If you’ve never tried choosing a theme for your year instead of making resolutions, I can highly recommend it. I’ve been doing this for several years now. I love how:
a) it sets a general positive intention (rather than resolutions which are often about restricting something or punishing ourselves in some way); and
b) it can shape your year in unexpected ways (rather than resolutions which you often either succeed or fail to keep).
My theme for 2019 was trust. I was aware that there was a risk to this…too much trust and not enough action can lead to inertia and self-defeat. So my perspective has been more of “do what you can then trust in the rest”, or “trust in action”, if you like.
I knew that the first half of the year would be made up of big changes and I was already feeling a lot of anxiety about them. Here are a few examples (I’m conscious they may seem like “first world problems”…but they felt very real to me):
- Going back to work after a year of maternity leave at home with my daughter.
- My daughter starting at nursery (but not having a place confirmed that we were happy with) and anxiety about how she would cope.
- Our home being on the market but with all the uncertainty that selling/buying a property always entails.
- Being part way through learning to drive (after a build-up of 20 years’ worth of anxiety about it) and knowing I’d be taking my test later that year.
- Not to mention the looming uncertainty in the UK and globally, relating to Brexit, politics, climate change, rising intolerance, and risks to hard-won rights, creating an underlying anxiety about what the future holds.
Having so much change and uncertainty on the horizon was difficult for me, but the theme of trust in action helped me do what I needed to move forward in all these areas. And then I tried to let go and trust in the rest: that we’d adapt to change, that things would work themselves out, and to not get overwhelmed by things I can’t control. Nothing is forever…which is both unsettling and reassuring at the same time.
As it turns out, I got that balance between trust and action right in some areas and much less so in others…but I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way, and I think I’m ready for whatever comes in 2020, in the knowledge that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”.
If you’ve never tried choosing a theme for your year, why not give it a try and see how your year shapes up as a result. Don’t over-think it, just notice what words or phrases come to your mind when you think about how you want to be next year, and pick whatever feels right (you don’t need to be able to explain it). Then when big decisions or stressful times arise, bring that theme to mind and see how it shifts your thinking.
I can feel my theme for the new year bubbling to the surface already…
For more inspiration and ideas for choosing a theme and the impact it can have, here are my previous New Year blog posts:
- 2018: This too shall pass
- 2017: A year of clarity
- 2016: Adventure is a state of mind
- 2015: A year of balance
Wishing you all well for 2020 and beyond,
P.S. You might have noticed the word anxiety popping up several times here…if that’s something you struggle with too, here are my best tips for managing anxiety.