[Featured image is of a white background with golden letters spelling out Happy New Year, surrounded by gold stars in different sizes.]

Okay, that was a bit inflammatory. And I hate “shoulding” all over the place; it was just for the headline, I promise! If you’re looking to have a “new year, new you” type of thing, I’m definitely not here to tell you not to go for it. But what if I told you you could do it in a way that would almost guarantee your success? Also, Happy New Year! (Ten days late, but hey, at least I made it!)

Themes > Resolutions

About two years ago now, a good friend of mine sent me this video, and it changed my life. Instead of being stressed about picking out resolutions that I knew would ultimately fail me (because I would fail them), I felt completely liberated by the notion of a New Year’s Theme.

In the past, I would set resolutions to eat less junk food, practice my instruments more, or spend less money on things I don’t need. However, especially for my demand-avoidant brain, that was less than motivating. Resolutions just became demands that relied on my own self-deprecation to exist. Naming my goals in such a way created the space for guilt to become the driving force, instead of intrinsic motivation. I’ve learned through enough trial and error that my motivation only really comes from being emotionally invested in things. Yes, I do things out of obligation or guilt at times, but I’m more likely to do things and do them well when I’m strongly emotionally linked to the end result. And to be honest, many of those goals came down to being emotionally invested in my own self-worth, which I didn’t have a lot of at the time.

A Guiding Compass

A New Year Theme acts more like a guiding compass so that all my decisions fall into the binary categories of, “fits theme” and “doesn’t fit theme”, which is super convenient for my indecisive brain as well. Instead of feeling trapped by demands, I am empowered to pursue goals that align to my theme, thus allowing me the emotionally attached intrinsic motivation I need to get shit done.

Last year’s theme was “Expansion” and this year is the “Year of Abundance”. In a simplified recap: I went from living with my ex and mother, to finding my footing with a roommate in our own apartment, to a lot of inner growth, to building my consulting and coaching business. And now, just in the first 10 days of this year, I’ve managed to develop deeper connection in some of the relationships I hold dear, I’ve made new connections for business, I’ve danced so much and been able to DJ music I love, I’ve launched my new coaching website, and I’ve had two interviews published (one was published last month, but I just found out). I am claiming Abundance in everything: love, wealth, health, and fulfillment. And now it’s easier to decide what actions to take because this theme empowers me to seek the best options for my love, health, wealth, and fulfillment. It allows space for me to be critical but also compassionate towards my dreams and the steps I need to take to realize them.

Failing Forward

Not only is it easier to believe in myself and my actions with a theme underpinning it all, but it’s easier to not be so hard on myself when I try things and “fail”. I truly am starting to believe that failure isn’t actually real. We can only learn from our past actions, so when every moment is a learning opportunity, do we every really fail?

To steal from my vocal coach’s toolbox (Arden Kaywin, thank you), “failing forward” is the situation of learning something didn’t work, and using that information to propel you into the next best decision. We’re all capable of this, it’s just a matter of how clearly we see, and believe in, our own efficacy.

You Are Powerful

You are a powerful creative being. If you’ve set your heart on resolutions in the past, just to not fulfill them in the ways you’ve wished to every year, then maybe give a New Year’s Theme a try! To find a theme that resonates with you, think about the goals you wish to achieve over the course of this year. Are most of them health related? Work related? Relationship related? Find the common thread and try to name it. I kept mine fairly broad because I had very specific goals that were hard to put into one category. The word “abundance” kind of just came to me. If you are spiritual, try meditating on what it is your heart desires most this year. You’ve got this!


If you’re queer, neurodivergent, or disabled and are seeking support in realizing your goals to live your most fulfilled life, please don’t hesitate to visit my coaching website and click the Life Coaching tab! It would be my joy to support you!