a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc.
When I was in first grade, my family moved. I went to two different first grades, in two different states. In my short seven years of living, that year seemed as though it was an unusually long year. Everything took forever to arrive; most distinctly, summer vacation. In second grade, I was just in one school, and subsequently the year seemed to fly. I recall my dad and I having a conversation on the subject as we headed home from my last day of second grade. I was telling him how fast second grade had gone. I clearly remember him listening to my observation and then saying,
“Sara, it just keeps getting faster. You won’t even believe how fast it goes when you get to be my age.”
Now, I’m not sure how much of the truth of what he said actually resonated with my eight year-old self. But, boy have those words rung true more and more with each passing year.
Resolutions, Goals, and Dreams, Oh My!
As we are nearing the end of yet another year, I find myself once again reflecting on this past year, and looking forward to the year ahead. Those words of my father’s certainly are ringing true. I feel like it was just not that long ago that I was doing the same thing last year. The years truly seem to be slipping by more quickly. And that makes me want to be even more thoughtful around trying to figure out how to set the best course for 2016.
As I shared last year in my New Year article in Elephant Journal, A Work in Progress: New Year’s Resolutions with a Twist, as we get older many of our goals carry on from one year to the next. Often, this is because they are larger pursuits to bring more meaning to our lives, and that can’t always be accomplished and maintained in one calendar year. And…well…that’s alright. In fact, it’s a good thing.
I know that next year, I will be continuing forth on many of these larger pursuits. But, I also felt the need to add a little something new, and that is how I decided 2016 is getting a THEME!
A New Year’s Theme
I thought in this post, I’d share with you my thinking and process around this, and I’d like to invite you to join me in giving 2016 your own theme. Of course you may tackle some of your own personal goals or resolutions as well, but let’s make a theme part of next year. Maybe then we might embark on this little project together. C’mon, it’ll be fun!
So, why a theme?
It’s easy, it’s fun, and it gets down to the essence of something I want more of next year. Plus, I’m keeping it seriously simple. I am bringing it down to Three Actionable Steps. Yup, just three. Now, when in doubt, I am going to to move towards my theme in decisions and actions, and I plan on revisiting it many times this year; so who knows how big it might really grow. But to begin, I’m keeping it nice and easy. Ok, are you ready?
Let’s get our theme on….
I decided to assist my task this year with a one-page worksheet to help get focused and as an easy way to revisit my theme as the year unfolds.
Drum roll, please……the worksheet.
Step #1: Pick a Theme
I decided this year my theme would be CREATE.
As I mentioned above, I have life goals that reach a little deeper, that will be continuing this year. I chose my theme simply because it is just something I love to do, and I don’t do enough. Every single time I sit down to write, or I make something, or I get messy, and get lost in a project, I’m happy. I adore the feeling of seeing words come together on a page, or a product appear from parts. I love how my brain tunes out the world for a bit and focuses. Simply put, I want more, more of it in my life.
What do you want more of in your life? Fun, calm, exploring, learning, relationships, connections, laughter, travel, organization, joy? There’s no right answer. Whatever you want more of should be your theme. Don’t worry about picking the exact right one, just pick one that feels good. Do you have it? Good job. Ok, Step #2….
Step 2: Why?
Just write a quick little blurb for yourself about why you picked your theme. It’ll help you stay focused.
“It makes me happy to be creative, make stuff and write, and I don’t do it enough right now.”
Step 3: Brainstorm
Set a timer for two minutes and just write down every single word that pops into your head. No judging. Write them all. If cow pops in, write cow. You get the point. You’ll sort through your words in Step 4. So right now, just brainstorm. This whole worksheet is just for yourself. It doesn’t have to go or look any certain way, it just has to get done. Ok, how are you doing? Are you with me?
Step 4: Verb it!
Go through your words and pick out any verbs and write them down. This is what will help you focus on actions in the next step.
The verbs that came out for me were: Draw, Paint, Write, Learn, Think, Make, Do, Knit, Cook, Share, Try
If you didn’t get a lot of verbs, pick words from your list that could inspire an action. OR, figure out verbs that would help you achieve your favorite words.
Step 5: Three Actionable Steps
Use your verbs to create three actions that you will actually DO this year. DO being the key word; not things you want or hope for, but things that have action.
This upcoming year, my Three Actionable Steps are (Note the verbs):
1. I will LEARN/TRY a new way to create every month. (e.g. from a class, a book, a video, a friend, etc.)
2. I will MAKE 10 products this year. (As in complete projects…I’m bad at that part. I’m an excellent starter. The completing…meh.)
3. I will WRITE every week. I will plan and schedule a time for it at the start of each week, as I would meetings, and stick to it.
That’s all…three. See, super simple. Don’t get over-zealous here. If it feels right, and you are accomplishing your steps, you can reflect and grow, and add as the year unfolds, but start simple. That’s the beauty of a theme….reaaaaal simple!
AND, last but not least….
Step 6: Resources
Start a list of resources that will help you achieve your goals. Do you have a friend you could reach out to? Is there someone doing things like you’d like to? Ask them about it. People love the compliment, and are usually happy to help. Is there a book that was recommended to you, or an article you saved? How about a group you might join? If you don’t have any resources…Google! Get some ideas that can help you succeed. This section is a work in progress. Add to it when new ideas come your way, and they will. Because….THIS is your THEME. Draw it to you!
What do you think? Are you in? I’d love for you to join me. Let’s bring more of what we want into our lives, let’s make a space for it, a time for it, and a plan for it. Join me!
Please comment below or in the comments on Facebook; let me know what your theme will be. I’d love to hear!
In the meantime, have a very, VERY Happy New Year friends!