As we wrap up 2016 with a bow, we look forward to receiving a new year. 2017 is just days away. There is a gift in a new beginning (which we can have anytime of the year) that I find delightful. As we are in the final days of December and approaching a new moon on December 29, 2016, this is a great time to start a new chapter, a project, or any new beginning.

This is also the time that I start reflecting on my past experiences. Did I live as BOLD as I wanted (my theme-of-the-year)? I did accomplish quite a bit. Highlights include: taking a trip across country, meeting and bonding many new people, connecting with long-time friends, having my artwork published in an adult coloring book, and teaching live on-line.

I enjoyed choosing a word/theme for 2016. Choosing a word/theme for the year has become a regular practice for me. I have been doing this since December 2009. Unlike a resolution, the word/theme gives my year a bit more momentum, a special energy that carries me through all my goals and intentions for the year in a more meaningful way.

How did I choose this WORD/THEME for the year? First, I think back to my past intentions and experiences as I meditatively doodle. Let me break this down in steps. Here are the guidelines I have used with myself and my life coaching clients.

How to generate your word or theme for the year:

FIRST do a creativity warm-up: GET some blank paper and favorite writing or art supplies. Spend about five to ten minutes creating 2 doodle/art pieces in whatever art/writing materials you enjoy using (markers, crayons, watercolor, gel pens, et cetera). In the first doodle create something that….”sums up your past year” The second doodle create something that… “honors your hope for the new year.” Allow images instead of words to pour onto the page if possible. The doodles do not need to look like anything. Express your past year and your hopes for the new year with lines, shapes, and colors. You may even want to close your eyes as you doodle.

NOW you get to generate your WORD/THEME of the year: GET a notebook, journal or paper and your favorite writing implement. Respond to the following questions and prompts:

  1. “What are some things I would like to change about myself and circumstances or what goals do I have (for the new year)?”
  2. “What distracts me from making the change or reaching my goals?”
  3. “What successes did I have and/or what were my best moments this past year?”
  4. “How did regret play a part, when my past goals/resolutions were not achieved?”
  5. “What are my limiting beliefs and resistance?”
  6. Explore the limiting beliefs and resistance, “What would my loving spirit (or my best friend) say regarding these beliefs?”
  7. Focus on the vision/dream and not regret. Regret is a non-motivator. Instead zero in on the question: “How do I really want to be?” Fully consider your character and spirit…you get to be extremely honest with yourself. Create a list of characteristics, describe the traits and motives of the person you would like to become. Fill the page with words/phrases without self-editing it.
  8. Now, cut down the list. What words/phrases resonate the least with you? Use a pencil to strike out the words/phrases that do NOT produce strong feelings with you until you have TEN or LESS words left on your list. You can also rank each with numbers (for example: 0 = no feeling, 1 = little feeling, 2 = some feeling, 3 = strong feeling); keeping only the words/phrases that ranked the highest; if you have more than 10; take those and rank them to eliminate more.
  9. With the ten (or less) words/phrases on the list…research them on-line, in a dictionary, in the Bible/other spiritual books, or any other reference. Set the list aside for a period of time. Reflect, meditate and pray on them. Ask for clarity and guidance. The list will get shorter as you “weigh-in” on each word/phrase and the implication/role it will have in your life. Continue to pray and meditate that one word/phrase will surface above the rest as “THE ONE WORD/THEME” to focus on this upcoming year…and it will. (If more than one word/phrase resonates strongly with you; then combine them for the year…there is no right or wrong way, only your way.)
  10. Now for some creative fun…once you have “THE ONE WORD/THEME” find magazine pictures, images, the actual word/phrase in magazines and other printed materials, letter stencils, stamps or stickers to incorporate into an ART PROJECT. You can also incorporate the creativity warm-up doodles into the background of your ART PROJECT. This will give you a visual reminder of your one word or theme for the year that you can display in a prominent area in your home or at work.

With 2017 quickly approaching, a word/phrase/theme for the year is a great way to begin it with a renewed energy. There is no pressure or obligation in fulfilling a goal. Instead, you choose a way (the word/phrase/theme) to be as you experience life. I have found in choosing a theme for the year, I have gotten more out of my year than I would have if I had made a “resolution”. Here is to the gift in a new beginning.

All rights reserved. ©2016 by A. K. Orobko


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