As a designer (and as a person) I am obsessed with themes, there I said it… I use themes in my designs, in my parties, and in my life planning. I feel that having a party theme, for example, helps us have a clear vision of what we like it to look like, make decisions easier (because who really wants to deal with napkins and food matching, right?), and the outcome is always more cohesive and put together.
Planning our life is not much different. If we choose a “theme” for our upcoming year, it will help us have a clear vision for our lives, make decision making easier and better and help us reach our goals.
Or, as Tony Robbins says, energy flows where attention goes.
Unfortunately, it’s so easy to get sidetracked with daily life and with putting out fires during the year, spreading our focus everywhere except for the things that actually matter. But if we want to reach our goals, we have to have a clear vision and channel our energy towards achieving them. When we do, we become more mindful of each thought and subsequent behavior because we see the bigger picture.
Before the year starts, we can choose a word for the year that will be like our guiding compass or our “life theme”, if you will. The word we choose will set our intention for the year in every area of our lives. It will bring us clarity and direction, help guide our decisions, refocus us when we get sidetracked, and will remind us to continue going when things get tough.
First, list out all the things you want to achieve this year in every aspect of your life. Try to see if there’s a connective thread between them – If you wrote down “work fewer hours” and “take more vacations,” maybe FREEDOM is what you really want. Try Goggling “word of the year ideas” for some inspiration if you need it.
In order for the word to have real meaning, ask yourself questions like:
Moreover, try asking negative form questions and then finding the opposite for it. If you feel like this past year you’ve been controlled by fear, maybe Brave, Fearless or Unstoppable is right for you.
Narrow the list down to words that really resonate with you. Choose one that you know in your heart you REALLY want to have. Go through each word on your list and ask yourself why this word would be a good choice? How will your life be shaped by this concept?
Choose a word that is relevant to more than one aspect of your life. For example, if you want simplicity – it can mean simpler relationships but also a more minimalistic wardrobe.
Open a dictionary or thesaurus and look up your list. Sometimes the definition of a word will seal the deal or will make you cross it off completely.
When you choose your final word or concept, make sure you have a clear vision of this word and its effect on your life. Make sure it FEELS like the right word (you’ll know if it’s not, trust your intuition). Try to see if it aligns with your goals for the year, your values and desires.
Now that you’ve created your word of the year (whoot whoot!!) write it down together with a short, clear description. It can be the dictionary definition of the word you like or of what it means to you. You can even Google your word + “quotes” and find something that will resonate with you.
Now, place it somewhere you can see EVERY single day.
Put it on a post-it on your mirror, print it on your coffee mug, or use it as your phone/computer desktop, as I do.
My theme for 2019 was “explore” which means “travel in or through an unfamiliar country or area in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it” and so it was. This year was full of explorations, walking through unknown territories (physically and mentally), breaking old patterns and habits, and stepping outside of my own conform zone.
I call this year my “buffet year”, where I got to taste small portions of all kinds of things I never thought I would have. I had some amazing experiences, traveled, explored new areas of my life, started my own business, made new friends and questioned (basically everything).
So after a few walks to the buffet of life, today I’m smarter and more focused. I already know what tastes good to me and what doesn’t. Therefore, my theme for 2020 is going to be “achieve”. Its definition is “successfully bring about or reach (a desired objective, level, or result) by effort, skill, or courage. This year I’m focused on achieving exceptional results in all areas of my life!
Consequently, I know that in order for me to achieve the things I want, I need to learn how to say NO to the things I don’t want, become more focused and productive, work on my mindset, learn how to fail but also how not to quite and always surround myself with support.