Now that you’ve had a couple of weeks to sit with your New Year’s resolution, it’s time to check in. Maybe you’ve jumped head first into your mission to cook more or buy less or manifest abundance. Or perhaps you’re already slacking on your goal to do yoga daily or read more books or finally start that wellness routine you’ve been thinking about. (You’re not alone!)

Smiling woman on pink background

It’s tricky to narrow down — and actually stick with — just one great goal for an entire 12 months, which is one of the reasons why such a huge percentage of self-imposed resolutions fall flat by Feb. 1. But instead of zeroing in on one objective, consider choosing a general theme for the year instead.

Themes are a no-fail option: broad enough to apply to many areas of your life, yet specific enough to refer to them daily. And instead of framing the new year with hard-and-fast rules such as “I have to be better at/stop doing X,” themes are a much gentler, more compassionate way to give structure to your thinking, actions, and self-talk.

To choose your theme, think of a word or phrase that encompasses the mindset you want to master this year — a guideline, rather than a rule, for how to live. It could be something like “sustainable” or “untethered” or “community.” The best part about picking a theme instead of a resolution? A theme is endlessly adaptable. *You* decide how far you want to take it, month by month. Start with baby steps, then work your way up.

Here are a few 2019 theme thought-starters for maximizing positive vibes and really cashing in on that whole “Happy New Year” thing.

(Pro tip: When you decide on your theme, use a photo editing app like Whitagram to design the word/phrase as part of your phone background, so you’re reminded of it every time you check your lock screen.)

1. Nourish: As a theme, “nourish” can be most easily applied to food. In a nutshell, nourishing foods make you feel g-o-o-d, whether they’re considered healthy options or not. Let’s say you’re in the throes of a serious s’mores craving (just us?!). Take a moment to ask yourself whether that food will truly nourish you. If the answer is yes, and you’re dying for that gooey chocolatey crunch, then, by all means, dive in and be sure to savor every bite. If the answer is no, pick something else that will feed your soul, like grounding roasted beets, walnuts, and goat cheese, or another thing entirely, like dancing around the kitchen to Maggie Rogers or breaking out your watercolors.

The question of “does this nourish me?” can be apt for friendships and relationships too. Maybe 2019 is the year you scrub your contact list (or IG feed?) clean of any toxic relationships and really focus on those that make you feel fulfilled, loved, challenged to grow, and positive.

2. Self-care: In 2018, self-care unabashedly rose to prominence, and for good reason. As women, we’re often taking care of everyone and everything around us, while letting our own needs and desires fall by the wayside. Don’t wait for a scary health wake-up call to start putting yourself first. Start outlining and identifying not just the low effort/high reward stuff (getting a mani, doing a face mask) but the high-effort endeavors too (going to bed every night at 10pm, meal prepping for happy desk lunches). Create a self-care calendar where you schedule in exactly what you need to be doing to feel like your best self on a weekly basis, then schedule the rest of your priorities around those — not the other way around.

3. Joy: Take a page from Marie Kondo‘s book, and make your 2019 theme all about living a life that sparks joy. Sure, maybe you start by purging your closet and your kitchen, but the big prize is your career: Are you doing fulfilling work on a daily basis? If the answer is no, start making tiny steps to change that. Maybe you offload some responsibilities at the office and start to take on projects that truly inspire you. Maybe you finally make moves on taking that passion project full-time. Or perhaps you need to look outside your workplace and dive into a new hobby (rock climbing, anyone?) or a volunteering gig. The key is to be mindful about how you’re spending your minutes, hours, and days — and to maximize joy where you can.

4. Flexibility: If you’re often caught up in tight schedules and totally thrown off by a break in routine, focusing on flexibility could be a game-changer. Sure, you probably won’t adopt a go-with-the-flow vibe overnight, but simply easing up on the reins can take the edge off your daily interactions. Meditation can work wonders for helping you let go of stress, even with just five minutes per day. If you can swing it, a weekend getaway or a bigger trip can change your perspective, but also try incorporating a little more spontaneity into your home life. Pick up a cookbook outside your comfort zone, plan a surprise date night for your S.O., or change up your regular workout to something a little less traditional, like ice skating or horseback riding. Mixing things up can totally transform your outlook.

What’s your theme for 2019? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)