As 2020 comes to a close, I am reflecting on a habit I started while in my PhD program.
There came a point when I decided to refrain from creating resolutions for the approaching year.
In 2017, I told myself that in 2018 and beyond, I would no longer set lofty goals that had to be completed in a year. I decided to focus on themes, a broader, more general idea that isn't rigid. Too often I was trying to mold myself into a system that wasn't made for me.
When I create themes, I am more fluid. I can flow throughout the year without this doomed feeling of failure.
For example, if I choose my theme to be healing, then generally over the course of the year, I base my decisions on healing.
Following themes aligns more with my value-driven decision-making system. I make decisions and move accordingly based on values versus goals. It allows me to follow structure, yet not be tied down to one thing. Using themes is a happy medium for the part of me that likes to wander and dream and the other part of me that likes logic and structure.
Every task, project, and idea generally fits under whatever theme I created for the year. It is easier for me to course correct when thinking about themes.
When I reflect, I can go back to my list of themes for the year and ask myself "in [insert year] was I moving with my theme or against my theme?" It's easier for me to recall how I was moving in that particular year versus going through a list of goals.
Last year, I began the year with an affirmation that tied back to my theme. When I needed some self-assurance, I would go back to my affirmation and repeat it back.
Since I started using themes instead of goals - I haven't had much use for resolutions. Each minute, day, week, month, and year is an opportunity for me to live in purpose.
2020 has not been an easy one on a global scale. But it also has been one where collectively and individually we all have had to take pause and reflect.
I've seen some memes joking that no one is talking about 2021 goals and while it's funny to laugh at, it also made me think: it's okay to not look so far ahead. Maybe as a society, we need to look a little bit closer to home. But beyond that maybe it's time for us to be a little more fluid; like water as Bruce Lee said:
"Be Water, My Friend.
Empty your mind.
Be formless, shapeless, like water.
You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.
You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle.
You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Now water can flow or it can crash.
Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
Wishing you a healthy mind, body, soul, and environment as we enter 2021.