This post was supposed to go up January 1st, but it only took a few minutes for me to break my New Year’s Resolution of “being more punctual”. That’s kind of the point I want to make: New Year’s Resolutions usually don’t work. I’m not sure if that’s common knowledge or not, but when half the YouTube videos tagged “New Year’s Resolution” are skits making fun of them, doubts are raised.

 

I’m not trying to bash resolutions or anyone who’s made one. If you read this blog, you know I think everyone has to do things their own way. If a resolution works for you, awesome. Do it. I’m totally behind you. However, it has never worked for me and I’ve never met anyone who it has worked for. All my friends are tweeting jokes about failing at their resolutions right now.

 

This is probably going to sound like mom advice, or more likely hippie mom advice, but instead of setting a strict resolution like “NO MORE PANCAKES!” or “SPEND AN HOUR AT THE GYM EVERY DAY!”, try developing a theme for the new year. Think of some of your strengths you want to build on, some things you want to change, and shape that into a theme. Your theme can be anything. Take it from a favorite book or movie, a philosophical concept, a sentence, quote, a single word, anything at all.

 

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A visual representation of my 2014 theme. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

For example, while we’re technically still in Water Snake, starting January 30 it will be the Year of the Wood Horse according to the Chinese Zodiac. Wood means it will be a time for growth and expansion, as well as flexibility. The horse is all about self-improvement.

 

I’m not a believer in astrology or anything like that, but I was randomly reading about it and thought, “Hey, 2014 should be my Wooden Horse Year!” I want to focus on my art and expand my skills through various projects. I’m not going to say “I’M COMPLETING TWO ART PROJECTS EACH WEEK!”, but I am going to carry that theme of looking for ways to grow as an artist, find new techniques, and expand on what I already do. That flexibility will be important because I don’t have the type of schedule where I can block out specific chunks of time on specific days. I have meetings, events, and other responsibilities that fluctuate quite a bit. By keeping my Wooden Horse Year concept in the back of my mind, I will always be thinking of my goals, but there won’t be a check box at the end of each day where I have to choose ☐ WIN or ☐ FAIL.

 

Whatever things you want to change or improve, rather than setting resolutions and rules for yourself, try developing a theme for the year to help you keep your goals in mind. If you want to curb your road rage, maybe your theme could be “Calm water is more fun than raging water.” Every time you’re about to go off the handle, remember that and ground yourself. Instead of making a resolution to cut out fatty foods, make “Healthy Eating” your theme for the year. I think it’s empowering rather than restricting. How often do you look at that bag of chocolates and hear “NO CHOCOLATES THIS YEAR!” only to scoff at your inner voice and grab them anyway? What if you tried reminding yourself “Fruit is Chocolate’s Friend” and made sure to get a nice serving of fruits with a small chocolate snack?