View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Carol Woodliff:Forget resolutions; set a theme for 2011

SCV Voices

Posted: December 30, 2010 8:32 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2010 8:32 p.m.

As we say goodbye to 2010, I’m going to suggest that you forget about making resolutions — those long lists of how you think you need to improve yourself. Most of us have failed so many times at those resolutions that we don’t take them seriously anymore.

Instead of resolutions, pick a theme that will summarize how you want things to be in 2011.

To pick a theme, let’s first look at what happened in 2010.

What was good about 2010?  Find at least 10 good things to be grateful for before you focus on 2011. This is a way on honoring your life and experience.

What were your biggest achievements?  Many of us don’t take time to give ourselves credit for what we have accomplished.

We move on to all the other things we have to do and forget just how much we’ve done in a given year. Give yourself a pat on the back for your accomplishments in 2010.

What was your biggest loss?  Did you have to say goodbye to someone you loved? Take time to honor the loss. Notice how it changed you.

Our losses can shut us down, or they can crack us open and make us more aware of how fragile life is and how we are all connected. What happened for you with this loss?

What was your biggest frustration? Who pushed your buttons? What did this person or situation teach you about yourself? Is there a quality you’d like to develop in dealing with this situation or person?

What were the things that brought you the most joy in 2010? What was the funniest thing you experienced in 2010?

If you have a hard time with this one, perhaps you need to have more fun — or at least acknowledge the fun you are having. If 2010 didn’t seem like a joyful year, ask yourself why you postponed fun and joy?

Now that you’ve reflected on 2010, what was the energy of the old year for you and how would you like that energy to shift in 2011? Instead of setting resolutions, pick a theme that encapsulates how you want 2011 to be. A typical resolution is stated as a goal: “I will lose 20 pounds.”

A theme is a description of the experience you want to claim, perhaps something like “health and energy.”

Losing 20 pounds sounds punitive; being healthy and having energy sounds quite different, doesn’t it? The difference is subtle, but it really does help you stay on track.

If you are focusing on health and energy, you will do the things that will probably help you lose the 20 pounds.

When you plan a party, you often set a theme. It helps you make all the decisions. Is it formal or casual? What event are we celebrating?

Just like picking a theme for a party, a theme for your year helps you make decisions and take action toward of what kind of year you want.

In just a couple of words, what qualities would you like 2011 to be filled with? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Health and energy
Joyful experiencing
Abundance and
Loving connections
Prosperity and peace

I suggest that you only pick one theme to begin the year. Anything more than that gets messy, and it makes it harder to take action. Once you get a theme working for you, you can pick another one to add to your repertoire.

So what is that you want to focus on?  Which party are you throwing first?

After you pick a theme, write it in a place where you will look every day. (I write mine on the bathroom mirror in lipstick. It makes me smile when I see that deep pink on the mirror.)

Say to yourself each morning: “I choose health and energy.” And then notice whether you really are choosing health and energy or not.

Did you choose health and energy in your actions yesterday? Be honest with yourself. What is one small way you can choose that today?

One year, I decided I wanted more joy in my life, and I ended up doing a number of things simply because they made me happy.

I scheduled a few more trips to the ocean. I went to listen to live music more often. I followed my joy, and by the end of the year, lots of things had changed.

My business had grown. I had enlarged my circle of friends. Life was juicier and more abundant, and yes, more joyful.

It was probably one of the first years that the intention I set at the beginning of the year worked.

I’ve been using this technique with clients for the last few years, and it works. But don’t just take my word for it; try it and see how it works for you.

See if it feels different to you than setting a resolution. Notice your energy and you may be surprised at what happens and how your life expands.

Carol Woodliff and Lifestyle columnist Karen Maleck-Whiteley are partners in WMW Group, a seminar and personal development company. Woodliff’s column reflects her own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...