How to Create Your Theme and Guiding Words
Why Should I Create a Yearly Theme and Guiding Words?
Every year I spend the month of December (and often until the end of January) quietly pondering my year and asking myself some key questions so that I can step foot into the new year feeling more and more aligned with who I truly am. I move through the process of reviewing the past year, settling into how I feel at the moment, and looking forward to what I'm being drawn to for the next year.
This process is a combination of cathartic release, pure joy, and everything in between.
Let me ask you something. Are you feeling out of sorts? Are you feeling disconnected - not like yourself?
You're not the only one.
More and more we are hearing the call for connection - a deep yearning for a sense of community within ourselves, our personal circle, the places we live, the broader aspects of humanity, and the Universe.
There's also a sense of feeling like we're a broken record - looping through our daily to-dos over and over again with no real direction.
By moving through the process of setting your theme for the year and developing your guiding words you create a compass. This compass is there for you as you find your way in the dark. It helps to bring you back to your intuition by creating space in your life.
How? By giving you a benchmark to which you can test everything in your life. You ask yourself, "does this align with my theme and guiding words?" If it does then you can move forward knowing you're aligned with your intentions this year. If it doesn't, then it gives you the opportunity to question its short- and long-term value.
How to Create Your Theme and Guiding Words
The following questions are examples of ones that I ask myself. I encourage you to use them all year long.... halfway through the year to press the "reset" button, or as a quarterly review, as a monthly check-in, or after a particularly eventful period of your life. It's open to you to use as you need it.
Want to see all of the questions I ask myself when choosing my theme + guiding words?
What I bringing into the next year and beyond?
What am I leaving behind?
What am I doing now that contributes positively to my wellness?
What am I doing now that contributes negatively to my wellness?
How do I want to feel in my body?
How do I want to feel in my mind?
How do I want to feel in my spirit/heart?
I sat with these questions for two months (yes, two months). For me it's important to take this process easy - to sit with my answers, observe my thoughts, and listen to my intuition.
And then it came to me: I'm feeling called towards slowing down - feeling more ease and relishing in what is near and dear to me. Hence my theme for this year - SIMPLICITY - and my ways of being - FLOW, SAVOUR, NOURISH, and SPACIOUSNESS.
None of this is shocking. I frequently talk about the value of simplicity and the importance of nourishing our mind, body, and spirit. The revelation that I had was how my love of the concepts of flow, spaciousness, savouring, and nourishing all were dependent on simplicity.
With simplicity I have the time and energy to do what brings me into a state of flow.
With simplicity I have the time and mindset to savour the bouquet of sensory beauty around me. Making coffee ends up being more than just making coffee. I breathe in the smell of the freshly ground coffee beans. I watch the thin layer of crema form during the first pour of hot water (I only brew pour-over coffee). I listen to drip of coffee as it lands in the pot below. I feel how my hands warm as I hold my favourite oversized handmade mug full of the freshly brewed coffee. I taste the decadent rich tones of the first extraction of coffee (this is my favourite cup of the whole day).
With simplicity I make nourishment of my mind, body, and spirit a priority. I create meals that support my health. I move my body for health and inner connection. I make room for spiritual practices that foster a connection within me and with the Divine. I spend time with people who fill my cup of loving energy.
With simplicity I have literal space in my surroundings (read: less stuff) and metaphorical space in mind and heart.
By regularly aligning my thoughts and actions with my guiding words I necessarily begin to adjust towards my theme. By prioritizing flow, savour, nourish, and spaciousness, I necessarily simplify my life to provide more time, energy, and space to make it happen.
Yearly Theme versus Guiding Words
As you can see, simplicity is my theme. It's the big idea - the overarching intention or goal that I want to focus on for the year.
My guiding words are the actions/feelings/ways of beings/desires that support the theme. They're the smaller components - the building blocks - that I'm going to focus on to support me in living my theme throughout the year.
Want to create your own theme and guiding words?
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What do I do with my theme and guiding words?
You've got your theme and guiding words all set. Great! Now it's time to do something with them. You're probably asking yourself one of these questions:
How do I keep my theme and guiding words top of mind?
How do I infuse my theme and guiding words into my daily life?
What do I do when I get off course? What do I do when I forget about my theme and guiding words?
These are all great questions and very important ones to ask.
How to Infuse your Theme and Guiding Words into Daily Life
Below are some ideas for infusing your yearly theme and guiding words into your life.
- Create a vision board that includes your theme and guiding words along with images that visually represent what each of those words mean to you. This could be a cut-and-paste project with paper or a digital product using a program like Canva. If you decide to go the digital route, make sure to have it printed so that you can a physical copy. Put the vision board in a place that you'll see on a regular basis and schedule in your calendar reminders to move this vision board on a bi-weekly or month basis so that you continue to see it. (When something becomes too familiar we don't notice it as often anymore.) If you have a digital version then you can also create a wallpaper for your computer or smart phone.
- Create a Pinterest board of inspiring pictures, quotes, and graphics that align with your theme and guiding words. Look at the board periodically to remind yourself of your intention for the year.
- Program reminders in your calendar that ask you about your theme and guiding words. For example, you can ask yourself, "Am what I'm doing (right now / today) aligned with my theme or guiding words?" Or perhaps you can ask yourself, "What can I do today to feel aligned with <insert your theme or a guiding word>?" Do you have a smart phone or a computer? Schedule reminders that pop up on your screen at whatever frequency you think will be best for you (e.g. daily, weekly, bi-weekly). Do you tend to prefer analog forms of communication? Write the questions out in your planner or on your wall calendar.
- Write your theme and guiding words along with what each looks like in action on sticky notes and place them around your house. Like the vision board printout, don't forget to move these periodically so that you can notice them.
- Have you heard about how words (spoken or written) can impact the structure of your water? (The research is fascinating. Truly. I encourage you to look into the research of pioneer, Dr. Masaru Emoto.) Write one of your words on a piece of paper and tape it to your water bottle. Cycle through your words however often you feel called to or ask yourself in the morning which word you need to focus on for the day.
- Write out your theme and guiding words along with what these look like in action. (A word doesn't mean much unless you know what it looks like to live and breathe it.)
Now I turn it over to you. Do you have a theme and/or guiding words? I would love to hear about them and what you do to make them a reality. Let me know in the comments below.
Need some help creating your theme and guiding words?
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