Going Beyond Resolutions

The turning of the page to a new year brings with it an energy and an excitement for the opportunity to make a fresh start. Resolutions are out in full force, and can be impactful (we wrote about a powerful way to approach them here). However, if you really want to optimize the coming year, tap the power of the annual theme.

In developing your personal theme for the coming year, the format can take one of many forms. It can be a single word (ie, “Pursue”). It can be a brief phrase (3 years ago I went with “Treasure this moment… Optimize the next”).  Or if you’re up for it, you can create a picture to present your theme for the year. A few examples from years past are included down below. While they won’t mean anything to you, they were deeply personal and compelling to me, and may spark an idea for your own theme designs.

2016 marks a landmark for me personally, as I’ll be turning 50 in a few months. While none of us obviously have any idea how many days or years we have left on this earth, I’ve always seen 50 as the start of the “Second Half” or the beginning of “Act II.” As a result, I’ve been pondering the details of my 2016 theme for quite awhile. Here’s the outcome:

Theme - 2016 screen shot

Again, the symbolism I’ve selected won’t necessarily resonate for you, but maybe understanding some of the meaning behind the visual will trigger an idea or two for your own life and theme.  Here are some of the aspects that went into the above theme:

  • The Package: We’ve all been given gifts that take on a variety of forms. However, just receiving a gift is meaningless unless we OPEN it! As I begin “Act II,” it is my goal to open the gifts I’ve been given and make the most of those gifts.
  • The Number 50: As noted above, this year has always held special meaning for me for a variety of reasons. Including it in the theme is an ongoing reminder of that element.
  • The Verse: As a believer, I (imperfectly) make an effort to live my life based on the guidance provided by our playbook – the Bible. Ephesians 5:15-16 puts an exclamation point on the package concept, reminding me to “make the most of every opportunity.” That exhortation will be an ongoing reminder throughout 2016.
  • The Question: “Now?” Gifts are (hopefully obviously) meant to be opened, as the overall theme represents. However, there are some gifts that, if we set them aside to open “later,” may never have the chance to be opened at all. As a Dad, the precious time with our kids will continue to be reduced as they go out in the world and develop their own careers and lives. So, am I opening that gift NOW or assuming it’ll be available later? As an athlete, several of my friends are incredible athletes, but injuries continue to pile up as the years go by. My days of competing at a high level could end at any point, so am I opening that gift NOW or assuming I can set it on a shelf and come back to it in the future?
  • The F-5:  In the midst of opening the gift(s), it’s important to develop all five core areas of life, as ignoring any one of them will negatively impact the other four long-term (more details on the F-5 equation here). Yes – different phases of life may mean placing a greater focus on one or two of the five, but going off the rails with the others in the process has lasting consequences. On the other hand, developing all five also has lasting consequences – and these are the ones I’d like to harvest in the future.

So there you have it – my 2016 theme ready to launch a memorable year!!

Now it’s YOUR turn! 

Here are the examples from past year that were mentioned up above if it helps spur some thoughts as you move forward in developing your own theme for the year ahead:

2015 Annual Theme
2015 Annual Theme
2014 Annual Theme
2014 Annual Theme
2013 Annual Theme
2013 Annual Theme

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