Set Your Vision for the New Year

We are coming to the end of another year. This is the last Sunday in 2019; next week is the start of a new decade. Many of us are thinking about our goals and intentions for the new year.

Even if you’re not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions, you can see the value in revisiting your goals at the start of the new year. Yesterday, we reflected on the year gone by, today it’s time to look forward to the new year.

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Yearly Themes

Let’s start by setting a theme for the year. Picking a yearly theme is something I’ve been doing for the last few years. I first learned about it from the podcast “Cortex” with Myke Hurley and CGP Grey. For me, 2018 was The Year of Joy and 2019 was The Year of Balance. I find that setting a yearly theme helps me form my goals for the year and serves as a reminder throughout the year of the intentions that I set from the start.

It often takes me a few days to decide on a theme for the year and even then I always keep it open to change if needed. I’ve found that the year almost picks its own theme. You’ll know when you’ve got the right one. That’s why this post is set to drop a few days before the new year, take your time to find your yearly theme. Here are a few prompts to help:

What do you need more of this year?

Are there any areas that are out of balance in your life?

What are the recurring issue that keep biting you again and again?

What do you want more of in the year to come? What do you want less of?

Use these questions to help you find your theme. It doesn’t have to make any sense to anyone but you. As long as you know what your theme means for you and your life and as long as your theme serves you, you’ve got it.


Now that you’ve got your theme for the year, reflect on the past year with your new theme in mind. How can you set goals that will serve your highest intention? What will you stop doing? What will you start doing? And, what will you continue doing? Stop/start/continue is a great review exercise. I’ve used it for weekly reviews and other retrospectives in the past and I find that the start of a new year is a great time for this tool.

Here’s a quick example for running through it: my theme for 2020 is The Year of Following My Own Star. I will stop looking to the outside for setting the direction of my life. I will start focusing on my own plans for reaching my goals. I will continue to use my weekly look ahead routine. I find that it can be incredibly powerful to have one strong statement for each.

Your Vision

Lastly, set a vision for this year. I find it helpful to choose no more than five areas of focus in my life and set my vision for each of those. You may google a bit and find amazing bullet journal spreads for your “level ten life:” family, friends, career, health, relationship, spirituality, fitness, money, giving, self-care or maybe some other list of ten things you’re supposed to level up and – I suppose – master somehow. Ten is too many. Pick four. Because I know that’s hard, you can pick five at the most. I call these “areas of focus” and and have refined them to these five: relationship, tribe, wellness, physical space and work. Each one represents a major area of my life. Find the four five that are meaningful for you and then let your imagination run wild. What would a great year look like for your physical space? Don’t be humble, don’t hold your mind back, visualize clearly what you want and write it down. I don’t believe in the Law of Attraction but I do believe that you’ll never get close to what you want if you never let yourself imagine it in clarity.

Get to Work

From here, the work begins. New Years resolutions fail because people don’t put real plans or routines or structure under them. Gaining clarity on your intention for the new year is just the first step. The reason I keep stressing that you limit these areas of focus to about five is so that you can remember them as you go through your year. They need to become a part of your natural psyche, as automatic as any habitual thought. When we take on too much we set ourself up for failure. It’s so much better to focus on one goal and see it come to fruition than to try and master ten different areas of your life at once.

Bright Star Coaching will be focused on helping you establish a fitness routine in January. We will cover effective goal setting, overcoming mental hurdles and establishing a routine. That’s how goals are realized. Resolutions aren’t enough.

I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Let’s get started.

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