Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
What do you hope to accomplish during 2010? How about creating a theme that sums up your goal? A theme is a great, fun way to pinpoint your focus and it helps you to remember your goals in a big, definitive manner.
Your theme is a unifying statement of what you want to accomplish. It’s a slogan or a catch phrase that signifies to you what you intend to bring into reality. It’s your personal tagline. It differs from goal statements in that the theme is a broad, overall statement. Goals are more specific and concrete. Your theme might have several goals that are related to it.
My personal theme for 2010 is “The Year of Paring Down”. This speaks to several goals, both personal and professional. I got a jump start several weeks ago and have already done some “paring down”. I have pared down my magazine collection (giving away several pounds of old magazines), my books, some of my professional duties, and I have pared down several junk drawers. One of the biggest things I aim to pare down is me! I’ve gained some weight the last couple of years and I intend to lose it. I also want to pare down my wardrobe (who needs all those t-shirts?), my files, my bills and the stuff in my storage closet. And, I want to pare down my goals and to-do lists so that I can better focus on the things I want most.
How do you choose a theme? First, either make a list of goals or review the goals list you’ve already created. Take a look at both your personal and professional goals. Look for what some of those goals have in common. Or, look for maybe something that’s in your way, an obstacle that’s preventing you from achieving what you want. What stands out?
I believe in sticking to the positive for choosing and creating your theme. So, my “year of paring down” could have negative connotations, but to me, it’s about focusing and creating space (both mental and physical space) for creating what I want.
Your theme can be anything you want to use as a “guiding force” for the year. When I think about “paring down”, it reminds me not to say yes too quickly to anything. So, I rethink buying anything to bring into my house (and I’ve canceled some magazine subscriptions).
Perhaps your goals include getting more new clients, being more involved in a networking group, reading more books to help you grow your business, eating more veggies. There’s a “more” theme happening here! Maybe your theme is “Say yes to More”.
Or, maybe your goals include spending more time with your family, getting things done in less time, having more energy and finding more time to relax. Your theme could be ‘Success through Balance”.
Maybe you want financial security but you have a compulsive shopping habit or an expensive latte or mani/pedi habit. Your 2010 theme could be “Savings First”. Put a sticky note on your credit card that says “Savings First” so you can see it every time you whip out the card to pay for an impulse purchase.
You can also use a theme to help you get a handle on things that get in your way. Sometimes the most mundane things can be huge obstacles. If you know that having a clean kitchen would make a big difference to you – it would help you get dinner done more quickly, help you relax more in the evenings, etc. – make 2010 “the year of the Clean Kitchen”. It’s a small thing, but it can make a big difference! And, once you tackle something that really bugs you and you nail it, that success spills over into every other area of your life.
Here are some more possible themes for 2010: A Year of Gratitude (to practice being thankful), More Sales to More Customers (to grow your business), Grand Openings (to start your business), A Year of Learning Spanish (or whatever you want to learn), Connections (to grow and improve your connections – to friends, family, business relationships), or Winning in 10 (which you can use for a multitude of goals).
It’s also fine to have one theme for your business or work goals and another for your personal goals. And, you can change your theme as needed. If you find yourself going in another direction or exploring new opportunities, create a theme that best fits you then. And, if your theme is fully realized halfway through the year, create a new one!
Once you choose a theme, it’s a good idea to post it where you can see it everyday. Have fun with it! Create a vision board or treasure map to support your theme. Cut out pictures of what things will look like as you realize your theme. Buy a trinket that symbolizes your theme and put it on your desk. Share your theme with your support people, too and encourage them to come up with their own themes.
Keep a journal where you can review steps you take to reach those goals and live that theme. You can even list steps you need to take to realize the theme, and cross them off as they are accomplished. This will be so much fun to look at as you go through the year and find yourself living your theme more and more.
This is one of my favorite books for learning to create what you want in your life. I’ve been reading and re-reading it for decades now!