Do you remember 6 months ago when you went into reflection mode about the past year?
You thought about your wins, your challenges, your losses. You wanted to be better, do better, have more, have better. Right?
And then, because society told you it’s the next logical step, you put your pen to paper and wrote down some resolutions for the next 12 months.
OK, OK, so now I have another question: did you then proceed to make that new year resolution only to break it within the first month and then fly off the handle in the opposite direction of everything you were hoping to accomplish?
Ahem, I see you over there covering your face! You’re not alone! From personal experience, I can say that giving yourself a resolution for the new year is setting yourself up for failure. Been there, done that.
So here’s the prickly truth about resolutions– they don’t really work.
I know, I know! It sounds harsh. Truthfully, for some extremely disciplined individuals with tunnel vision, resolutions are totally achievable. I want to introduce you to themes, however, because they are positive reinforcements of the life we want to live, whereas resolutions tend to put us in a negative place and hold us to a certain standard of perfection that’s not actually realistic or healthy for that matter.
It’s Not the Goal, It’s The Feeling
Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map is so successful and resonates with hundreds of thousands of people, because she really hits the nail on the head. Often times you have a goal you’re going after, but it’s not the goal you want to set out to accomplish, it’s the feeling behind the goal.
This is exactly why I am a reformed resolutionist.
Instead of chasing after a resolution, something that is very finite, black and white, win or lose, I work with a “theme” for the year. I learned this through a fantastic master coach and mentor named Jeannine Yoder who delves deep into the world of themes (she’s incredible at it!). Themes are an authentic, meaningful, not to mention fun way to stay on track during the year. Why? Themes are often jam-packed with purpose and vision that motivate you to take action, though they themselves are not necessarily “actions.” It’s the soulful approach to setting higher standards for yourself in the new year.
The Differences Between Keeping A Resolution And Committing To A Theme
My theme for 2017 is simplicity. I go into more detail about it in another post. So let me hit with you some delightful nuggets of amazingness regarding my theme:
I cannot fail at this theme. Yes, you totally read that right. I cannot fail at this theme, as long as I know in my heart that I am striving for it everyday. I will have the opportunity to wake up every morning with my theme in mind and challenge myself to create that reality. Every. Single. Day.
It’s truly a one day at a time, wakeup-and-reset exercise in growth and development. My theme can manifest in several ways throughout my day and in several different areas of my life.
I chose simplicity, because I knew it would inevitably affect my relationships with others as well as myself, my physical, mental, and spiritual spaces, and personal and professional lives. My theme is something that informs ALL of my choices. It’s a beautiful way of staying aware and present, because I think about the choices I am able to make with simplicity in mind, multiple times a day. A resolution is usually one specific thing. ie. bikini body ready by summer, find a boyfriend, visit 12 countries
When I relied on resolutions to get me through the year, well first of all– I never got through the year, because once the resolution was broken, I felt broken. It was something I couldn’t undo, it happened and so I had failed. The guilt. The shame. The unrealistic expectation of perfection. And then, wouldn’t you know it, my drive for that goal suddenly hit rock bottom and I went in the opposite direction, because f*ck it, I already messed it up!
Transforming Your Resolutions Into Themes
So you might be reading this at any point during the year, like now (May) saying to yourself, “Ashley, I already have a resolution and it’s not working for me, but I really did want to accomplish that goal. What the hell do I do now?”
There is hope and your theme is going to make life really fun!
The biggest, most effective way to move from resolution to theme is:
- To think BIG – don’t think about how you can change one thing, but think about how you can transform your life
- To choose with only your greatest desires and values in mind – be true to yourself
- To think with your heart/intuition – how will you feel when your life starts taking on the shape of this theme
Instead of having a bikini bod by summer (and you know you ain’t steppin’ foot in a gym), perhaps focus on and challenge yourself with the theme of MOVEMENT.
Instead of giving yourself a looming and CRAZY deadline of 12 months to find a boyfriend, lead your intentions with the theme of PASSION or BEAUTY.
Maybe pass on a staggering 12 international trips in 12 months, and instead, put your energy into experiencing ADVENTURE.
With themes, you open yourself up to a world of possibility and personal growth, rather than pinning your happiness on one solitary thing. You can reset + refocus with a theme, and never, ever look back. The sky’s the limit. How badass is that?
Have you been struggling with a resolution or two this year? Let me know in the comments below.