How to Pick a Theme for 2016

Photo: Devon A. Aragona
The theme of 2016: Purposeful. The list of the things I want to do keeps growing. (Photo: Devon A. Aragona)

Wow…This first week in January has flown by, and to be honest, it was just stressful.

I was so excited for the new year! It meant new beginnings, new outlooks, and a great time to start some new things so naturally, a lot of new projects. It is a fresh start to do wonderful things.

But old habits die hard. My Not To-Do list had very quickly become my need to-do list. I was overwhelmed with all my ideas and trying to figure out how I was going to get everything done that I wanted to accomplish in 2016… and it was only like six days in. I felt overwhelmed and frustrated by everything.

In the midst of all this, I read a recent blog post that one of my best friend’s, Lauren , wrote about taking back your life in 2016 . In it, she talked about something I said to her in a recent conversation. It that went something along the lines of this: “But you have to find a way to look at life differently, in a more joyful and grateful way. Yeah, what you’re fighting is awful and scary, but you’re alive and you get to deal with it.”

As we talked to about how as bad as the bad stuff gets, I thought it was important to remember that we were still alive and had the opportunity to deal with all of the uncertainty and overwhelming parts of life. In her post, she talked about how much this statement She vowed that in 2016, she was going to change her mindset and take back her life.

I sat back and laughed at myself. I needed to take my own advice!

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It is time to start something new and wonderful.

I had learned so much in 2015. I had been faced with a lot of tough questions: What do I want to do with my life? What did I want to get out of life? What was I willing to sacrifice? What were my priorities? What can I not live without doing in life. What do I enjoy? I felt pulled in a lot of directions. There were also a lot of life lessons and tough realizations. So I decided it was time to start applying  my new found knowledge to 2016.

The two things I determined were the biggest lessons:

  • Not letting myself get overwhelmed: More specifically, not being overwhelmed y what I didn’t know, what I wanted to learn, and how much there was to know and grow. I was excited about it and needed to know it all. Right now. But Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  • Being purposeful: I realized that everything I did, even the smallest things, had an impact on my time and on my life.

I have so many interests and ideas and things I want to see and do in life. It is hard to know where to begin sometimes and feel as if I am not accomplish anything fast enough. So I try and do everything at once. That doesn’t work.

In Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s post, he talks about a theme for the year. I really liked that idea.

So I decided that my theme of 2016 is purposefulness.

I need to be conscious of being purposeful about things in my life: the people I see, the decisions I make, and what I do in my everyday life.  The biggest  battle of all is I have to make decisions about my time. I have become more aware of that than ever. It is so easy to simply blink, and my day is gone. Having become aware of how much I wanted to accomplish in life was a fact that was quite overwhelming once I started trying to make time for it all. Prioritizing rather than fantasizing and becoming overwhelmed is an important skill to develop if I want to put my ideas into action.

I started making a list of what I wanted to accomplish or work on in 2016. I also started mind mapping what I wanted both short term and long term in life. It helped seeing everything; even getting the scrawniest of ideas or dreams out so I could start doing something wonderful to work towards learning and doing all these things.

So I ask you now: what is your theme this year? What is the intention behind what you are doing right now?

I encourage you to take some time this weekend, make make a list, mind map, journal, and figure out what it is that you want to accomplish this year and in life. Now, is what you are doing getting you to were you think you want to go? Figure out what you need to do to accomplish those things. How can you be more purposeful about what you are doing in your life? Don’t just promise yourself you are going to do something, start figuring out how you are going to do it.

It’s only week one, you still have plenty of time to start something wonderful.

If you would like to share how you are changing in 2016, want to share your theme of the year, or want to share however you may be taking back your life, feel free to use the hashtag Lauren at Making Life Sweet started for the year: #ABrighter2016. Who knows, maybe you will help someone else find their theme too.

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