Let’s begin the year with an admission. I like themes. What can I say, I’m one of those sad sacks who likes (pause for effect) theme parties. I’ve been known, in years past, to host nerd parties, dress-like-your-favorite-dead-celebrity parties, mystery dinner parties, bad prom/bridesmaid dress parties, etc.
That scary confession aside, I do think it’s effective to give yourself a theme for the year. In good storytelling the theme is the through line from which the main message is derived, or the main questions are answered. When it’s a successful theme all key aspects of the story connect back, in large or small measure, to that premise.
When you give yourself an annual theme it becomes a touchstone statement for you to keep coming back to all year allowing your intentions to remain alive. My annual themes invariably have to do with either a mantra that motivates me, an area that I want to improve in my life or a passion that I want to live on a more regular basis. It can be whatever you want it to be.
Over the holiday I read several books, one of which is a great little book that packs a powerful punch written by my new friend, Lawler Kang. In his book, “Passion at Work”, Lawler shares several relatable anecdotes that form the basis of a smart method for finding your work passion. One phrase that caught my eye and is the foundation of my theme for 2010 is “having the time of your life, in the time of your life.” He says that when you can reach the point of realizing that you’re not living the life you want to live or working the work you want to work, it’s the first step toward turning the corner and finding a “different map to guide your boat.”
Here are some things to help you choose your 2010 theme:
- List 10 goals you have for the upcoming year. Look for common themes within these goals. One year my goals centered on booking acting jobs, getting speaking engagements, enlarging my career network circle and getting a promotion at work, so my theme was “Rapunzel’s Coming-out Party,” reminding myself all year to get out of “my tower” and be visible and accessible.
- Think about what riches you want added to your life, perhaps a new relationship or more depth to current relationships. One year my theme was “The Year of the Man.” Nuf said.
- Give yourself a theme song, something that when you hear it, it helps you to focus on your intentions. You can go from sentimental to rocking it out with whatever lyrics, rhythms or song titles do it for you. One year I chose The La’s, “There She Goes,” as my theme song. Another year it was the motivating cadence from Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” that got me going. For 2010 my theme song is “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas.
- What are the passions that you want to focus more time and energy on? Let one of these be your metaphorical guide for the year. Do you like to paint? Give yourself the theme of “Living in Color” to remind yourself to paint which in turn may bring more color to your life in other ways. Or do want to finally finish reading that list of classic literature? Or learn to SCUBA or surf? The year I got certified in SCUBA my theme was “Dream Big, Live Big, Be Big” and it carried me through the year, SCUBA being just the beginning.
I’m at a point in my life where I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. I’m doing what I love and am expecting way more of it this year! And, in the last year I really got that it’s possible and probable.
So, my 2010 theme is, “Live the Time of My Life” with the soundtrack "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas.