Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Setting a Theme for Your Family in the New Year

Remember in A Christmas Story, where the teacher says the class has to write "A Theme!" and everybody groans?

Truth: I love a good theme.

I always wind up thinking about New Year's Resolutions early - probably because during the holidays, I think of about 1,000 things I should change or would like to do, "once Christmas is over." But this year, I've decided my family is going to try something different: We're not going to set New Year's Resolutions. Nope, not going to do it. It's too much stress and they seldom work out.

Instead, we're going to set a theme for the year.

I shared this approach in a September post, after reading, Goal-Free Living: How to Have the Life You Want NOW! by Stephen M. Shapiro. The idea is that instead of setting goals - which let's face it, are so type-A and stressful - you set a direction for yourself, a compass, if you prefer. This compass then guides your overall decision making. For instance, if you've chosen "Adventure" for your direction, you wouldn't take your vacation in the same old local. You'd pick a new place, or maybe go for an adventure vacation package.

One couple translated this into a yearly theme. Each year, they picked a different theme and went after it in every aspect of their lives. For instance, during the Year of Exploration, the woman spent the year exploring her potential as a writer and starting her first book.

I love this idea for families, because it can guide so many of your day-to-day decisions, as well as your big lifetime decisions. And it's so easy to do - just decide what you really want more of in your life. For instance, we really want more fun in our lives. We get too serious, to embroiled in what we "should" do, and fun gets pushed to the side. Not surprisingly, my husband and I are experience a bit of drudgery in our lives. The remedy: More Fun and Freedom - permission to have fun and be free from worry, free from constant work, free to do what we want to do.

So, we've already agreed on our theme for the coming year: Fun & Freedom.

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