Record the learning, the ah-ha moments, the serendipitous events and express gratitude for them.
Every theme has been successful – sometimes beyond my imagining. All have been an easy way to develop personally and professionally – there’s no big rush the fist week in January that quickly disipates into inaction. I schedule specific activities each month and look for the opportunities that tend to flow in when I tell others about my theme.
I no sooner decided on my theme for 2011 last week – to be more connected (to people) – when the universe, using www.TED.com as a vehicle sent a video stream from Brene Brown that hit at the core and made me realize I actually wanted to work at being more loving – a better sister, a better friend etc. What it looks like professionally is to be not just connected – goodness knows there are too many new ways to connect – but to more authentically connect to people who I want to care about and who want to care about me.
2010 was my year of calm abiding – I wanted to work on feeling more centered, to be more accepting and to be peaceful in my life. I picked that theme because I believe Ghandi’s words that you have to be the change you want to see in the world. It was my way of offsetting the pervasive fear and general unsettledness I was feeling from the world around me. As it sometimes happens, 2010 turned out to be a year of dramatic change for me. My whole life upside down – my honey and I decided to build a life together, which meant I had to sell my house and much of the contents, move to a new home in a new state and move my business to a professional office. It took considerable effort to stay centered and calm as everything around me changed. I learned that each time I stopped, took a breath and centered and calmed myself I felt healthier, stronger as well as more in control. That calm and peaceful place was full of energy and power. One of my last acts of the year was to buy a zen daily calendar for 2011.
I will plan some activities, I will share my theme with friends and others, there will undoubtably be some serrendipitous happenings that will shape the outcome but I know tha year from now I will feel more connected and more loving because when you practice anything every day mastery is the natural outcome.
Set aside resolutions that will probably fizzle out anyway. What one area would you most like to change this year? What is the first action you will take to start you down the road? The rest is just attention and awareness. You too might be amazed at how well this process works to create positive change in your life.