A blog by runners. For runners.

Why you should forgo resolutions and set a theme for 2016 instead

The New Year offers a wonderful opportunity for a fresh start, a way to re-engage with the things that really matter to you.It’s that time of year again. That time when we reflect on what we’ve accomplished and what we would like to aim for in the year ahead. A time of wild optimism for many and a boon for local gyms.

But while it’s tempting to start resolving to run three times a week, finally train for that full marathon, or – like many – actually get to the gym, everyone knows that New Year’s resolutions never really stick.

And yet, it would be a shame to let this time of year go by without thinking about your goals for the future. The New Year offers a wonderful opportunity for a fresh start, a way to re-engage with the things that really matter to you and to think about what kind of things you would like to focus on this year.

So here’s an approach to try that doesn’t require you to make any lists, but still helps you to frame your reflective thinking for the year behind and the year ahead: set a theme for 2016.

A theme is one or two words that describe or represent what you would like to see manifest in the coming year. An example could be “joy” or “friendship”. Some other good examples include: “me time”, “kindness”, “energy”, and “mindfulness”.

The wonderful thing about setting a theme, instead of resolutions, is that it can be as broad or as narrow as you like – “gratitude” is as valid a theme as “sleep” or “cooking” or even “recycling”. Setting a theme doesn’t lock you into any promises, schedules, or deadlines. But it can serve as a gentle reminder and North Star to return to throughout the year to find some encouragement and motivation.

You don’t have to share your theme with anyone else if you don’t want to, or, alternatively, share it with everyone if you think it will help you to keep it on your mind. You can try sticking it on a post-it note on your mirror or setting it as your email or computer password so that you are reminded of it frequently. However you choose to remind yourself of your theme, make a point of scheduling a time to reflect on it every month or so, and see whether the things you are doing fit with it or not – and whether it’s still relevant, attractive, and/or necessary in your life.

And don’t forget to celebrate moments that are “on theme” throughout the year!

Share your theme for 2016 (if you like!) with us in the comments below. 

Written by Varia Makagonova.

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