Be happier in the new year: Say no to resolutions.

happy family at music concert

We’ve all had the resolutions – this is the year I’m going to lose weight! Lead a healthier lifestyle! Find a new job! Find a partner! Have a baby! Quit smoking! We start off resolute and determined. But then the days and months tick by, life throws us a million curve balls, and we find ourselves at another new year with the same damn resolutions.

It’s time to think differently about your new year. About you.
Resolutions are not necessarily a bad thing. But they are not motivating. Behind the resolution is the emotion: I’m bad, I’m wrong, I’m failing, I need to do this better, I have to change, I hate “fill in the blank” about myself. It’s no wonder we abandon resolutions. It’s telling yourself – there’s something wrong with me and I NEED to fix it. This YEAR. Or ELSE.

No wonder the gym parking lot and classes are packed in January but open by February.

The problem is that resolutions are missing the top strategic layer of what truly keeps us motivated and on track over a long course of time: a vision and a purpose that excites us down to the core. You’ll know it when you talk about something to others and you feel as if every molecule of your being is lit up like a Christmas tree. This is the real you, and the real source of your power, your new year and your future.

Ditch the resolutions. Choose a theme.
There is a reason why I am hired to create themes for corporate sales teams. Themes motivate people. They bring a concrete structure, energy and life to something that is otherwise intangible. Themes unite people in a common goal over a long period of time. You can build a great story around a theme. Themes are simple, short and memorable. They are positive and motivating. You can add a theme song to amplify the power of your message. A theme can be carried throughout the year and keep groups of people motivated through all the ups and downs that are a certainty, because that is life, not just in the corporate world, but in our personal worlds, too.

Themes help sales teams stay productive and motivated throughout the year to make money for companies. Why not use a theme to make yourself more productive, motivated and quite possibly, financially better off?

Here are three steps to choosing your theme and making it work for you to accomplish your goals in this new year:

Step 1: Choose a theme that is meaningful to you.
Not your kids. Not your parents. Not your friends. You. Ask yourself questions like, what do I want for myself long-term? What kind of life do I want to have that I don’t have now? What is my vision of success? Picture in your mind what you want to be different and come up with a statement that captures it.

My theme this year: I’m going to make things happen. Yes, as a marketer, I would need to make that more snappy and memorable, but this is for me, not a company, so for now, I’m going with it.

This is meaningful to me because I’ve come to realize that responsibility for my happiness rests solely on my shoulders. And if I want things to be different, I need to make it happen. I’ve always known this, I guess, don’t we all? But I am coming to understand it at a much deeper level than I ever have before. This theme feels right for me, right now. So I’ll come back to it, as my touch point, throughout the year, to keep myself on track.

Step 2: Add the action items to make your theme happen. 
Once you choose your theme, it will serve as your guide to what steps you need to take to execute on it. To keep it simple and manageable, choose two or three action items to focus on. For example, I am going to focus more on networking, blogging, and my creative projects.

So instead of being a drill sergeant with yourself – lose 20 pounds by March 1 – it becomes: I want to feel my best and have more energy, so I am going to walk every day, sign up for one class where I can dance because I love it, and I’m going to plan my meals every week. Or, I want to recommit to my creative practice, so I am going to set up a studio for myself in my home where I can paint and I am going to get up one hour earlier every morning three days a week and show up in my studio to honor my intention to paint more.

Step 3: Pick a theme song. Seriously.
Call it an anthem. Call it a rallying cry. Call it whatever you want. But whenever you listen to this song, it should remind you of your vision for your life. It should motivate you, lift you up, keep you going toward your goal when you are tired or unmotivated or veering off track.


Make this the year that you shine. 
When we make resolutions, we’re on the right track – we recognize that there are things we want to change or do differently. The new year is traditionally the time when we pause and give this thought. That’s all good. It’s just how we traditionally go about it that is not working in our best interests.

No matter what your resolution or theme, I hope this is truly the year where you let your light shine – and that light doesn’t come from a number on the scale, brand name designer clothes or a job title.

Be yourself, let the world see your gifts and all of the positive things that you have to offer. You need it, your family needs it, the world needs it. And you’ll be happier, too.

[Cue your theme song here!]




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