I don’t like, or set, New Year’s resolutions. Regular readers know why - stats show only 9.2% of those who made resolutions felt they were successful at keeping them. They often turn into tools for making people feel failure, less than, not enough. Whether people set too many goals, or goals that are too lofty or ill-defined, resolutions are those good intentions that frequently lead down the road to hell.
When someone proclaims, “I’m finally going to get organized this year!”, I certainly want them to succeed. But I always wonder if they have taken the time to work through what "getting organized" even means. Too often we go from, “My space is a wreck!” to “I need bins and matching labels!” with little consideration in between. You can order a pre-made file system or planner, buy all new workout gear, or get the latest book on financial freedom - but until and unless you start with you, you cannot purchase your way into achieving a goal.
So instead of resolutions, I propose creating a theme for yourself for your New Year.
1. a subject of discourse, discussion, meditation, or composition; topic.
2. a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc., as in a work of art.
3. a short, informational essay, especially a school composition
a. a principal melodic subject in a musical composition
b. a short melodic subject from which variations are developed.
There are more descriptions, but those definitions give us quite a lot to work with, don’t they? You can work on crafting a theme by asking yourself some questions. If improved organization or productivity has been on your mind, you might try things like:
I’ve intentionally left these fairly open-ended. You can probably come up with even better questions for yourself, and you might have different sets for personal and vocational themes.
Working through these sorts of questions (and through some intentional conversations and meditation) my theme for 2018 that emerged is healing through knowing myself. If I understand myself, I’ll know better how to help clients learn about themselves so they can find peace and healing through a more organized life. What better goal could I have in my business? I also connect strongly with the musical definition of “theme” because I like the idea that my theme can have variations as the year progresses. Flexibility and willingness to try things differently (varying tempos, moods, tones, or textures) appeals, because instead of feeling blocked and defeated we can come at goals in a new way until we find the groove.
If you have been tempted to make improved organization or productivity a resolution, take a short pause. As 2018 dawns, why not try asking questions to find the dominant idea for your year? I’d love for you to share some of those questions, answers, and themes with me - either here or privately.
Here’s to the New Year, to questions, to healing, and to living lives that support us.
Sara Skillen - I'm a Certified Professional Organizer®, coach, wife and mom, and serial list-maker. I'm excited to be in the process of becoming a Certified ADHD Organizer Coach. I love to help people from all walks of life get organized and productive - and I'd love to help you, too:
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