Instead of NY Resolutions, Pick a "Theme"

This is the time of year that the world is full of either encouragement to make ambitious new years resolutions or cynics who decry the whole notion. The idea of using the new year to set ambitions for your future is a good one so, we're not going to take the cynical route. However, typical resolutions don't seem to have the power to help most people to change their lives so, I use a different method that has worked for me - "themes".

The traditional idea of resolutions usually involves picking a few areas (money, health and relationships is popular) and setting a specific goal; double your income, lose 20 pounds and fall in love. The first point I would make is not to make resolutions that depend on someone else for their success - relationship goals. And while the other two meet the usual advice of being specific, they typically aren't achieved by most people.

The reason is that most ambitions are typically more complicated to achieve than they seem. For example, people can be overweight for a variety of reasons and losing it can require an approach that deals with many issues. When someone makes a seemingly simple resolution that immediately becomes more complex than they expected, the whole goal is usually dropped.

I have found that picking a "theme" for the year has worked better for me. I choose something general I want to work on, know more about and improve on and then let it guide me through the whole year - my goal is to have become better on this theme in some way and to integrate this new understanding into the way I operate for the rest of my life.

For example, one year I chose "money" as a theme, another year I chose "networking". I knew I wanted to improve in those areas but I didn't know how or what it would look like so, I kept my mind open but focussed on the theme for the whole year. For the year of networking I just made sure I would be receptive to invitations, observant of what happened when I attended meetings with people and made sure to follow-up the connections I made. By the end of the year, I had expanded my network of contacts, improved my skills, noticed opportunities, and really learned the value of connecting with people. This is something I will keep doing for the rest of my life. 

In the run-up to the new year I keep my mind open to the theme for the coming year - something I am weak at, struggled with during the current year, or hope for myself. It may be obvious or it may take a few weeks to settle on something that seems important enough to be the theme for a whole year. But, a theme will present itself. Then, I just allow the theme to guide me in a general sense. 

Try this instead of NY resolutions. If you're committed to your personal development I think it will work for you. Listen to the radio interview about this topic here. 

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