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 themehelps 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.)
Presentingmy 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
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 Tipsfor 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)
- Make the theme short and punchy: no sentences, one to three words MAX.
- The theme should be broad enough to encapsulate personal, professional and spiritual practices.
- 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?
Storyhighlights 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