A different kind of New Year's resolution

A different kind of New Year's resolution

December 30th, 2011 by Holly Leber in Life Entertainment

The only time I've kept a New Year's resolution is when I vowed not to resolve. I have to confess, I'm not very good at keeping promises to myself. If I were, well, things might be very different. I'd have a fantastic body, more money in the bank and know how to rock-climb, crochet and speak Italian.

Alas, I can do none of these things. I didn't even keep last year's resolution to read more. I like reading. I resolved to do something I enjoy, and I didn't do it. No wonder I don't keep promises like exercising more or bleaching my floors.

I wrote in August about committing myself to working out three times weekly. That lasted about three weeks.

With my history, New Year's resolutions just seem like a waste of time.

Despite that fact, I always want to start a new year with a sense of purpose and good intention. Clearly, however, resolving to "do Action X" hasn't worked for me. But I've heard of a different way. I am intrigued by a twist on the whole resolution concept.

Several of my friends have been inspired by an idea set forth by a blog called The Happy Project or Life Is Rainbows and Butterflies, one of those blogs dedicated to living a happy, loving life.

Anyway, the idea is that instead of making a resolution to do something -- i.e. "I am going to lose 20 pounds this year" -- you choose a theme word or phrase. For example, if you are bored at your job, tired of being single and wanting to volunteer more, you might choose the theme word "love," as in you want to find work that you love, find someone to love and want to give love to people or animals who are bereft of it. I suppose the benefit of choosing a theme or idea for the year rather than a specific goal is that there is more than one manner in which the idea can come to fruition.

So I thought I might give this method a shot. I've been bandying about words like "create," because I want to learn to do crafty things but also because I want to learn to create opportunities for myself. I also thought of "embrace," in reference to a desire to reclaim some of the warmth I seem to have lost, as well as a hope that I can seize, or embrace, chances. Other thoughts include "clean," in reference to my home, my eating and my life, and the slightly less poetic "get (let's just say 'stuff') done."

I spoke with the sweetheart, who is as good at keeping promises to himself as I am at keeping them to myself. Unlike me, he has never failed at a New Year's resolution because he's never made one. He did, however, like the idea of choosing a word or theme by which to try to live the next 366 days (it's a leap year).

So we're going to try it. At this point, Joe would quote Yoda and say, "do or do not, there is no try," but let's be real, we're going to try it. And we've decided to add a twist: We're going to choose each other's theme for 2012. We've spoken about what our hopes are, both together and individually, for the upcoming year, and at midnight on Jan. 1 we will give each other a word or phrase, or perhaps even a song, by which we will try to live our lives for the next 12 months.

It's an exercise in trust as well as in commitment to self, and, I suppose, to each other. I have to figure out what theme I shall choose for him, and I'm eager to know what he'll choose for me.

Then all I have to do is live up to it.

Easy, right?

Contact Holly Leber at hleber@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/hol lyleber. Like her on Facebook at facebook.