The new year celebration just passed and I bet you are excited about sticking to your new year resolutions. You’re so so sure that this year is the year you will stick to them. And who knows, maybe you will. But most likely your resolve to stick it out will disappear by the time February rolls around and this year will be just like any other year.
According to U.S. News, 80% of resolutions fail.
And it’s no surprise. Our perfectionist culture does not breed a mindset for success. We believe that it’s either all or nothing when it comes to accomplishing our goals. So if we’re “bad” once, why continue to bother? Changing was hard anyways.
But what if you really are ready for a change and want this year to be different? How do you make sure you stick to resolutions?
Well, first stop making resolutions. It hasn’t worked in the past and it won’t work in the present. Instead, focus on creating actionable and attainable goals. But before you even start setting up your goals, come up with a theme for the year.
Why a Theme?
You may be asking why set up a theme? Why not just come up with some goals and work on achieving them? And my answer to you will be, that yes you can just slap together some goals and go for it. But what you’ll find is that your goals may not synergize and you will have a harder time accomplishing them.
Think of your theme as a mission statement. It is your grand desire for the year and you want all your goals to bring you closer to achieving your desire. It is the reason why you’re setting up these goals in the first place. Your “why” will then help you figure out the “what” and the “how”.
Just remember that we are human and life gets in the way. Life may make it very difficult for you to accomplish some specific goals. But if you have a theme, it will be easier to come up with some different achievable goals that will bring you to your overall goal.
How to create a Theme?
Creating a theme will take some minimal prep work and a lot of soul searching. You should get yourself a notebook or a journal, some pens, and a nice quiet space to concentrate.
Start first by evaluating your previous year.
- What went wrong, what went right?
- What did you achieve over the past year?
- What was the overarching theme of last year?
- Was it survive?
- Improve physical or mental health?
- Knock things off the bucket list?
- Fall in love?
- Make new connections?
What did you spend the most time and energy on last year? That was your year’s theme.
Your next step is to figure out whether you want to continue the same theme into this year or create a different one.
If you want to create a different one, what is something that you truly want to improve this year? And the most important question, are you actually willing to put in the work? Because if not, no theme or goal setting will bring success.
My theme of the year since the birth of my first son almost 4 years ago has been:
It was that simple. I just wanted to keep my head above water and survive his infancy, then my second pregnancy, the infancy of my second and toddlerhood of my first. I just wanted to survive, nothing more.
This year, though, my theme has changed.
This year, I want to: Achieve.
I’m ready to start conquering new heights and achieve goals beyond surviving. I want to learn more about the field of life coaching. I want to learn about integrative medicine as it relates to mental health. I want to grow my blog and start a virtual life coaching business. All of these steps fall under my theme of Achieve. And I can work on some things concurrently, which makes it easier.
And keep in mind that roadblocks may arise that will take you away from your goal but as long as you keep your theme in mind, you will be able to navigate back to where you need to be. Change is never easy. But when you can break it down in actionable and achievable steps, nothing is impossible.
And the most important lesson to remember about setting themes and goals, just because you’re not perfect doesn’t mean you’re not improving. If you misstep and do something contrary to your goal doesn’t mean all hope is lost. You can just get back on track whenever you’re ready. And the good part is that you will not be starting back at square one. Your hard work was not erased by your mistake.
So go on! Set a theme! Make some goals! Create a life you’re proud of one day at a time.
Maria is a mom of 2 active toddler boys and a mental health professional. Her passion is to help parents thrive in their new roles by becoming more empathetic towards themselves and their children. You can find information on child development, self-care, parenting, and motherhood on Parentonboard.com.
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