Friday, January 16, 2009

A New Way to Set New Year's Resolutions

This time of year we are always so focused on creating resolutions and goals for the year. It’s a great idea, but can also feel daunting. The numbers for success of sticking to New Year's resolutions are not promising.

According to a survey of 2,256 adults, most adults say they have made a New Year's resolution in the past, but only 17% say they typically follow through (BTW, only 12% of women say they always or often keep a resolution compared to the 22% of men who do).

So here's a different approach to consider.

First, create a year theme instead of resolutions.

I have a client who declared last year The Year of Herself (she inserted her name). The year was spent getting to know herself again, clarifying what she liked and didn't like in her life, and making both personal and professional choices that better aligned with who she really is. This year she’s decided to make it The Year of Action.

Last year I declared it The Year of Growth (and a year of growth it was!). This year I have chosen my theme as The Year of Connection.

Instead of setting the resolution to loose weight, why not declare it The Year of Health and Well-being? If you are thinking about setting the resolution to get out of debt, how about choosing the theme The Year of Freedom and Security?

Next, instead of setting goals for the entire year, think about how you would need to BE and what you want to DO within the next three months, one month, week or even day in order to live that theme.

I suggest you even start each morning by asking yourself (and listing) what you feel inspired to do that day to live your theme.

When something is not feeling quite right, you are dealing with a challenge or having a bad day, simply stop and ask yourself whether you are living your theme in that moment.

If not, make a choice to realign.

As I said before, my theme is The Year of Connection. Each day I intend to ask myself how I plan to connect that day—with myself, my family, my clients, my friends, people I meet around town, potential business partners, etc. When I start getting too focused on just getting the baths done, or feeling like I “should” return my mother’s phone call, or focusing on the idea of selling myself at a networking event (which doesn't feel good), I can reconnect to my intention of connecting. What a difference that will make.

The bath becomes an opportunity to connect with my children. The phone call becomes an opportunity to connect with my mom (but I’ll choose to call at a time that feels good to me). The networking event becomes an opportunity to connect with other interesting people and learn about their lives.

Now it’s your turn.

What’s your theme for the year? Please share!

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