My method for setting resolutions has changed over the years.
At first, I used to make lists of things I wanted to accomplish throughout the year. Then, as I realized I could rarely get through my laundry list, I began narrowing things down. I’d pick one big goal to work on for the whole year in different areas of my life, which worked really well.
I liked setting one big financial goal (such as working up to maxing out my Roth IRA or refinancing the house) for each area of my life and then spending the whole year working on it.
Last year, I didn’t set any New Year’s resolutions. Reeling from my divorce and my second cross-country move in as many years, I used the year to explore and figure out what I wanted from life. I wanted to try new things, and evaluate what to keep and what to shed.
Setting a Theme for the Coming Year
After evaluating how things went, I’ve decided to do something similar going forward. Instead of setting a few goals for the year, I am going to choose a theme. Last year was all about exploring myself and trying new things.
The coming year, I think, will be about growth. How can I grow in my life?
With a theme, it’s not so much about setting a goal and trying to hit milestones (and feeling disappointed when you fail and have to start again). Instead, it’s about working on adding more to your life, based on your theme.
I hope to use the word “grow” to guide my life. Last year, while I learned a lot about myself trying new things, I didn’t really stretch myself or grow as a person. This year, I hope to change that and grow as a person.
Don’t Stop Setting Goals
Setting a theme still gives you some leeway to set mini-goals along the way with your life, so you don’t have to abandon goals altogether. I still set goals for myself. However, they are more about lifestyle changes than they are about hitting certain benchmarks.
I hope to grow as a mother, so I’ll make sure to set aside more time with my son, doing things that help the both of us. I want to spar more with him in fencing, and help him with his projects.
I also plan to grow my business. It’s languished the last couple of years as I’ve had a lot of upheaval in my life. Now I’m ready to focus a little more on my business and work on growing it.
There’s a lot I can do for personal growth as well, including volunteer work in my community and doubling-down on my efforts to learn German ahead of my European trip in the summer. (Duolingo says I’m 16% fluent!)
Whether you set New Year’s resolutions, or you decide on a theme for the year, it’s always a good idea to spend time investing in yourself. Take some time to reflect on the past year, think about the future, and consider what you hope to accomplish.
What’s your plan for the coming year?