Themes, Not Resolutions

Resolutions became extinct for me a number of years ago. I got tired of laying out sky high goals in a NYE champagne induced fever. That never worked out. Shocked right? Instead I started doing a Theme for the year. This set my intention and focused me without setting unattainable resolutions that only served to make me feel worse about myself when I didn't reach them. Please understand. I'm not criticizing you if you make resolutions. I know they work for some people. It's just that through my work as an Org/Biz Strategist and Executive Coach I've spent a lot of time helping people create intentions and set goals. I've watched lots (I mean crowds) of people fail at this. In order to reach your goals you need to follow the SMART rule: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-boxed. This is when resolutions are most effective. But what if you want to create a more encompassing transformation? This is where setting a Theme (or Word) for the year works far better.

How does setting a Theme work?

I think back about the previous year--what I've transformed and what I'm still longing for. I then come up with a few words that articulate the transformation I'm looking for in the coming year. Usually I start with a couple and then one emerges as the clear winner. Let me give you some examples to illustrate this a bit better. Here are a few of the words I chose for the past year.

2005: Money (self-explanatory)

2oo6: Grown-up (also pretty explanatory)

2007: Love (self and otherwise)

2008: Focus (how I used my energy, thoughts & time)

2009: Freedom

2010: Align

Photo Note: The sign in the photo was made by a dear friend who wanted to give me a reminder of my align theme last year. I highly recommend reminders of the visual and other sort.

Doing a Theme for the year has allowed me to create amazing experiences and growth. When I look back at each year I am amazing and all the transformation. It feels good.

Repeat after me. Themes, not Resolutions. Ready, Set...Transform!

Reverb 10: Photo

Prompt: Photo - a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

This photo was taken during a girl's night out. It was a beautiful, warm and lots of fun. The camera on my Evo takes great photos but has trouble in dark situations. So, I decided to play with the new retro app I downloaded from the Droid store. I prefer to be behind the camera and rarely love any photos of me. This is my favorite of 2010 because...

1. It was taken by my dear friend Kit.

2. I *love* retro style things: photos, clothes, pretty baubles...if it's vintage I'm pretty much gonna like it.

3. This photo reminds me of a very fun night with some of my favorite women:

4. It captures in my essence. This is a very rare event. Kinda like seeing double rainbow. I usually make strange faces so my eyes look kinda freaky in photos. So the fact that my essence comes through is pretty special. It reminds me of my favorite saying. OK, I found it on a perfume ad but the message is solid & a good reminder...

All You Have To Be Is You

Reverb 10: New Name

Prompt: New name. Let's meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? Names are a funny thing. Given the right name and you might just succeed. Given the wrong one and you might just become a pole dancer. Ok, ok, I'm being a teeny bit facetious but you get my point. Names are defining moments. That's definitely gonna leave a mark.

I was born Suzanne Bond. I think it must have the most # of nicknames for a formal name: Suzannah, Suzette, Suzi, Susan, Sue, Suz. The spellings of course are infinite even for Suzi, which I was called until the age of 23. Suzy, Suzie, Susie, Siouxsie. The only other one that comes close might be Elizabeth. Given the high number of possible nicknames it can be tough to know what to call me. Much different than say someone named Adam. Try shortening that one. I'm pretty sensitive to what you call me for two reasons.

The first has to do with the uniqueness of my name. Suzanne isn't unusual. Pretty much every other woman over the age of 40 was named Suzanne. Average age of a Suzanne? 51.something or other.  It or derivations of it are mentioned in more than 25 songs. No, it's what's missing that I'm talking about.  No middle name. Unlike the rest of my family who has one. But that's a story for another time.

Think back to when you got in trouble as a kid.

What were you called? By your first full name and your middle name right? Because I have no middle name I was only called Suzanne when I was creating mischief.  Many years after getting my fingers caught in the cookie jar and breaking windows, I still jump like one of Pavlov's subjects when called that name. All this feeling guilty got to me as a got older so I just dropped off the second n and the e and that's why I spell it Suzan even though it's pronounced Susan.

The second reason I'm sensitive is because of all the girls in my school who sullied my name.

All the girls who got around in my high school--if you know what I mean--shared my name but went by the moniker Sue. The song Runaround Sue which just affirms it. Thanks a lot Dion. Plus, Sue isn't the smartest sounding name in the school. Then there's Suzi. Very young like Susie Snowflake that was a perennial fixture in our Christmas show? Or Susie Chapstick? You want to do business with those women right? Um, no. I'd have to say that all this name stuff never made me like mine much.

Now it's not as bad as Myrtle which my poor Grandmother got saddled with. No wonder she wasn't the most cheery of people--tough to be when you're dragging around a name like that. I should feel lucky after dodging that name bullet.  I've always wanted to have a name that was more exotic like Isabella Rossellini, Penelope Cruz or Sofia Vergara. But those would sound awkward with my WASP-y looks and background. I guess my parents knew what they were doing--the name Suzan Bond--suits me. And my last name? Well that's pretty much the best one I could ask for. Memorable. Cool. I'd never change that.

Besides I'd miss all those good jokes about martinis and being a Bond Girl.

Reverb 10: Future Self

Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

- Floss your teeth every single day. Twice.

- Worry less, have more fun.

- Use your time most productively.

- You can do more than you think you can. Be the little engine that could.

- Be in the moment. In every moment possible.

- Save more money. It'll make rainy days more pleasant.

- Forgive more easily. Have fewer regrets.

- Hone your technical prowess. (writing, photography, graphic design, coding)

- Have less in order to have more.

- Let go of anything that doesn't serve you--immediately.

- Trust yourself more.

- Write, even just a few lines, everyday.

- Do what you want. Everything else will follow.

Reverb 10: Healing

Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? I love food. I mean really love food. Really good food. One of my good friends says that I can't be a foodie because I don't cook. So I call myself a foodette--a mini foodie. I'm a hedonist by nature. I love all that decadent stuff. Dark chocolate. Nice wine. Margaritas. Bread. Cheese. Pretty much anything that turns into sugar--rapidly. The problem? Hypoglycemia. I crave sugar and anything that can mimic it. Unfortunately it's just about the worst thing I can put into my body. Sugar in any sort of collected amount is pretty much tantamount to poisoning myself. Heaping it on (as I enjoy doing immensely) puts my body on a roller-coaster of highs and lows. Eating even a pretty healthy for Americans diet gave me a steady dose of sugar. And a steady dose = poor immune system, lots of colds, low energy and the ability to from zero to cranky in 30 seconds. Diagnosed with this chronic condition 20 years ago I've been aware of the side effects of this life style and have tried to manage it. With pretty much no degree of success.

This year I decided to try something radical. Cut out the sugar. Completely. Indefinitely. Welcome the Paleo Plan. Yes, yes--it's based on what our caveman ancestors ate. Meat, nuts, fruits, vegetables. And 4 glasses of wine a week. Insert your jokes here but how wine and almond butter didn't exist then. Really the diet is anti-sugar. It's about getting off the juice as I call it.

The 1st two weeks were a nightmare.

There were times when I just wanted to have some sugar intravenously pumped into me. When you needed to tie me to the bed sheets like an addict getting off the goods. It was one of the toughest things I've ever done physically. It requires commitment. Will power. Focus. And...a big reason WHY you're doing it. For me, being in a bikini on a beach wasn't a big enough WHY but feeling consistent energy and being well definitely was. Along the way I got support from my friend Tara who's done the Paleo Plan a few times and from my other dear friend Kate Brown, the Community Director of Daily Burn. I wished I'd known about this blog.

I am still working on walking the anti-sugar way.  The more I eliminate sugar the more I heal and the better I feel. I continue to follow that old adage...You can't eat an elephant in one bite...although I wouldn't mind eating the whole thing at once. I am a foodette ya know.