A New Year Theme- Do You Have One?

a new year theme“Your problem is to bridge the gap between where you are now and the goals you intend to reach.”

-Earl Nightingale

It seems like just yesterday when we celebrated 2011 as a new year, how time flies. It feels good to know that we passed through and experienced all the joy, troubles and challenges and now have the opportunity to say goodbye to all that and start anew. Like this year, we start every other year expectant and hopeful that the year would be the best year ever. As we know, this is not how the year always turns out to be.

Every year comes with a couple of life assignments for you to take home. These assignments present their own form of trials but your job is to complete and present them at the end of the year for assessment.

How did you do in your previous assignment? Did you achieve all you set out to do?

As for me, the answer to the above question is no, but I had a pretty good grade. It’s a ritual for us as achievers to set New Year resolutions for ourselves. In 2011, mine didn’t live to see the first of February. Why?

1. I set New Year Resolutions and not Goals.
2. I had nothing to fall back on whenever I derailed.

Unlike goals, a resolution is just a firm decision to do or not do something. It’s not an act. It’s like the first phase of goal setting. A resolution only becomes a goal when you develop practical steps to implement your decision. Unless you do this, all you’ll have are a bunch of wishes in your head with no magic wand to grant them.

If you resolve to stop drinking, how do you plan on curbing it?
If your resolution is to curb some habits or develop some values, what are these habits and values and how do you plan on implementing this?
If your goal is to lose weight, what food should you rid yourself of, what are your present weight and your dream weight?

It’ll also help a lot if you write your goals down as this is part of the whole goal setting process. Writing them down is not a guarantee that you’ll achieve them. It’s just for the purpose of remembrance; your brain can’t keep track of everything. Your trying to force it into memory might relocate it to the remote part of your brain which you can only access when you’re, say, hypnotized or at the point of death. I don’t think you want that.


What does a theme have to do with all this? 
There’s always a time when you seem to get off the road to your dreams due to one challenge or the other. When this happens, getting back on that road becomes so hard that you feel that goal wasn’t meant for you. You need something to back up that goal. It could be a word or phrase which you’ll always remember whenever things don’t go as planned.

In 2011, I started a lot of projects, some of which I only did halfway. Because of this, I’ve decided to theme this year “PERSEVERANCE” because I lacked a lot of it last year. I have interesting goals this year and I’ll be disappointed if they are not accomplished. I see a really productive and fulfilling year ahead of me. I wish the same for you.


What’s your theme for this year and how did you come about it? Did you fail to accomplish anything last year that you’re determined to complete this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. Nice write up, Lanre. What you said about writing down goals is so important. It is something I’ve done from childhood and it’s been immensely helpful.

    I don’t really have a theme for this year. I have goals which I started working on last year & will continue to do so.

    One important lesson I’ve taught myself is that I musn’t attach strict time limits to my goals because some things are beyond my control; God has the timing for certain things.
    So I’ll persevere and pursue my goals but at the end of the day, the manifestation of my dreams depends on God’s timing.

  2. @Oluchi Ugwu
    It’s good to know that writing down goals is still a second habit. That’s something that took me a long time to learn.
    Yes, sometimes it’s better to let God have His way. Thanks for your inspiring comment.

  3. Hi Lanre, happy new year to you. Agree we need a theme to keep us focused on that obstacle that keeps us from reaching our goals. Mine is NON-RESISTANCE. To learn to do the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable. When we don’t it leads to procrastination and the time passes and nothing to show.

  4. @Ka
    Yes, having the ability to overcome obstacles even when it seems impossible helps us accomplish more things. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Thanks for the reminder. I KNOW that I should write my goals down. I continue to let them float as ideas that I can go back to and check the status, but I don’t write them down.

  6. Lanre — well put. A resolution without specific steps to achieve it is wishful thinking. Last year at this time, I wanted to lose more weight (a familiar resolution). I teamed up with a good friend and we supported each other in reaching a common goal, giving tips to each other and “weighing in” when we reached intermediate goals. As a result I lost another 25 pounds. My goal this year is to keep it off!

  7. @Coretta
    Just as I said in the post, leaving your goals to float around in your mind might take them to an inaccessible reservoir. It’s always better to write them down. Thanks for your comment.

    @Jeannette Paladino
    Wish you the best in achieving your fitness goal. Thanks for your comment.

  8. I like the way you think, Lanre, and always enjoy reading your posts. I’m now following your blog and have joined your FB page as well.

    No, I didn’t achieve my goals in 2011. There were several external forces that prevented me from focusing on myself and my goals.

    This year it’s: FULL STEAM AHEAD! (my theme for 2012.) No matter what else happens, I WILL complete my chocolate travel book and get it published.

    Happy New Year to you and all the best,
    Doreen Pendgracs

  9. Excellent advise! I always take some time around the first of the year to write down my resolutions — oops goals. Plus I try to set action items. I learned that just saying, lose 10 pounds won’t work, but setting a specific, measurable goal of going to the gym 3 days a week and cutting out deserts, will!

  10. Nice post, Lanre! My theme this year is authenticity. I’ve been spreading myself so thin over the last year by trying so many new things that I don’t think I’ve learned anything well. Everything was much too superficial, and this year I’m going to concentrate my energies on fewer things but hopefully learn to do them well.

  11. I like the idea of a theme because it gives an overarching purpose to each of the task or sub-goals related to your goal. The theme helps keep you focused on the big picture.

  12. @wizardofwords
    I love your theme Doreen. It simply means you’re a train on the way to your destination and there’s no stopping you. In fact, I don’t think you have brakes, do you? Wish you the best in achieving your goals.

    I completely agree with you. Saying it is not just enough, but working towards it is. Thanks for your comment.

  13. I agree setting goals in life is of a high importance whether is bet work related or personal they are definitely the way forward. They act as motivators and mile stones from which you are able to judge your performance by. Goals are all part of planning, as a creative from a graphic design background planning and setting goals is key to the solutions I create for a project brief. It helps me to organise my time in a suitable manor and keeps me on task and focused. I the overall goal for me is usually completing the task within the deadline. I then break that goal into lots of smaller goals which make it much easier for me to handle.


  14. Hi Lanre!
    This post adds all the details for my blog post about goals over resolutions. The resolution is the stating of what you want, making it a goal encircles all of what it takes to make the resolution a reality. Great post!

  15. @shanice-connor
    That’s a good one. Breaking down your goals into bits and achieving those bits one at a time would really help a lot. Thanks for your comment.

    I guess we’re vibrating on the same level. Thanks for your comment.

  16. Lanre,

    Great article as always. I don’t usually do new resolutions or goals really but this year I am doing them and strangely enough I do have a theme for this year and it is “determination.” I have it taped to my laptop and wall to help keep me focused.

    Happy blogging,

  17. @MsJWoodard
    That’s a good theme. I also have mine on my laptop. Thanks for your comment.

  18. I love your blog, the truth is it is important to have a theme for the year! my theme for this year is selflessness and faith in God and myself. keep it up.
    check out my blog,i will def follow urs

  19. @boomie
    I love your theme and I wish you all the best in this new year. Thanks for your comment.

  20. After year 2010, I dropped the “New Year Resolution” thingy. Reason was because my cousin analyzed it for me that they are useless. That he really prefers working with plans and so, we set plans for 2011.

    Since it was my first time doing it, I was ‘almost asleep’ till June 1st when I launched my blog and from there, every other thing kicked off. The last 6 months of 2011 were the most exciting of my entire life and 2012 is already heating up with 6 plans in focus. :-D

    Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Lanre. Nice article! I don’t have a specific theme for this year sha but I guess it screams “Mr. Independence”.

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