February 24, 2016

Yearly Planning

Once a year (usually in January), I sit down and think about my life goals. I reflect on the past year and make some decisions about all the great things I want in the year ahead.


To come up with a yearly theme that sets the stage for your monthly goals and what you want to accomplish. A yearly theme can be a word or a phrase that you choose to define what the next year of your life is going to be. It is an idea that should speak to you and guide you to make more of the choices you think will lead you where you want to go in life and in your career.

Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? Your yearly theme will be the little voice in your head reminding you, every day, where you want to go and helping you get there.

How To Create a Yearly Theme

  1. Set aside a block of time to think.

    Reflect on the past year. What do you want to leave behind from last year? What went incredibly well? What do you want more of in the year ahead?

    Think about the person you aspire to be. Imagine meeting the perfect version of yourself in 5 years. What does that person know that you don’t know yet? What do they do? Who do they know? How do they spend their time?

    Write out lots of ideas. I will be the first one to tell you, mine took forever! It will probably take you a while to work through your ideas and come up with a word or phrase that resonates with you, so don’t try to force it if it doesn’t happen right away.

  2. Jot down your favorites and then come back later.

    You’ll probably have a few top choices for your yearly theme by the end of your brainstorming session. Let them simmer for a while, and revisit the exercise in a few days to see how each of your possible themes feels later on. You may find that one stands out clearly above the rest, or that you want to tweak your top choice to better match your hopes for the year.

  3. Write it down and keep it somewhere you can see it.

    Your theme is only as powerful as you make it! The more often you check in with your theme, the better you’ll be able to judge your own performance and course-correct to make sure you’re still moving in the right direction throughout the year.