This time of year you hear a lot of talk about New Year’s Resolutions. Do they work? Don’t they? Everyone has a theory. I’ve written about methods I recommend for creating a successful New Year’s Resolution in the past. And, of course, I’ve written a ton about setting goals and creating plans.
But this year, I’m going to try something a little different for myself. See, over the last few years, I’ve noticed that my years seem to have themes. The theme isn’t readily apparent at the beginning of the year, but I can usually identify the theme by mid-year. Some years have been about health. Others have been about family and relationship. Some years I’ve really focused on my business.
But whatever the theme turns out to be, it hasn’t really been a conscious intentional choice on my part.
So, this year, instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, I’m choosing a theme intentionally and then I’m going to use that theme as a focusing tool as I go through the year. Rather than letting the theme choose me in an unconscious way – I’m picking my theme for 2018 and using that as my guide for my goals, my time management, my choices. And I invite you to come along on this journey with me.
How to Pick a Theme
I’ve spent the last few weeks asking myself:
- What do I want this coming year to be about?
- Where do I want to put my focus?
- What kinds of endeavors do I intend to pursue and is there a common motif, topic, question or issue?
- What opportunities are showing up for the new year – and again – is there a common theme?
When I looked at it from this perspective, the theme became really clear to me – 2018 will be about education – my own learning and myself as educator. (Stay tuned for some cool announcements about the opportunities aspect of this.)
So, what is your theme? What will your coming year be about? Please share with me in the comments!
Use Your Theme as a Guideline
So, great, you have a theme. Now what?
Set Your Goals
I recommend posting that theme where you will see it often. Then, sit down and make your goals for the coming year, and work backwards so you have quarterly goals. As you’re considering your goals, ask yourself, “Are these aligned with my theme? Do they share a focus?”
If your answer is, “No!” Then ask yourself:
- Is this a “should”? (If it is, what do you want to pursue?)
- Is this truly something I’m committed to for the coming year?
- Could I reframe this goal in light of my theme? (This might just be a language reframe, but it could also be a complete shift in focus.)
- Is this goal an outlier? (If it is, do you want to put the energy into it this year? And if so, how will you make sure you get to it? So often we make outlier goals, but we just don’t get to them. Because … outlier)
Not to say that you can’t have goals that don’t fit perfectly within your theme – but I think you’ll find this a useful tool of inquiry.
Create Your Time Structure
Now that you have a theme and goals – you need to set up your days so you actually work on them! For me, I will need to build time into my schedule for activities like:
- Study, reading and class projects (for me as student)
- Research (both as student and educator)
- Class Content Creation (both for Debra Russell Coaching as well as upcoming teaching opportunities)
- Writing (Blog, book, articles for others)
When I first started thinking about this, I felt really resistant and overwhelmed. But when I put it in context of my theme for the year – I found myself actually anticipating spending my time this way. I came into alignment with the demands instead of overwhelmed by them.
Support and Accountability
Now that you know your themes and your goals. And you’ve created a plan for how you will incorporate this focus into your day-to-day life. You will need to find ways to be disciplined and maintain your theme focus through out the year. I recommend:
- Working with a coach (I mean, you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?)
- Accountability partners (perhaps meeting once a week, perhaps more frequently)
- Sharing your intention and focus with your significant other, family and business team.
- Checking in at the end of each month and each quarter – how did you do? Did you maintain your plan? What are your goals for the next month/quarter?
It will be important in the coming year to manage other people’s expectations of you – as you make this shift into clear focused action. Particularly if you work from home and/or others are used to you being available or easily distracted by what they want you to focus on.
Remember the best way to manage other people’s expectations is to under-promise and over-deliver. Teach them to expect less. And then when you can, you surprise them!
Can you see how choosing a theme goes way beyond setting New Year’s resolutions? I’m really curious, myself, to see how I do with this. And I’ll be curious to hear from you what theme you choose and how it goes for you – please share in the comments and check back over the year to let me know how you do!
Create Mastery in Your Business for 2018
If your Theme for 2018 is taking your business to the next level or improving your systems (such as time management, finances, marketing, etc.) Let me help you make 2018 your BEST YEAR EVER!
Toward that end, I am running a ridiculous sale on the Marketing & Business Mastery Lab for a limited time!