The dawn of a New Year is really just such an exciting time, isn’t it? I love the introspective nature of the holidays. Although a busy time of year with prepping, shopping, cooking and getting to and fro the various holiday get-togethers, I always make time to find the quiet moment(s) to reflect on and be grateful for the blessings of the past year, to celebrate achievements and/or challenges overcome and to focus awareness on the growth and self-knowledge that comes only with the passage of time. Being a sentimental sort, reflection is bittersweet; the weight of magical moments slipping through your hands so quickly, all over again. As if they hadn’t already passed too quickly the first time! And, I’m always amazed at how much can happen in a year, planned either by you or the powers that be; how wonderful the unexpected can be…
Like many of us around this time of year, as I reflect I also begin to look ahead. In the past, I would set aside some time a few days before NYE and create my list my resolutions… and then shortly thereafter the anxiety would set in, lol. I loved the reflection part and, by default as a pretty enthusiastic person, I enjoy the excitement and hopefulness that accompanied the thought of a fresh new start. But, when it came to the question “what are your resolutions”? I. Struggled. I could list a few aspirations and goals but how could I possibly predict or plan what would evolve over the next year? What if I changed my mind? I found myself reluctant to be accountable for promises made in a moment of clean-slate-inspiration that felt more like year-long to-do list that I wasn’t sure I could follow through on. “After all”, I would say to myself, “isn’t it all about being open and “bending like the willow””? Life can surprise you and take you down a completely differently path at any given time and in ways you could never anticipate, plan for, or resolve to create. To me, it just didn’t make sense to become attached to resolutions that didn’t account for destiny or may no longer resonate with who I evolve to be throughout the year, leaving me with an inventory of abandoned, un-checked wishes that I would inevitably agonize over not having completed.
*sigh, this is classic me- Over. Thinker. But, as much as I tend to overanalyse, I do get it. It’s not about being buried under the pressure of expectation of some yearlong to-do list that gets created in January, it’s about reminding yourself of your priorities and setting goals to get where you want to go; a little structure that spawns momentum. I just needed my own unique approach to resolutions that felt a little more flexible and comfortable- something a little more “me”. Now that I’ve found it, I wanted to share.
I’ve found that the vision for the year ahead will emerge organically when you focus on the important aspects of your life; what you value the most comes from within and what comes from within is a powerful guide. Rather than resolutions, I’ve adopted a new approach which revolves around themes. Its simple- I start by getting into my cozies, find a quiet spot with a glass of wine or cup of tea and focus on the thoughts and feelings that come up as I remind myself of what I value most and the lessons I’ve learned over the past year that I wish to carry forward. I do jot down a few items that are important to me- things I want to do, places I’d like to go. Then, I capture these things, and other inspiring quotes and words visually in a collage (I love using Pinterest). As I do this, common themes starts to emerge and as they do, I do a gut check on each one as I narrow down “the one” that becomes my personal guiding light of intention, applicable to whatever might develop of the next year. Examples of themes are things like, “enterprising”, “grace”, “love”, “serenity”, “adventure”…whatever means the most to you. Whatever you’d like to feel (more of, or for the first time), be or make more prominent in your life.
I remind myself of my theme often by incorporating it into my day-to-day; I change my commonly used passwords to my theme word, make it my screen saver on my computer, set a reminder in my calendar each month to revisit my Pinterest collage, tag theme-related Facebook and Instragram photos with a theme hashtag as well as keep a journal about the opportunities in my world to apply my theme,- the ones I seize and the ones I miss, noting how each felt, respectively.
So, if you’re like me and you’ve been challenged by the same-old resolution-making approach, I hope you’ll give creating a theme a try; I’ve had a ton of fun creating mine over the past few years and have enjoyed the flexible and inspired beginning to the year that it supports and I hope you will too.
Wishing you all the best for a happy, prosperous New Year full of light and love.