… new possibilities.
Establishing a personal “Year Of” is a great way to find and think about new possibilities and enjoying the benefits they can bring.
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.
In contrast, a personal Year Of can focus your attention and then encourage continued focus over the next 12 months.
I started in 2010, and it’s been a mixed bag of blessings. There are tricks to increase the likelihood of success.
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 readers not in Australia, our 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.
That was the aim, but what I liked most was how 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. Purchases had been limited, but there was still unacceptable wastage in the kitchen and I was still indulging in processed and take-away foods. 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. I’m still living with the benefits of all I learnt that year.
2013 – The Year of Sweat
Unfortunately, weight loss wasn’t one of the benefits of last year. 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 was an unexpected and very welcome bonus.
2014 – The Year of Sweat Squared
As 2013 ticked on, the Year Of activities became routine. The novelty and intrigue dissipated. When that happened, the results seemed a bit “less than” those of 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 cleanly off the tongue.
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 went backwards; more like The Year of Sweat Quartered.
The important lesson I took from this year was that each new Year Of must be sufficiently unique to harness novelty and surprise.
2015 – The Year of Liveability
So, from the idea of novelty and surprise came the Year of Liveability. It would be a canvas so vast that anything would be possible.
It will be the Year of 30 Days. Intrigued?
Tips for establishing successful Year Of resolution
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. If the theme changes direction, go with it.
♦ 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 snails and butterflys and the most wonderfully scented lavender.
So, rather than a New Year resolution on January 1, try a personal Year Of instead.