I think of resolutions as child’s play. Children make promises and commitments without thinking through their decisions. Many of us have experience with failed resolutions and, still, we think that THIS year things will be different.
New Year Theme
I like Themes, rather than resolutions. I think themes have more “bang.” You set an intention rather than a commitment. Instead of disappointing yourself when you break your commitment in a single (and now lost) moment, you have the year to change your thinking and behavior about a particular quality or characteristic that you would like to understand or demonstrate more fully. A theme is a filter through which you view your year.
A few years ago, my theme was “LOVE”. What did that mean? It’s not like I was UNloving. But as a theme, LOVE meant that I would set an intention to look at everything through the eyes of LOVE. I would replace judgment, scorn, and irritation with LOVE. I applied this to every aspect of my life: parenting, grandparenting, seeing clients, writing, being with friends, being with enemies… What area of life couldn’t use some more love?
A theme uplifts
The more I looked for love to understand the world, the more love there was, so I always want to make sure that my theme will uplift me. It’s not a punishment for my bad behavior, like such resolutions as, “I will stop smoking,” “I will stop eating candy,” or “I will st0p drinking so much.” Rather, it’s a chance to change the way we relate to our lives – we overlay a new template that colors how we want to see and interact with the world. It means I choose that quality as the focus for the year.
Over the years, I’ve chosen themes like, “Dream” (because I felt like I had forgotten how to dream big), “Giving and Receiving,” “Vulnerability,” “Radical Acceptance,” “Soar,” “Health,” and “Forgiveness.”
This year, I’m playing with a few similar themes. I find that I hear a theme in my head but it’s often not quite right and I spend days honing the word so that it’s resonates with where I am in life and where I want to be. This year I’m playing with words like, “Live consciously,” “Womanhood,” “Response-ability,” and “Reality.” None of them are quite right, but I’m sure the perfect word for the year will come to me in the next month.
You can also do daily or weekly themes
In How To Train Your Parents in 6 1/2 Days I talk about making theme cards. They can be pieces of paper, 3×5 cards, or you can just use an old deck of playing cards. That’s not the important part!
Check this out:
You write a theme for each card. Like some cards might have qualities written on them like Courage, Patience, Mercy, or Fun. Others might have a song title or lyric or a line or verse from a book, like “Walking on Sunshine,” “Love is Kind,” “Happy,” or “Fearless”. You can also use activities that are important to you, like Exercise, Laughter, Eat Healthy, or Pamper yourself.
Every day, you choose a theme for that day. It’s cool. Instead of worrying about EVERYTHING, you just get to focus on one thing per day.
Obviously, this works great for kids too – it’s a fun little game that brings newness to each day or week. The yearly theme can also teach perseverance, patience, and self-forgiveness. It can build executive functions such as planning, finding and correcting errors in judgment, and time management.
What do you think of resolutions? Do you do something else instead? And, if you chose a theme for the year, what would it be?
Just scroll down and share your thoughts in the comments section. I love, love, love hearing from you.
Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved
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