Forget New Year Resolutions. Start Theme for the Year!

Be different!  Forget New Year Resolutions, Start a Theme for the Year.

New Year brings about new and exciting opportunities as well as challenges.  For most of us we look forward to a new year mainly because we want to get over the “bad” parts of the past year and we can start with a “clean” slate of sort.  We are motivated to have new year resolutions or goals to kick start the year.  Probably because it’s what everyone is doing or talking about. We desire to change old habits, create new habits, accomplish new goals, right the mistakes of past and generally to create a Me.2.

Then we read articles on how by the 12th day of January, most people’s new year resolution would have failed and by March, its long forgotten and nothing has changed, we get discouraged even before we truly start.  Maybe its time for a different strategy. 

A new strategy would be to start creating a theme for the year.  Start it after the 12th January 2020 just to be different from the majority of the people.  Instead of starting with a goal or resolution, create a theme for the year.  A theme is a broader umbrella for what you truly want to see and experience.  A goal is very helpful to keep you laser focus but a theme will help you view what you want to accomplish in a broader and sometimes unexpected context.

For example, a theme like Optimize.  This theme can and will encompass a whole range of areas in your life.  It could be how best to optimize the time that you have in a day.  It could be what’s the best method of optimizing a certain task.  It could even be how to optimize your resources such as energy or money.  A theme will help you expand your thought process and provide you with the flexibility that will keep you going because it is not confined to one area.  You can adapt the theme to your circumstances and as the year progresses, you are able to mix and match what works for you.

Once you have established a theme for the year and for the purposes of this write-up, its “Optimize”, you can then decide that maybe for the month of January, you will explore how best to optimize your finances.  What is the best investment strategy for you?  What is the best savings plan that you need to have in place?  How do I optimize my income?  The list goes on.  The focus will be optimizing what you have.  You can break it down by month or category or whatever area that you want to make the initial change.  The main idea is not to overwhelm yourself with a series of goals but to tackle one area at a time based on a focus theme.

You can literally put into action and create new habits one act at a time based on the theme for the year.  To put into practice the theme, you can decide how it is to be embedded into whatever that you are doing.  For example, if you are already exercising 30mins a day, think about how best to optimize that 30mins of exercise, maybe its adding a little more strength work in between or exercise in a fasted state to optimize fat loss.  With practice, your mindset will change to filter what you think and do through the theme filter. Your habits can be optimized or modified based on a small change in how your think and act.

I have personally been practicing this for the last 3 years and I have found it to be life changing.  Life changing because:

  1. I don’t feel guilty or as a failure if I do achieve a “goal”.  That is the freedom and the advantage of this.  I have the freedom to implement the theme as I go along and change the actions incrementally.  I can then creates specific goals if I choose to.
  2. Intentional practice and application. I choose to incorporate the theme consciously and intentionally.  I become more intentional with what I do, and my mindset is always thinking about what I could do differently depending on the theme of the year. Questions such as “How could I optimise this situation?” “What areas do I need to optimise?”.
  3. It’s a growth vs. goal-oriented mindset.  A theme should challenge you to always be looking for new ways to incorporate it and a natural byproduct of that is a growth mindset.  You will want to learn more about how to “optimize”.  You will focus your learning and reading materials around the theme of the year.  It helps to focus you without hemming you in a set series of goals.
  4. Expansive vs. Limiting.  The theme applies to any and every area of your life not just in one area that you have set.  You can incorporate it in your attitude, behavior, habits, perspective and mindset.  It is not solely based on your actions. 
  5. Experiment and test the boundaries.  The theme is as big or small as you want it to be.  You can start small and as your confidence grows, expand the boundaries.

The theme I had in 2019 was “Overcoming Limiting Belief”.  The theme has helped me to take on challenges that I would normally have passed up. It has allowed me the freedom to try new things which my previous limiting belief stronghold would have said “No. You are not artistic and therefore cannot paint.” Not only did I take up watercolor painting but discovered that I enjoy it and am pretty decent with it.  I have learned new skills and taken up new challenges because my mindset was centered around that theme.  Everything and every time I thought of saying No, I would think about my theme and then decide to just give it go as I am on this journey of overcoming my limiting belief. 

For me personally, I have grown and learned and accomplished a lot more than I would have otherwise.  Give it go.  What have you got to lose?


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