… new possibilities.
Another year is coming to an end. It’s time to think back and move on.
Establishing a personal “Year Of” is one way of finding new possibilities, thinking about them and enjoying the benefits they can bring. It works by focusing attention and encouraging continued focus over the full 12 months. The benefits then flow through to subsequent years.
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.
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.
I’m still finding and posting new information. The year seems to be never-ending.
2013 – The Year of Sweat
While the previous year produced lots of benefits, I’m afraid weight loss wasn’t one of them. But, interestingly, neither was weight gain. This was particularly significant because I hadn’t exercised much.
Why not tackle movement in 2013? So, the Year of Sweat it became. And sweat I did, except in Winter and Spring. I grew stronger and fitter; always a great feeling. I discovered why exercise makes me cry and worked out a remedy that ensured I’d keep moving.
You can click here for more information on how it went. This was my second year of blogging, and I hope you’ll notice some improvement.
2014 – The Year of Sweat Squared
When the activities of 2013 became routine, movement became more like study. The interest and intrigue dissipated. When that happened, it was unlikely that 2013 would produce the same sterling results as previous years.
I decided I needed to give it another go … ramp it up a bit. 2014 became the Year of Sweat Squared. The words sounded catchy, but they didn’t roll off the tongue cleanly.
There were only a handful of posts over the entire 12 months. The year was not a success. I learnt some new things, but overall I feel I went backwards; more like The Year of Sweat Quartered. The important lesson is that each new Year Of must be sufficiently unique to harness novelty and surprise.
Tips for establishing successful Year Of resolutions
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.
- Don’t re-hash last year’s theme. It has to be a fresh step forward.
- Choose words that will help you succeed 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 New Year’s garden, with seasons and downpours and stinking hot days that seem to suck the life out of everything, and bugs of all kinds, assorted wildlife, and the most evocative scents imaginable.
Now, what will next year bring?