Forget Resolutions! What’s Your THEME for 2013?
By Melissa Nickelson, personal life coach
Happy 2013! It’s a brand new year, and with that comes new resolutions, right? Yet, through the years, how many resolutions have you actually followed through on? How many times have you said (or heard) “lose weight,” “start exercising,” “stop smoking,” “save money?”
Instead of tossing out resolutions, I have learned that it works better to pick a theme for the year, then set up goals and actions around that theme. Take it one step at a time. Think of a staircase: you take it one stair at a time…until you get to the top.
So, what is your theme for 2013? Is this the breakout year for your business? Is this the year you’ll figure out (and make a plan for) what’s next? Get healthy? Put more balance back in your life? Have more fun? Get debt-free (or at least get half-way there)? Take better care of yourself? Be more responsible? Is it the year of gratitude, self-care, simplifying, the next chapter or letting go?
The idea is to pick something that isn’t simply a wish or a “should,” but something personal that YOU crave and are passionate about. Something you have decided to do and are willing to not only put the daily energy, discipline and passion into…but something you are ready to make happen in your life! If you want to change your behavior, it must be something you truly want, something that coincides with your heart’s desire. For example: exercise and get healthier is a popular theme. If you make this your theme in 2013, don’t do it because you think you should, but because you want to, you desire to exercise and make other healthy choices in place of current ones you may be making…and you are willing to make it happen in 2013!
I learned a long time ago, through my own experience and through working with my clients, that my new year’s theme is completely meaningless if I don’t really mean it…if I’m not committed to it…and if I don’t put real goals and accountability around it!
To turn my “theme” into real results that make me HAPPY, I have learned to follow these 4 steps:
Step 1: Decide Your Desire. Determining your new year theme is the first step. Sometimes, it’s easy to know what we desire. But if your theme doesn’t just “come to you,” or you have a dozen goals dancing in your head and have a difficult time focusing, you’re not alone! Talk with a trusted friend, mentor or coach. Take time for yourself to get still and write down your thoughts, goals and ideas. What do you crave the most? What is missing? Where are you the most unhappy? Where do you most want to see a change at the end of 2013? If you have several themes emerge, start with one. You can always add more as you go throughout the year or save them for next year. Right now, the key is to focus.
Step 2: Create a Plan. Next comes the practical side: creating a plan. When you create your plan, be realistic and be specific. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now. One piece of your plan may be research. Write that (and other steps) down – and give yourself a deadline for each. Break it all down into small steps. If your theme is “Have More Fun,” how are you going to do that? Realistically? Break it down into areas of your life – work, at home, weekends, family, entertainment, chores, vacations, etc. Taking a year-long vacation might accomplish your theme, but for most of us, that’s simply not realistic! More realistic steps may include: planning (and then taking) a vacation this year, listening to music you love while you work or do chores, purposefully watching more comedy shows or movies and making appointments for a weekly lunch, coffee or dinner with friends who make you laugh.
Step 3: Share with a Trusted Friend or Advisor. The third step is to share your theme and plan with a trusted friend or advisor. Choose someone that you know will be a champion of your theme! Speaking your desires out loud to someone you trust and who cheers you on has power — and they will help hold you accountable to yourself.
Step 4: Plan to Re-Plan. You know the saying about the best-laid plans…. Well, sometimes life seems to have a mind of its own. For example, you may decide THIS is the year you will get your financial house in order and become debt-free…and then you suddenly need an expensive home repair…or you splurge a little too much for your child’s birthday. Don’t get discouraged when life throws you a curve ball and/or you stumble. That is life, and you are human. All is NOT lost! Pick yourself up, realign your plan and start again!
May you be happy, healthy and blessed in 2013.
Choose to be Happy!