Every year, like so many of us do, I choose a theme for the incoming year.
It’s something I get excited to do, and I’ll spend the last few weeks of the year thinking about what will be the most beneficial for me over the upcoming 12 months.
Most years, by February it’s completely out the window.
However in 2019, I felt like I did a good job of continuing to circle back to my overarching theme which was engagement.
When you’ve been blogging for over a decade, it’s easy to go through the motions and lose sight of what got you here in the first place.
So I really wanted to be diligent about not only truly connecting with my readers and Academy members, but also engaging in other aspects of my life.
Spending more quality time with friends, engaging in things deliberately rather than passively, and making time to form the connections that mattered.
I certainly wasn’t perfect in this quest, but I feel like in setting the intention for this 12 months ago, it truly did allow me to keep it in the forefront of my mind and pursue this week in and week out.
Video: My Theme for 2020
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Themes I Considered for 2020
So with all that in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about what theme makes the most sense for me in not only this new year, but this new decade.
There are a lot that I’ve thought through, but in the end I narrowed it down to just a handful.
Here are a few of the ones that I’ll continue to think about in my life, but didn’t quite make sense for such an overarching goal.
When I first began thinking about 2020 the word craft is the one I kept coming back to.
I’m fortunate in that I have a lot of hobbies, and I do a lot of things.
But in doing that I tend to 80/20 a lot of stuff. I get them done, but I don’t always do them well. And in many cases, I rarely make a conscious ever towards getting better.
I’m obsessed with making cocktails, but I haven’t really refined the craft.
I shoot a lot of video, but I haven’t truly embraced the idea of being a “filmmaker” or studied the things that could make my YouTube videos much more effective, entertaining, and visually stimulating.
I play guitar, but I never practice guitar.
I’ve written hundreds of blog posts, but I rarely write anything truly fresh and thought provoking.
I do the 80 20.
I get it done, and I do it well enough.
But I don’t do anything great.
And that’s where the word craft comes in. Honing my craft. Embracing my craft. Getting better at the things that are most important to me.
You could also look at it another way, choosing craft over mass market. Taking the time to do a fresh pour over coffee, rather than a Keurig.
Good beer, less often vs. a rack of Coors Light.
Fewer, but more high quality things.
So I’ll be keeping this in mind in 2020 and the coming decade, but it didn’t feel all encompassing enough for my overall well being and success to be the word.
If you were to ask me what my one biggest failure is over the course of the last decade is, I wouldn’t necessarily be able to point to any one specific thing.
Generally speaking most things I’ve set out to do have gone at least ok.
My answer would rather be around my systems, or lack thereof in both my business and personal life.
I’m great at starting to create systems.
Things that make sure we stick to a dependable and predictable content calendar.
A plan for eating and exercising that makes it difficult to fall off the wagon and get out of shape.
Systems for making sure we continue to bring in new members and sales on a regular basis and provide value to the different people seeking it.
But all too often within weeks, errr, days, ahem, sometimes even hours – those systems are out the window and I lose that consistency.
You live and die by the systems you create.
And I may not be giving myself enough credit. I’ve clearly done something right to get to the point where I am.
But I constantly find that I’m beating myself up over the systems I’ve wanted to create in life, but simply haven’t.
I’ve spent the last week really trying to hone in on the things I can implement that will have the greatest impact on my life.
I’ve been overhauling our content calendar inside Asana.
I’ve been nailing down a manageable workout routine to ensure it gets done.
I’ve been mapping out my goals for the new year and setting check in points to make sure I’m on track.
One of the biggest things I’m committing to this year is implementing better systems – and I know if I’m successful, I’ll see the ripple effects across all aspects of my life.
But that isn’t the theme for 2020. I’m hopeful that if I do things right, I’ll be able to set these up over the coming weeks and then go into maintenance mode with them, and have them be second nature.
But the word I did decide on will be crucial to my ability to follow through with that goal.
This is the word that my wife Tate chose for 2020 – and I really like it.
I look back fondly to the days where I moved to Thailand with nothing but a North Face day pack. I had 5 days worth of clothes, a laptop, a camera, and $200 studio apartment that had nothing more than a bed, a dresser, a table, and a bathroom.
It was simple.
These days, life feels more complicated.
Since the days of having next to nothing, I’ve truly embraced my maximalist tendencies.
I have a house full of stuff. My computer screen is cluttered with dozens of files. I have two dozen tabs open. I have over a hundred things on my long term to do list.
In having multiple businesses and multiple hobbies, and lots of friends and interests – things get convoluted. They get messy. They accumulate.
And I think that right now at this very moment, there is far too much clutter.
I need to simplify and identify the things that truly make me happy and move me more in the direction I want to go.
What are the “crafts” that add value to my life. Double down on them, ditch the rest.
What are the systems that will make my life easier and more simple, rather than more complex?
Simplicity is a powerful thing, and even if that isn’t the theme I chose for 2020, it’s something I’m committing to more of this year.
My Theme for 2020: Energy.
So you’ve learned a bit about my thought process for the year.
I’d like to improve my organization and systems.
I’d like to get better and make more time for the things I truly enjoy (Making videos, writing, playing guitar, golfing, cocktails, just to name a few).
I’d like to simplify everything about my life.
But there’s one word that truly encompasses my ability to do all of these things:
Over the years energy has been the deciding factor on what I do, how much I do, and how well I do it.
When I have energy, I do more and feel better.
When I don’t? I do less and feel worse.
But if I’m going to refine my craft(s), create systems, grow my businesses, and do more of what fulfills me – I’m going to need energy and lots of it.
So in 2020 I’m going to really focus on how I can best create energy in my life – and I mean this in a few different ways.
The obvious one being, how can I create physical energy? The type where I wake up early in the morning and get shit done throughout the day.
This year I started digging into my afternoon slump and the energy hits that I take that kill my productivity and mood. (I’d check out the book “When” if this is something you want to learn more about.)
Diet is a big part of this, and not only what I eat, but when I eat, how much I eat etc.
Drinking is another big one. If I’m being honest, I really don’t like getting drunk. I like the craft of the cocktail. The art of it.
But when you explore that, getting drunk just happens to be a by-product.
I want to be deliberate about when I have cocktails, how much I have, and why I’m having them – in order to maximize my energy and minimize lost productivity or days because of it.
Then there’s emotional energy.
What gets me out of bed in the morning? What gets me excited? What gets me wanting to work on projects rather than feeling like I have to work on them.
How can I stay excited about life and what I’m doing. What are the drivers of that emotional energy.
Again, I spent a lot of time thinking about this in 2019, and in 2020 I want to take those learnings, apply them, and create the systems which allow me to get better at my craft, and give me the energy to do it day in and day out.
I want the energy to do more than I ever have, to capitalize on the things I’ve built over the last decade. To help as many people achieve their own goals as I can.
And to do things that excite me and make me feel good in the process.
I can’t do any of that without energy, so in 2020 I’ll be exploring how best to cultivate it physically, mentally, and emotionally.
So, that is my overarching theme for 2020.
What is yours? Drop a comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear about your word and why it is important to you.