So, What IS a New Year’s Theme and WHY Is It So Amazing?
I was turned onto this idea while planning for 2020 last year. Calendar and stickers in hand, my best friend and I went at it. Learning from a webinar and listening for God to guide our steps, this magical picture came so fully into view that both of us got a surprise in what our themes were for the year. It was #mindblown in that conference room!
In the past, I’ve set goals like many of you. I never really saw it deeper than that. My friend never really saw it deeper than that. Of course we have a word of the year, but a theme? Could a theme be the glue that holds our goals together for the year? Yes!
Instead of looking at my year with just a bunch of boxes to check, it’s MOTIVATING and EXCITING to be able to meditate on my theme. It's a way for me to see my goals and dreams come to fruition. I'm so excited to be able to share this with you all, and I hope this helps you moving forward in your own lives. 😊
A New Year’s theme is similar to a "Word of the Year", but instead of focusing on one word (because let's face it - life isn't that simple) it's a phrase that reflects your goals for the year. It's also particularly geared toward this season in your life. What does this mean?
It means that we are all in different stages of our lives (both personal and professional), and a person might be in a "fall" season of their professional life (reaping the harvest of hard work) while being in a "winter" season personally (there are difficulties, depression, losses, etc.). A single person isn't likely to be in the same season for all the areas of their life, and is less likely to be in the same seasons as the person next to them. We're all different.
So, we might need more than one word (but less than a large bulleted list) to express how we want our year in 2021 to go based on the season we are in and the dreams we have. Are you wondering how you can do this, or even why you should do this? Let's start with why you should do this.
Why Should I Transform My New Year's Goals Into a New Year's Theme?
How many times have you started a new year with a long list of things you want to accomplish? It might look a lot like a bucket list, but instead of being spread out over the span of a lifetime it's condensed into a single year. Have you looked at your list since you made it? This early into 2021, I bet you've looked at it a few times.
Does it make you feel good, or do you feel a little overwhelmed with how you can even start on the path to accomplishing ALL of those goals? I hope that you've gotten off to a good start and that you keep at it! But let me ask you a probing question: how many times in previous years have your goals fallen to the sidelines when life (and old habits) sink back in? Yup. Right here. I’m raising my hand too. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another.
But how does that make you feel at the end of the year? Not accomplished, that's for sure. Hand still raised over here. Cue the chocolate.
That doesn't mean you didn't accomplish anything during the year, but most of what you ended up doing probably didn't look much like your original list of goals. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a list simplify that list into a phrase! (Make sure you go back and read that “simplify” in a long soft salesy voice.) 😉 Setting up those goals into a compact theme of the year can help you stay focused on the bigger picture. And let’s face it, the monkeys can’t escape the circus in a compact car (theme). Just don’t let them drive. I hear they are bad drivers.
How Can I Transform My New Year's Goal Into a New Year's Theme?
If you've already made a list of goals you want to accomplish for 2021, that might be a good place for you to start! Look at each goal and see if you have more than one that are so similar they could go into a category. Maybe even a one word theme.
Instead of listing all the fitness things you intend to do in a big bucket list of overwhelm, put it under a common category. Such as “self care.” Or “get ripped!” There are two themes already!
Once you've picked out a couple of those categories start looking at the bigger picture. If you haven't, write down a few things you really want to accomplish this year. Big or small, look at the words that you've written down. Do you see a theme among them? Can you make a cool catch-phrase within that theme? Now it’s time to envision!
A new year's theme can be applied to many (if not all) areas of your life. Envision yourself at the end of 2021. After you've accomplished all of those goals, who are you and how do you feel?
Let me give an example: Carol has 5 goals for 2021; lose weight, save money, prioritize self-care, be more social, and start a new hobby. When Carol envisions herself at the end of the year, she's healthy and thriving after accomplishing all of those goals. So, when Carol looks at her goals a common theme among them that resonates with her might be: "Become Healthy and Thriving". This gives Carol the opportunity to take her theme and place it in small actions steps in her calendar throughout the year to achieve her goals. NOT with a bulleted list haunting her, but with a theme behind her. Pushing her, motivating her, working in unison with her. (Go Carol!)
A theme isn't random, and it isn't a word that is generated for you. It's very personal. How do you see yourself at the end of the year? Who do you want to become? Do you see a new direction emerging in your life? These are all things to consider, but be positive and use action words. Action words are a subtle reminder for us to take action in order to achieve our goals.
What Happens if My New Year's Theme Fizzles Mid-Year or Doesn't Really Fit My Goals?
What happens if Carol doesn't meet all of the specifics of her goals? Maybe she loses 30 pounds instead of 75, saves $400 instead of $1,000, only managed to self-care a few times, went to 3 social functions instead of 10, and started dance class but couldn't afford to continue. Hey, life happens. Did Carol accomplish her goals? Not exactly….BUT…
Carol still " Became Healthy and Thriving" at the end of the year! She built habits and created a new system to reach her goals! Does she feel defeated that her goals didn't go exactly as planned? I hope not! Carol still tried to reach her goals, but instead of putting pressure on herself with a specific list Carol lived into the theme of "Becoming Healthy and Thriving". Themes allow us the freedom to fail and try again. Nobody is perfect. Read that again. Freedom!!!
“But Nicole! My goals don’t fit with the others, and I can’t get a theme to come up!” Hey, not an issue at all. Don’t force your theme. Take a moment to look at those individual goals and really assess how important they are to you.
Did you add them because you want to accomplish them, but don't really care if you do (hey, you've got goals though, am I right?)? Or are you driven and passionate about reaching your goals? Only those goals you are truly passionate about should be on your list anyway. Those you feel "meh" about, toss. They aren't serving you or the life you really want.
Then meditate on those goals and picture them working with you. Picture them in a theme. A common saying people use is the “New year, New Me.” Although, we are SO tired of seeing that one (hahaha!) it IS still a theme. Just don’t use that one, you creative devil you. Be a little more specific than that. *wink wink* 😉
Now, look at the goals that are left and reassess any common themes you see among them. You might find more than one! That's okay. Try to narrow it down to the phrase that resonates with you the most.
The point of having goals is the inward and outward transformation process that happens as we strive toward them. We challenge ourselves, stretch ourselves, and hopefully become better versions of ourselves! Having a theme instead of a strict list gives us the choice to practice the grace of forgiving ourselves if we fail to meet our exact goals. Which, in turn, allows us to practice forgiveness (instead of judgement) for others when those around us do the same thing.
And I think we could all do with a little more of that, don't you?
Wow! This is Pretty Cool! I Have My Theme Now! What Next?
Great! Now look for ways you can incorporate that theme into your every day life. How can you add things to your daily schedule that will help you LIVE your theme?
My prayer is that you look back at the end of the year proud of all you accomplished even if something didn’t take off in the way you wanted or intended it to. Remember that God’s timing isn’t always our timing and that there are beautiful lessons to be learned (those difficult lessons are beautiful too when you look back 😉 ).
Grab a partner to help you keep your theme alive. Someone who can remind you of your theme and help motivate you throughout the year. Take those small actions steps and each month you will find yourself transforming yourself as you achieve your goals.
My question is, where has this been all of my life??!?!!!?!?! I am looking forward to going on this journey with you! Here’s to a new way to reach our goals! Let me know what you come up with in the comments. Rooting for all of you!
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Hi! In case you don't know me, my name is Nicole Adamz, and I'm an indie-author. What does that mean? It means that I write stories, and I decided to go into business for myself! It's a pretty cool and scary (okay, sometimes mostly terrifying) ride. :)
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