Forget Resolutions - Craft A Life Theme That Works

How many people do you know who, in January, enthusiastically name their resolution for the year yet somehow neglect to follow through with it a few weeks or months later? Forget making New Year's resolutions. They rarely work because they are often based on "shoulds" versus the bigger picture of your life. What I've found does work is creating a life theme for the year ahead.
Your life theme will be your overriding intention or "big picture" focus for the upcoming months. It has an expiration date of December 31, when you'll get a chance to re-evaluate your direction. Having a life theme is like having a personal mission statement for your whole life, personal and professional, updated annually. A life theme works because it takes into consideration and connects all your intentions for the year in a succinct and powerful phrase. This collection of one to five words describes what you want to accomplish in all areas of your life and cements your main priorities with intended action.

Discover Your Intentions
Perhaps as you've explored who you are and what you want to create for your life, you've noticed that "Wellbeing" or "Wellness" has come up for you over and over. Or perhaps you've noticed more of a "Relationship" theme. Or maybe the word "Passion" has tugged at your heart repeatedly, or you've focused on "Patience." These are all great themes for the upcoming year. Through your own personal discovery, you may recognize that you haven't made time in your life for many friends, that your networks are weak and that you'd like to have a social circle beyond your immediate family. Your life theme in this case could be "Connection." It may be you've realized that your life is far more filled with work and errands than with fun and play, and you want to fix that imbalance. Your life theme then could be "Energize."

Feel the Magic
Base your theme on what you find joyful and what you want to accomplish both personally and professionally. Your theme needs to strike an emotional chord with you and bring a smile to your face when your say it. You must own it. You must feel your theme's magic. It must propel you forward.

Now take a few moments to reflect on the bigger picture vision you have for your life. What would you like to accomplish first? What will bring you joy and fulfillment with your work, your family, and your personal time? What is the essence of what you wish to experience in this upcoming year? When you have an idea of what it is you wish to create and who you want to "be," take some time to meditate or concentrate on developing your life theme. The right phrase for you may come to you immediately, or it may take some time to evolve.

Brief is Best
When the phrase does reveal itself to you, try to keep it to a maximum of five words. Brief is better. Feel the power of these concise life themes: "Let go. Rebuild. Move Forward. Growth and Independence. Balance and Follow-through. Connection. Stretch. Calm and Quiet." You might have to live with your life theme for a week before you know that it's the one that will speak to you for the next year. You will know when you've got it.

Get Started
Once your life theme is clear, write it down. Put it where you will see it every day as a reminder of where you are heading in 2005. Tell loved ones, friends and colleagues what your life theme is. The more often you say it and share the more real it will become. Every time you make a decision large and small put it through your life theme filter. If your theme is "connection" say yes to building friendships, social invitations and neighborhood parties. If your theme is "adventure and fun" perhaps you say no that new pair of shoes and yes to signing up for a rock climbing course. The most surefire method to ensuring you live your life theme is to ask yourself every morning when you wake "what can I do today to experience my life theme." The key to success is to be intentional with your thoughts and actions on a daily basis. By living intentionally and with purpose you'll never feel the need to make another New Year's resolution again.

About the Author
Lisa Martin, PCC (Professional Certified Coach), is the author of Briefcase Moms: 10 Proven Practices to Balance Working Mothers' Lives. She lives what she writes and talks about. A working mother with 20 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience, she is the founder and president of Briefcase Moms®, an international coaching and personal development company with a mission to "make it easier for working mothers to live balanced and successful lives." She helps professionals, executives and entrepreneurs succeed in all areas of their lives- career, family and personal fulfillment. Subscribe to her free newsletter at: http://www.briefcasemoms.com.

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