Having a theme for the year is a great way to stay focused on your vision and your goals. I created a theme for myself at the first of the year, which naturally is a popular time to think about such things.
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My theme is: 2016 Best Year Ever: Abundant, Balanced, Intentional, which sums up my goals and vision, and is descriptive enough that I don’t have to guess what it means. Plus, it’s short and snappy and can be turned into an image that fits nicely on my planner pages, so it’s always in front of me.
Fast Forward Six Weeks
After putting all this thought into creating a great theme to keep me on track for the year, a major change happened in my life. In mid-February, my 27-year corporate job was eliminated. Many of my goals for 2016 had to do with that job and what I wanted to accomplish for the company.
This event could have stalled me. But looking at my theme made me realize that, while my course may have changed, this can and will be my Best Year Ever. In fact, I realize now that my opportunity is so much greater than it was before. I’ve been a writer all my life. Writing for a living has been on my bucket list for years. Now is the time to purse that dream. Writing will make 2016 my Best Year Ever.
It’s Not Too Late to Create a Theme
You may be thinking, “Oh, it’s March. It’s too late. I’ll create a theme for next year.” Don’t fall into the procrastination trap. It’s never too late. It doesn’t matter if it’s March or November, if you are ready to make a change or to ramp up what you already doing, then you should think about creating a theme. A theme will help you get focused on what you want, so that you can start moving forward with clarity and intention. While my theme is for a year, yours might be for a quarter, the remainder of the year, or even for your life.
One Word or a Phrase?
One-word themes are all the rage. There are websites, magazine articles, and Facebook pages devoted to the idea that you should choose one word for the year and scrap your list of New Year’s Resolutions. For me, one word is too fuzzy. I see these posts where people give their one word, like Strong, or Freedom, or Less, but then they have to explain in great detail what that means.
I knew that my theme needed to be more specific and more descriptive in order to capture the message I wanted to send myself. That’s why I chose a phrase complemented by three adjectives that would serve as guideposts to ensure that I was on the path to my Best Year Ever.
You have to go with what works for you. If you can sum up your theme in one word, that’s great. But, if not, don’t feel like you can’t have a theme because “word of the year” is currently in fashion.
How to Come Up with Your Main Theme
Whether you end up with one word or several, the place to start is by reviewing your goals for the year. (You haven’t set goals, you say? That’s okay. There’s no time like the present.) Look for commonalities. Your theme may jump out at you. If not, start brainstorming. Mind-mapping is a great way to do this. There are apps to help you mind map, but my favorite way is with paper and pen. Write some keywords related to your goals on a piece of paper, then start adding words that you think of. Keep playing the word association game until your page is covered. Then go back and look for the words or phrases that resonate with you and circle them. Do you see anything that represents the path you want to travel? Play around with different alternatives. You’ll know when you’ve found the right combination.
Pull it All Together
While you don’t have to create an image to go with your theme, I think it’s a great way to pull it all together. Images, even if they are just words on a pretty background, are more memorable and engaging that plain words. That’s why all those “quote images” are so popular on Pinterest and Instagram.
I created my theme image in Canva, which is a free tool. It’s super-easy to use, because they have backgrounds and fonts that you can mix-and-match to your heart’s desire (Pic Monkey is a great alternative).
I knew that I wanted my image to be short and wide, so that it would fit across the bottom of my planner pages. So, I chose a Leaderboard template.
Then I edited the color to match my Filofax and changed the fonts until I was happy with the image. Easy, peasy. Now I have my theme for the year in a pretty format that I enjoy looking at (and I see it every day, so that’s a good thing).
A personal theme can be the glue that helps you stick to your goals throughout the year. Remember, it’s never too late to set goals or create a theme. Think about where you want to go and what will inspire you to stay on your path. Take your words and turn them into a visually appealing image that you can focus on all year. And if my theme inspires you, feel free to use it! You can download the image, as well.
Let’s make 2016 our Best Year Ever!
P. S. For awesome stock photos, like the one I used in the main image at the top of the post, please visit Ashley Ella Design. She gives away free stock photos and they rock!
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