Every year after Christmas, Amanda curled up with a fresh notebook and new pens, to make neat lists of New Year’s resolutions. She wanted her life to be more organized, more purposeful. But every year by Valentine’s Day, the lists sat abandoned, and she comforted herself with promises to get back on track sometime later.
Amanda was frustrated that she couldn’t seem to follow through long enough to make resolutions into habits. She felt trapped in a cycle of guilt and disappointment in herself year after year.
One day, Amanda vented her frustrations to Julia, a friend from work. Instead of commiserating, Julia confided that she never makes New Year’s resolutions anyway. Julia seemed organized and peaceful, totally the list-maker type, so Amanda was surprised.
“I find resolutions exhausting and overwhelming,” Juliet said. “So I resolved to quit making them! Instead, I choose a theme for each year,” she explained. “A yearly theme keeps my energy focused on embracing growth and being intentional in the areas that really matter most.”
Julia isn’t the only who swaps out resolutions for choosing a theme each year. So do these smart women…
The Year of Beauty
Stephanie loved her job. But she often felt something was missing. She wasn’t sure what it was, and didn’t know how to figure it out. She’d even considered going back to school or changing careers when she went to spend a weekend with one an old girlfriend. During their visit Stephanie got inspired to do some DIY projects in her friend’s kitchen. The renovations were quick and inspiring and totally transformed the room’s atmosphere.
That’s when Stephanie realized that what she’d been missing wasn’t a new job, it was an outlet for creative inspiration. She needed artistry, beauty, and the challenge of transforming spaces from drab to delightful.
For the next year, she chose a project each month that let her mind and hands run free to create beauty. When Stephanie found ways for her creativity to brighten someone else’s living space, she found even more fulfillment.
The Year of Yes
Shonda Rhimes didn’t realize she’d been stuck in her ways until a relative asked her to do something fun. When she declined, she was told that she spent most of her time saying ‘no’ to opportunities.
The conversation opened her eyes and she decided to open herself to more possibilities. This sparked what she now calls her “Year of Yes”. She even wrote a book about the experience and you can find it here.
The Year of Sacred Self-Care
Megan was always busy taking care of everyone else. For years, she placed others’ needs above her own, telling herself it was the selfless, serving thing to do. A serious health scare shocked her into re-evaluating priorities. She didn’t want to be selfish, or stop helping other people, but she realized that something had to change.
A conversation with her mentor about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit got Megan thinking about how often she neglected her own wellbeing. She began to see that part of worshipping God included taking care of herself too. Megan decided her theme for the new year ought to be learning to worship God through the sacred act of healthy self-care.
She made an appointment with a counselor to process her tendency to tackle too many things at once, and to eat her feelings. A stylish friend volunteered to revamp her closet and shop for thrifty but flattering outfits that increased her confidence.
What’s most needed in your life right now? Is it beauty?
Is it something you need to add in to your routine?
Or is it something you need to eliminate to make fresh space?
Are there people you need to lean on more? Or relationships that are toxic and need limits?
Remember, there’s no right or wrong theme. There’s simply what draws you in and needs your focus this year. Choose that one, choose the people who are your best support system, and lean into it (and them!)
Journal Your Thoughts
1. Have you chosen a theme for previous years? If so, which ones?
2. What theme would you like to pick for the upcoming year?
3. Who will you share your new theme with?
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