A new strategy for your new year resolution?

Exploring opens up new possibilities.

Establishing a personal “Year Of” is one way of finding new possibilities, thinking about them and enjoying the benefits they can bring.

In contrast, New Year resolutions often lead to failure by locking out possibilities.  Statements that begin with “I will” or “I will not” become sink holes into which hope and action disappear.

So, rather than a New Year resolution on January 1, try a personal Year Of instead. A Year Of works by focussing attention and encouraging continued focus over 12 months.

2010 – The Year of Music

I cannot remember the exact trigger for my first Year Of.  I recall noticing that the health care rebate for a doctor’s visit nicely covered the cost of a music CD.  I possibly noticed this because my local Medicare office was very near a music shop.  (For those not in Australia, the Government Medicare program refunds a portion of some medical costs.)   It had been some time since I expanded my music collection, and there was an unused iPod Nano sitting in my desk.  The idea popped in from somewhere – 2010 would be my Year of Music.

It worked a treat.  I love my iPod Nano.  I also have some wonderful new music to listen to.

So, at the end of 2010, feeling pleased with the progress, I pondered “What next?”.

2011 – The Year of Limited Purchases

I was driving to Condobolin with my Mum on Boxing Day when I decided that 2011 would be my Year of Limited Purchases.  I had been a car owner for only a year and had not managed the running costs particularly well.  It seemed a good time to focus on spending habits in order to clear my two credit cards.

2011 also work quite well.  The credit card with the higher interest rate was paid off and closed.  But what I liked most was that this simple two-word title, Limited Purchases, also prompted me to think about bigger questions, such as “What is waste?”, and ponder the role of consumerism in the global financial crisis.  The title you choose is important.

2012 – The Year of Efficient Eating

My Year of Efficient Eating was a development on the previous year’s theme.  There was still wastage and overspending in the kitchen.  Plus, I had not stopped indulging in processed and take-away foods.  The reality is that I could not afford to be as indulgent as I had become.  The aim, then, for 2012 was to find ways of efficiently meeting my nutrition needs.

You can click here for more information on how it went.  Bear in mind, this was also my first year of blogging.  Some of the posts are a bit rough around the edges.


The format of my personal Year Of is taking shape.  For me, the following appears to be working:

  • Decide on the theme for the next Year Of during the last week of December when work is over and there is opportunity to properly ponder the matter.  A long drive helps.
  • Pick a theme that flows from or builds upon previous themes.
  • Choose words that will help you suceed in your Year Of.  The words should create a big amount of space for ideas to develop and grow around the theme.
  • Make sure the theme is something foundational.  That way, it will set up some supportive habits that will benefit other activities as well.
  • Ignore those people who claim that all goals must be specific, measurable, achievable and timed.  I prefer to treat my Year Of as a garden, with seasons and downpours and stinking hot days that seem to suck the life out of everything, and snails and butterflys and the most wonderfully scented lavender.


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