New Year Theme – Check in

new year theme April represents the first month in the second quarter of 2016.

I find this significant because, as illustrated by my handcrafted reminder, it’s time to revisit my intentions put into place in January through my New Year’s Theme-Setting practice.

Years ago I shifted from making New Year’s resolutions to a theme-setting practice; it’s made all the difference. Which leads me to ask: How is your year feeling so far?

I’d love to hear what you have to share, please leave a comment below.

As far as my theme-setting practice goes, I’m three months in and things are moving along better than expected. After having good experiences and mediocre experiences over the years (note: never a bad experience), this year, so far, feels exceptional. Here’s the difference:


1) I didn’t half-ass my selection process, ending up with half-ass dedication.

I pushed myself to go deeper, discovering what I truly needed this year. While on the surface I said I wanted more sleep, more play and richer connections with my loved ones, the truth was these three areas of my life needed a serious upgrade with more dedicated attention. “Need” in this case meant these were things I must have in order to be strong, stable and sustainable. My need became the true, visceral purpose behind my selections.

Summary: Picking well is primary.


2) I did my homework.

In terms of healthy-living rituals, sleep comes first. And to be honest, post-menopausal conditions have had me down and out for a while. For two years I’ve enthusiastically researched and experimented with re-aligning my disrupted sleep patterns. By the time this year rolled around, I was more than prepared. Here are several key activities I’ve narrowed down that get results:

  • I re-organized my bedroom so it’s quiet and dark.
  • I make sure I get to bed early enough to allow for a full night of sleep. (I discovered I needed, on average, 8 hours of sleep.)
  • I regularly see an acupuncturist and apply Chinese medicine and herbs to my supplements.
  • I found natural supplements that don’t leave me groggy in the morning, which I take before sleep or in the middle of the night as needed.
  • I routinely check in with my MD, and have a prescription as a last resort if needed. (This serves as a safety net, not a regular solution. Having a backup is more for peace of mind than anything else. I’ve used it three times in three months.)
  • new year theme 2I also have a safe, over-the-counter sleep-aid that serves a similar role as the prescription.
  • Above all else, I use healthy practices like cold showers, reading before bed, healthy eating and exercise, which allow for a good night’s rest.

Summary: Clear the path. Research and experiment with actions that will guide you toward a desirable outcome.


3) I tracked and measured my results.

When I pay attention to my efforts they usually result in bigger and better outcomes. When I share my intentions and subsequent progress toward said intentions, success typically follows. Not only did I share my theme in a blog and with my partner, I also report a weekly sleep record to two coaches I work with.

This handmade graph was designed so I could see my own progress. I have to admit, three months of purposeful work feels rewarding to my body and mind. But damn! I love the visual reward of seeing it all laid out in this way.

Summary: Track, record and report your progress.



new year theme 3
As serendipity often presents itself, when I took care of the first aspect of my theme (sleep) the other two followed with similar results. Every quarter so far, I’ve had a vacation or an extended weekend break filled with play and joy.

Every week I make a point to spend some time in the mountains, playing with my children and partner. And I have enough energy for a few hours here and there to shoot arrows, fence with swords, hike in the sun, take fun photos or other random acts of joy.

The “Love” portion of my theme is enjoying equal amounts of growth and progress. While the personal nature of this part of the theme need not be delineated here, I can make one statement that might prove useful to others:

Sometimes the key to increasing our sense of love is the simple act of fully absorbing the love we currently have.

This is what we do after hiking 5 miles into a dormant volcano. Bottoms up