Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Are you still committed to them? Or have they already gone by the wayside?
If you’ve already abandoned your resolutions, you aren’t alone. Abandoned New Year’s resolutions are a cliché. I heard a statistic on the radio that 50 percent of all resolutions are abandoned by the second week in January and 80 percent are abandoned by the second week in February.
I’m not sure where they got their statistics, but my gut tells me their data is probably right. Keeping New Year’s resolutions can be difficult.
An emerging alternative is to adopt a word for the year instead of a resolution. For example, rather than resolving to lose weight choose the word “healthy.” This alternative approach works because the word becomes omnipresent and begins to dominate your thoughts. You, in essence, provide a theme to your life, and themes are fun.
The best parties always have a theme (Halloween, Christmas, Harry Potter, Gatsby, etc.). We don’t just dress up in costumes for Halloween parties, we eat cookies shaped like ghosts, decorate our house with cobwebs, and play scary music.
Themes provide boundaries and lead us to focus on a specific target, but they also spur creativity and generate enthusiasm. We find ourselves wondering: How else can I incorporate this theme into what I’m doing?
What starts as a desire to lose weight turns into an improved diet, increased exercise, decreased stress, and more sleep—all of which contribute to weight loss. Losing weight becomes a byproduct of pursuing “healthy.” Before you know it, you’re pursuing healthy relationships and other healthy habits.
Choosing a theme is a proactive approach to steering the direction of your psyche. We are wired to notice patterns and if we aren’t careful instead of adopting a theme, a theme will adopt us.
Last year was a challenging year for me. I lost my sister. I lost my father. I even lost my gallbladder. “Losing” could easily become a theme in my life. Allowing that to happen would spur the same creativity and focus to spiral into negativity, as I subconsciously obsess over the loss in my life. Choosing a positive theme overshadows the possible negative themes.
Good teammates are deliberate when it comes to choosing the themes in their lives. Words like kindness, compassion, considerate, and unselfish dominate their thoughts.
If your resolutions have already gone by the wayside, know that January 1 is an arbitrary date. You don’t have to wait until next year to get back on the wagon or to add a theme to your life. You can add one right now. And if you are looking for a theme, consider the word “teammate.”
Most of us belong to multiple teams (place of employment, community, clubs, church, family, etc.). Adding a theme that drives you to become a better teammate on any of your teams will lead to an improved lifestyle and a rejuvenated sense of purpose in your life—and purpose leads to happiness.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.