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5 Ways Picking A Theme For Your Year Can Keep You Productive

Posted by Katie Bivens on 1/14/16 7:29 AM

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With the New Year already upon us, many people are already struggling to maintain their New Year's resolutions. Truthfully, I've never been very good at resolutions; I usually enter each year with a hopeful anticipation of a better year, but with no real plan. Last year, I decided to change that.

I read an article that encouraged me to meditate on my past year and then use my reflections to help shape the year ahead. One exercise prompted the picking of a theme or a word for the year by looking back at the past and praying for the future. I decided to give it a go. Once I set my theme into motion, the planning of a great year began to unfold.

Here are 5 ways that picking a theme or word for your year can help you stay productive in the new year.

1. It helps you set goals for the year.

Once I had a theme in place, I was able to focus on what goals I wanted to achieve during the New Year. The theme helped me get specific both by focusing on new positive goals and avoiding old bad habits. These goals ranged from "find new opportunities for professional development" to "only say yes to things I really want to do, not the things I feel like I should do." My theme turned into a solid outline for how I would like to see my year go. 

2. It helps you say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things.

Every year, we are all faced with a multitude of opportunities. I usually lean toward saying "yes" too easily and quickly, then eventually finding myself taking on new responsibilities and time commitments that I never really wanted in the first place.

Grounding your year in a theme or word can help you gauge what opportunities are going to be beneficial to you and which ones are going to be a burden. For example, if your theme for the year is "self-care," then before saying yes to an opportunity, you will want to ask yourself if it aligns with your theme. It is better to do only a few things exceptionally well than do many things with mediocrity.

3. It provides you with a different perspective when dealing with challenges.

Setting new goals in motion within the context of a theme gave me a great lens to view my life through for the year. As I was approached with different challenges, I took a step back to think about how I could tackle these within the theme of my year. It helped give me confidence to deal with what was ahead as well as a great strategy to attack problems at hand.

4. It helps you set a destination for your year.

Just with like any good road trip, having a destination at the end is what keeps you driving forward. A colleague of mine once wisely said, "I often wonder why I'm able to think so clearly on a road trip, and it's because I'm not multi-tasking. I'm just driving with my focus on the destination ahead."

Having a destination ahead is what keeps you driving forward.Tweet: Having a destination ahead is what keeps you driving forward. http://bit.ly/1OoIFg6 via @VanderbloemenSG

Let your theme set the destination for your year, and you'll be able to stay focused on the end result you would like to see.

5. It helps you better connect in your quiet time.

When you use a theme as a lens for your year, it will soon filter many of your thoughts and ideas. It can also be a great guide for finding devotionals or scripture readings to focus your prayer life on in the year. Since your theme or word is something you took time to meditate on and pray about for your year to come, it makes sense to weave it into your daily quiet time as well. Before your year begins, take some time to select some scripture and verses that will be yours for the year.

What is your theme for the new year?

If you liked this, then you'll also enjoy How Church Leaders Can Get Healthy For The New Year.

Topics: Senior Leadership

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