The Year of Love

Last night a big number rolled over in the calendar. As the new year started I found myself sitting on my couch starting to have a pity party for one. Then I remembered that being alone on this day was actually my choice. I was offered a plane ticket to New York for New Years. New *freaking* York! But I made a choice. I decided to spend New Year's Eve at home in favor of a trip out a bit later when it coincided with a work event. Though it's much more cool to be in New York when the ball drops I made a choice that supports me for the longer term. Um, does this mean I've finally reached adulthood?

As I sat pondering all of this I found myself doing what I'm wont to do when there's something on my brain. Turning over word combinations in my head I decided to write. Although most of what I write never reaches anyone else's eyes I thought I'd share it with the hopes that maybe you'll relate to it. I'm not going to pretend that I have something novel to say about the new year. It's just really me talking to myself as the appointed 2013 hour arrived.

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Dear Suz,

Remember a new year started--not a completely new life. Sure, you can go ahead and make those resolutions to run climb another 14er and save 20% of your income. In addition do something that’s really powerful. Something that will power everything else in your life.

Let this be the 365 days that you really love yourself. Love yourself enough to:

Take small, reachable steps rather than HUGE leaps.

Let go of stress of any form.

Save more than you think you need. This will give you more options and freedom.

Appreciate every scar, crease in your face and every single failure. This means you're really living.

Be kind to yourself.

Allow yourself to be upset from time to time.

Just be upset. Don’t get upset about being upset.

Not worry about that other shoe. It's dropped many times and you're still here.

Be willing to face others disapproval, especially when it means you earn your own.

Remember to stand strong for what you want.

Cook more often. Despite what your first boyfriend said--your food is edible.

Smile more often. It really does make things easier.

Not worry about those little rolls of flesh that pop out over the top of your pants.

Focus on what you have in your life. Practice being grateful every day.

Be unabashedly you.

Be open to love from wherever it comes.

And most of all remember this. You don't have to all of these at one time. Just do one little thing each day that brings you more love and happiness.

Love,
me

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!