Is this the Magic Ingredient for 2014?

ID-100161589It’s a Friday night in the late 1980s, I have not long been divorced and it’s my alternate weekend with my three children. They are about ten, eight and six years old.

As they pile into the car, I ask them, “What do you want this weekend to be about?” Craig says, “How about we go for ten times more excitement than we have ever had?!”  Kirsty and Bob immediately agree, “Yeah that would be amazing”, they all say.  The theme is set for the weekend.

It was our usual practice for each access weekend to set up a different theme like this each time.  Invariably, whenever we did, it turned out. When we occasionally didn’t do it, we got what we got.  Nothing wrong, the weekend just lacked something.

We realised there was a profound difference between saying what was going to happen vs. reporting on what had happened to us.  We all learned that if we set the theme first, then we were on the lookout to fit our weekend activities into our theme for the weekend.

A drive to a basketball match for example, became an opportunity to be ten times more exciting than usual.  Of course, it did not escape my children or me that if we could do it for a weekend, then we could do it for the week, month, or the whole year for that matter.

Which brings me to the point of this newsletter.  Now is a perfect time to create a theme for the year.  Have you already wondered what happened to January?  Did the Easter merchandise in the supermarket make you think that the end of the year will be here again in the blink of an eye?

Here are the steps to creating your theme for the year.

  1. Come up with a few possible themes that would inspire you.  Remember your theme is not a reaction to what you did not like about last year but a creative declaration of what you want this year
  2. List your projects and objectives for the first half of the year
  3. List your projects and objectives for the second half of the year
  4. Look for the patterns that connect the projects and objectives with your theme
  5. Create your vision for the year, beginning with the end in mind
  6. Each week look for opportunities to fit your projects, tasks and personal interactions into your theme
  7. Set up a daily process to record your ‘wins.’  For example, the Winstreak app is a good way to help you keep track
  8. Schedule a meeting with yourself at the end of each quarter to acknowledge how you are going with your theme.  Change it if you think of something better

My theme for the year is ‘Buckle Up,’ just like you would if you went on one of the wild rides at a theme park.  I heard a colleague use it and it struck a chord with me.  Some other examples of themes I have heard lately are below:

  • Smashing down barriers
  • Being world class
  • Commitment with a sense of urgency
  • Re-invention
  • Going first class

I would love to hear your thoughts on creating your year.  What is a theme that would be the magic ingredient for your 2014?

Best regards,

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”

– John F. Kennedy –