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Choose Your Theme

… and forget the New Year’s resolutions, which are likely already drifting towards oblivion, buried under mounds of to-do lists and ingrained habits. Which is just as well since the overall success rate on New Year’s resolutions is abysmal!

So, now that they’re out of the way it’s the perfect time to reflect on the year ahead and choose a theme.

Though this may have been the year you were (really, truly) going to … be more focused, less intense, have more fun, work harder, live a healthier lifestyle, whatever you were going to do more of, less of, or improve … resolutions rarely do the trick.

And that’s where the theme comes in. It gives you a structure on which to hang your actions, reactions, and mindset, the “magic” combination that creates the kind of change that lasts.

For years, I had a recurring New Year’s resolution (sounds a bit like a recurring stress dream!): “This year I will be more organized.”

People who know me now fall over laughing when I share that; they can’t believe it’s not my natural state of being. But in fact it doesn’t come naturally, and year after year I’d whip myself up in a frenzy of setting up systems and processes, vowing to keep my office organized and my desk clean. Despite my best intentions, by February the receipt for purchases made in Staples’ organizing aisle was the last vestige of that goal.

And then thirteen years ago, in one of those duh! moments, I realized organized wasn’t what I really cared about; it was wasting time looking for stuff, getting distracted by all the things on my desk and worrying I’d forgotten something.

My theme for that year became “flowing smooth and easy.”

I said it out loud every morning, stuck it on my monitor, and looked at what was really needed to keep things flowing smoothly and easily. There were still plenty of action steps to get there, but it was also a huge perspective shift, and that’s what made the change stick.

There are an infinite number of themes. Which one will make the biggest difference in your year?

Take time to reflect on the year just past and consider what you want for yourself this year. Choose a theme that paints a picture of your desired outcome. Write it down; say it daily, whatever will keep it top of mind for you.

It won’t take long for your actions and thoughts to align with your theme … and with the way you want to live your life.

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