Big Picture-Wise, What’s Your Theme for 2010?

As I write this on New Year’s Eve, I’ve seen any number of articles and blog posts on resolutions, both positive and negative.

So I make the following promise: keep reading and you’ll learn a new way to plan and focus the coming year—and it’s not work, it’s really fun!

You see, rather than focus on the micro (resolutions) I focus on the macro (theme for the year.) In my thinking, big picture = strategy. And to me, nothing says big picture than my “theme” for the year.

What do I mean by a theme? Well, you’ve heard of the Chinese calendar, right?

2010 is the year of the Tiger. 2009 was the year of the Cow.

I take a somewhat similar approach with a theme. At a high level, it’s what I want the year to represent or stand for.

For example, when I took eight weeks off one year, which was “the year of adventure.” I lived that theme fully, having driven and cycled from Texas to the US west coast, up the coast to Canada and Vancouver, and then back through Montana, Colorado and back down to Texas.

Now once I have my theme, I focus not on resolutions, but what I call “shifts.” More about how I implement shifts in my next post.

I’ve been theming my years for some time now. It’s a fun exercise that helps me focus on what the year should represent at a high level. Theming your year is an ideal way to get out of overwhelm too.

How a theme

helps you set the tone for the year ahead

Let’s face it: we arm ourselves with the latest in productivity tools, and before you know it we’re beating ourselves up over unmet goals, unfinished to do’s, unrealized outcomes and more. However, by focusing on the big picture first, often the micro-related items fall naturally into place.

Simply sit back, relax, get comfortable and distraction free, and then ask yourself this question: “What do I want this year to really be about, exactly? How will I know the year is a true success?”

Next, see what comes up for you. Jot down what surfaces. There are no right or wrong answers. There are some tips to help you birth a theme that speaks to you. (Or if you are visual, a theme that’s the big picture. And for the kinesthetic folk out there, a theme you can really grab a hold of.)

Presenting

my theme for 2010, drum roll please:

“2010: The Year Of Expansion”

This theme resonates on multiple levels: business, personal and spiritual. And that’s really the dynamic that makes for an effective theme – it is broad enough so it covers all areas of your life, not just business.

So what does this look like in more detail? Here are a few examples:

  • Business expansion: I’m launching new products and services outside of the PR and publicity market
  • Personal expansion: new experiences await including Comedy Improv training, traveling to Singapore and Malaysia and new workouts including swim training
  • Spiritual expansion: new mediation practices, new worship practices and more

3 benefits to theming your year

Why theme?

Reason #1: The theme is a constant source of inspiration. It’s a great way to focus your energy and keep the momentum going all year long. So even if you get off track at some point, you have your compass to regain direction, which is your theme.

Reason #2: it helps your year stand for something. We may lose track of day-to-day to do’s, but a theme is all-enduring. You’ll remember if for years, and with it, the accomplishments that supported that theme.

Reason #3: Third, and perhaps most important, it helps you be accountable to YOURSELF and to others, always a challenge for the entrepreneur.

3 Tips

for a successful and inspiring 2010 theme

I’ve themed my years for the last 8 years and I’ve learned some valuable insights along the way. So, here are some tips to help successfully theme your 2010 (and subsequent years)

  1. Make the theme short and punchy: no sentences, one to three words MAX.
  2. The theme should be broad enough to encapsulate personal, professional and spiritual practices.
  3. The theme should be consistent with your values as well as your mission and purpose.

To get you started, let me share a few themes from years past. Notice how each theme was representative of a major thrust for that particular year. (Indicated in parentheses.)

  • The year of “Transformation” (career change)
  • The year of “Growth” (Adding professional speaking to my repertoire)
  • The year of “Adventure” (traveled for 7 weeks that year)

So get after it people, let’s see what kind of theme you can come up with. Share your theme with me in the comments below. I look forward to your inspired actions and can’t wait to see some mind-blowing themes.

Please comment: what do you think of theming and what’s your theme for 2010?

Story

highlights and action steps:
  • Time to review: 12 minutes
    • Focus on the big picture, create a theme for the year
    • Theme should cover business, personal and spiritual areas of your life
    • Your theme should be short and follow the Chinese New Year Formula
    • Example: “2010: the year of completion”
  • Action Steps:
    • Brainstorm your theme
    • Share your theme with others, get feedback and pick one
    • Once you have your theme, list some goals that are supportive of that theme

Marc Harty is an online publicity expert, professional speaker, Internet marketing consultant and CEO of MainTopic Media, Inc. Marc’s Online PR Made Easy can help anyone at any skill level generate targeted web site traffic on autopilot.

  • Hi Marc… Happy New Year! In 2005 I started doing a goal setting workshop in Las Vegas every January. Each year I would create a theme as you have shared in your article. I found creating a theme has helped me focus. This years theme for http://www.TheGoalWorkshop.com is ….”Yes You Can in 2010″!

    Mark, may this be your best year ever. Thank you for your insights and excellence…And I know…Yes You Can in 2010!

    Your Good Friend,
    Robby LeBlanc

  • Hi Marc… Happy New Year! In 2005 I started doing a goal setting workshop in Las Vegas every January. Each year I would create a theme as you have shared in your article. I found creating a theme has helped me focus. This years theme for http://www.TheGoalWorkshop.com is ….”Yes You Can in 2010″!

    Mark, may this be your best year ever. Thank you for your insights and excellence…And I know…Yes You Can in 2010!

    Your Good Friend,
    Robby LeBlanc

  • Marc, this is a nifty way to look at years. I like it. Thanks for sharing. And let me join in…

    2010: The Year of Focus

    Personal: 2010: The year I focus on…
    on learning to play the violin

    Professional: 2010: The year I focus on…
    making $3,000 every month CONSISTENTLY with Internet Marketing by 30 December 2010

    Spiritual: 2010: The year I focus on…
    breathing, letting go of stress, and finding humor in confronting situations

  • Marc, this is a nifty way to look at years. I like it. Thanks for sharing. And let me join in…

    2010: The Year of Focus

    Personal: 2010: The year I focus on…
    on learning to play the violin

    Professional: 2010: The year I focus on…
    making $3,000 every month CONSISTENTLY with Internet Marketing by 30 December 2010

    Spiritual: 2010: The year I focus on…
    breathing, letting go of stress, and finding humor in confronting situations

  • Mine is “Consciously Create Success” It is the program I am doing with my clients and of course always do for myself.

    Happy New Year!

  • Mine is “Consciously Create Success” It is the program I am doing with my clients and of course always do for myself.

    Happy New Year!

  • Keep up the good work

    Looking for a mentor, business partner to help with my stress & pain work
    Someone who wants to make money

    Hugs
    Elizabeth

  • Keep up the good work

    Looking for a mentor, business partner to help with my stress & pain work
    Someone who wants to make money

    Hugs
    Elizabeth

  • Hi Mark,

    Cool idea amigo! I like it… sitting here reading this I was trying to think of some inspired way to encapsulate all that I want to move beyond for the coming year. The years of struggle and frustrations that seem to turn into the day in and day out complacency in our lives.

    2010 holds continued Dreams and Visions of success in so many areas…

    * As a father & a husband with the type of quality time I want to be able to have

    * In my career as I plan on the expected plant layoff sometime by Fall/Winter 2010 and the desire to see my efforts for my home based web & marketing consulting to flourish in its place

    * Breaking free from a cycle of health issues for my wife and kids leading to continuous medical bills and taking care of that extra 15 pounds of belly for myself. 🙂

    * Moving from a renter lifestyle of paycheck to paycheck to an ability to transform into a home owner and eliminate the extra baggage of debt and other financial limitations

    * Moving from a day-to-day mindset to a more robust “leaving a mark” or you could say leaving a “legacy” type of lifestyle

    I’m sure most will get the gist of my intent. LOL

    Anyhow, at first I was thinking…

    “2010: The Year of Significant Breakthroughs”

    …but as a more spiritually based theme, I just thought of…

    “2010: The Year of Jubilee”

    This seems to really hit home to the impact I want to see in my work, health, relationships and finances.

    Luke 4:16-22 – “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written (Isaiah 61:1, 2): “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

    Thanks again for the great post and inspiration!

    Many Blessings to you for 2010!
    ~Jerold

  • Hi Mark,

    Cool idea amigo! I like it… sitting here reading this I was trying to think of some inspired way to encapsulate all that I want to move beyond for the coming year. The years of struggle and frustrations that seem to turn into the day in and day out complacency in our lives.

    2010 holds continued Dreams and Visions of success in so many areas…

    * As a father & a husband with the type of quality time I want to be able to have

    * In my career as I plan on the expected plant layoff sometime by Fall/Winter 2010 and the desire to see my efforts for my home based web & marketing consulting to flourish in its place

    * Breaking free from a cycle of health issues for my wife and kids leading to continuous medical bills and taking care of that extra 15 pounds of belly for myself. 🙂

    * Moving from a renter lifestyle of paycheck to paycheck to an ability to transform into a home owner and eliminate the extra baggage of debt and other financial limitations

    * Moving from a day-to-day mindset to a more robust “leaving a mark” or you could say leaving a “legacy” type of lifestyle

    I’m sure most will get the gist of my intent. LOL

    Anyhow, at first I was thinking…

    “2010: The Year of Significant Breakthroughs”

    …but as a more spiritually based theme, I just thought of…

    “2010: The Year of Jubilee”

    This seems to really hit home to the impact I want to see in my work, health, relationships and finances.

    Luke 4:16-22 – “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written (Isaiah 61:1, 2): “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

    Thanks again for the great post and inspiration!

    Many Blessings to you for 2010!
    ~Jerold

  • Marc Harty

    Jerold,

    Glad I could get your good themes flowing! I really like “2010: The Year of Jublilee.” Let
    me know what it’s like to live that theme.

    Happy 2010 and blessings to you as well.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Jerold,

    Glad I could get your good themes flowing! I really like “2010: The Year of Jublilee.” Let
    me know what it’s like to live that theme.

    Happy 2010 and blessings to you as well.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Ken,

    Great theme! I did something similar a couple years ago.
    With all our many distractions today focus is really key.

    (I think all creative and talented people have some form
    of ADD, so focus is key for us, no doubt.) 🙂

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Ken,

    Great theme! I did something similar a couple years ago.
    With all our many distractions today focus is really key.

    (I think all creative and talented people have some form
    of ADD, so focus is key for us, no doubt.) 🙂

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Robby,

    Thanks for connecting with me on this holiday! Thanks for sharing
    your theme. What is the biggest challenge you’ll say YES to in 2010?

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Robby,

    Thanks for connecting with me on this holiday! Thanks for sharing
    your theme. What is the biggest challenge you’ll say YES to in 2010?

    ~ Marc

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  • The Year of Completion!

    Happy New Year

    Glenn

  • The Year of Completion!

    Happy New Year

    Glenn

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  • Marc Harty

    Auriella,

    Is that a theme you can carry over into other areas of your life? That’s the ideal theme,
    one that transverses across business personal and spiritual.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Auriella,

    Is that a theme you can carry over into other areas of your life? That’s the ideal theme,
    one that transverses across business personal and spiritual.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Glenn,

    That’s a winner! I had that very same theme a couple years back.
    Make sure you tabulate exactly what you completed at the end of
    the year — in business, personal and spiritual.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Glenn,

    That’s a winner! I had that very same theme a couple years back.
    Make sure you tabulate exactly what you completed at the end of
    the year — in business, personal and spiritual.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc, thanks for the reminder to put my theme out in front of me. I write for a few online journals and they are always coming out with editorial calendars every month and for the year. They are based around common themes. I am a converted executive coach and university professor who has changed my company’s effort towards assisting small businesses with integrating social marketin tools and tactics (including press releases) into their marketing mix. I have developed 3 college certification programs I will start teaching in Feb. 2010 and will be putting on free workshops at a local Army base for soldiers who are exiting the military. The workshops will be geared at assisting them with starting an online business.

    My theme is to spread good will to as many small business owners as possible by helping them succeed in 2010.

    Dave Hale
    The Internet Marketing Professor

  • Marc, thanks for the reminder to put my theme out in front of me. I write for a few online journals and they are always coming out with editorial calendars every month and for the year. They are based around common themes. I am a converted executive coach and university professor who has changed my company’s effort towards assisting small businesses with integrating social marketin tools and tactics (including press releases) into their marketing mix. I have developed 3 college certification programs I will start teaching in Feb. 2010 and will be putting on free workshops at a local Army base for soldiers who are exiting the military. The workshops will be geared at assisting them with starting an online business.

    My theme is to spread good will to as many small business owners as possible by helping them succeed in 2010.

    Dave Hale
    The Internet Marketing Professor

  • Hi Marc,

    I like your idea. I will be incorporating a “theme” into my goal planning as I set forth on 2010. By the way, I am enjoying your Online PR Made Easy program

    Edina Real Estate

  • Hi Marc,

    I like your idea. I will be incorporating a “theme” into my goal planning as I set forth on 2010. By the way, I am enjoying your Online PR Made Easy program

    Edina Real Estate

  • kiramatalishah

    Marc, thanks for the reminder to put my theme out in front of me. I write for a few online journals and they are always coming out with editorial calendars every month and for the year. They are based around common themesHere is an old rule! If you want to be really successful in affiliate marketing, you ought to drive traffic to your website. The more visitors to the website, the higher the probability of click through. Many affiliate guides forget to mention that it is always prudent to build traffic first and then consider affiliate marketing. There is no magic potion. If there is no traffic, there are no profits. Don’t worry, if you haven’t got hordes of visitors, even a few visitors will do initially. Once these visitors start trickling down the web drain, you can place banners and advertising in appropriate places to get the results. A good affiliate marketer doesn’t care about the number of clicks but on the average number of clicks per visitor.
    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  • kiramatalishah

    Marc, thanks for the reminder to put my theme out in front of me. I write for a few online journals and they are always coming out with editorial calendars every month and for the year. They are based around common themesHere is an old rule! If you want to be really successful in affiliate marketing, you ought to drive traffic to your website. The more visitors to the website, the higher the probability of click through. Many affiliate guides forget to mention that it is always prudent to build traffic first and then consider affiliate marketing. There is no magic potion. If there is no traffic, there are no profits. Don’t worry, if you haven’t got hordes of visitors, even a few visitors will do initially. Once these visitors start trickling down the web drain, you can place banners and advertising in appropriate places to get the results. A good affiliate marketer doesn’t care about the number of clicks but on the average number of clicks per visitor.
    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  • My theme for the year 2010 is “The Year of Success”. My goal is to finally take my business to the offline public here in Savannah, GA and the surrounding area. Taking action is now my most important goal and I will not let anything stand in my way of reaching it. I have always been timid and shy, I am now over that and I am ready to move forward.

  • My theme for the year 2010 is “The Year of Success”. My goal is to finally take my business to the offline public here in Savannah, GA and the surrounding area. Taking action is now my most important goal and I will not let anything stand in my way of reaching it. I have always been timid and shy, I am now over that and I am ready to move forward.

  • Marc Harty

    Hi John,

    I’m glad your are enjoying Online PR Made Easy. Watch for the announcement
    of the “Owner’s Only” Webinar this week. And I look forward to your 2010 theme…

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi John,

    I’m glad your are enjoying Online PR Made Easy. Watch for the announcement
    of the “Owner’s Only” Webinar this week. And I look forward to your 2010 theme…

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks for sharing your theme! I’m curious, if you were to add
    an adjective in front of success, what would it be? Sustainable? Massive? Measurable?

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks for sharing your theme! I’m curious, if you were to add
    an adjective in front of success, what would it be? Sustainable? Massive? Measurable?

    ~ Marc

  • davidbaer

    How To Make money with affiliate programs Today. Affiliate marketing is the easier and probably the most effective method to make money from the internet. It is basically, a kind of selling technique where potential buyers from your website are directed to the websites of sellers. For every click, the website owner gets a small commission.

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

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  • Hey there Marc,

    I would have to add Sustainable and Measurable. I just think they both go hand in hand.

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  • Excelent post!. I’ve been excercising in yoga and now I’m in tai chi… my life is changing doing this techniques. Have some opinion about other techniques?? Thanks!!

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