No More New Year’s Resolutions

So how are those Resolutions working for you? By now have you fumbled, forgotten, or forsaken that 2018 miracle makeover? I’m all for self-improvement but after years of my own failed attempts I renounced the “R word,” replacing it with an Annual Theme practice that has changed my life.

Having a theme keeps me connected to the big picture while bringing purpose to my daily routines, influencing decisions and actions in almost mystical ways. Halfway through my second theme (Year of Celebration), while indulging in a whiny moment, I realized that complaining was inconsistent with celebration. It dawned on me there was something special about this practice but had no idea how right I was.

Each Winter Solstice I review the year (only good things) in my journal. By New Year’s Eve I’ve created my poster and made notes about what my theme means. This year, for the first time, I assembled a Vision Board for the intentions I usually write out.

Since 1995, each year’s theme has unfolded in its own surprising ways:
During my Year of Exploration (1997) I attended the Maui Writers Conference to explore my potential as a writer. One of the top agents in the country chose me as her client.

In 1998’s Year of Adventure I was back in Maui, named the Nonfiction Success Story of the Year after my agent garnered a huge advance for “Why Is Everyone So Cranky?”

2003, my Year of Reinvention brought change. After 30 years of owning, riding, and showing horses, I traded that lifestyle for the sport of disc golf. Quite by accident I added a new income stream (manuscript doctoring) that continues to this day.
2010, my Year of Finesse marked the end of a 35-year relationship. Getting dumped was tough and I renamed 2010 as the “Year of Fine Mess.” To my surprise I soon discovered (and am now living) the blissful, bountiful life I didn’t know I wanted.
2012, my Year of Radiance brought two dream trips of a lifetime, three weeks in Greece and Turkey and eight days of canoeing and camping on Isle Royale with my son. It was uncanny how many people told me I looked “radiant” that year, or that I “glowed.”

In case you’re wondering, I’ve documented every year’s unwinding, unexpected story. Are you intrigued? I still am! This practice is working for many of my friends and clients, too. By having a theme, an overreaching idea that influences your entire year, for once, time is on your side. I hope you’ll give it a try.

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Leslie Charles, CSP

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