My Theme for 2020.

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 01/13/20 •  10 min read

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. 

Check out my detailed thoughts on why I chose that for 2019.

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

If video is more your thing, then welcome back to my first official video of 2020! As of today we’re back on our Monday/Thursday posting schedule. So make sure to hit subscribe if you haven’t already.

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.

28 Hong Kong St. SIngapore

The passion for cocktails has continued to grow. Now I want to focus on the craft of both creating AND documenting them. This is at 28 Hong Kong St. in Singapore.

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.

Working on this post at my hotel in Railay Beach, Thailand

Working at the Bhu Nga Thani on Railay Beach, Thailand – back when life was more 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.

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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.

Pretty simple.

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.

How to Set Your Own Goals and Theme in 2020 and Beyond

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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24 comments on "My Theme for 2020."

  1. Great word choices, Sean. They all resonate with me.
    My word for 2020 will be Persistence.
    Gotta stay with this new Location Rebel Academy thing, even when I’m bored, distracted, etc.!

    1. Sean Ogle says:

      Love it. I still think that is one of the absolute most important components to building something online. Persistence and consistency, those two things trump most others.

  2. Hann says:

    So glad I checked out your video! I also found myself coming to the same conclusion of not having enough energy. But sometimes, I feel like it’s partly laziness because I’m taking on more than I can handle on my own. Originally, my theme for 2020 was growth, but I think my own theme is going to be delegation. I need to delegate more of my tasks than ever before to reserve enough energy to accomplish more in a day.

    1. Sean Ogle says:

      Love this! Delegation is so much more clear than growth is to me, I think choosing something that adds an extra level of specificity will serve you well.

  3. AustinU says:

    Great comments Sean! There’s a lot of the good and bad here that all of us can identify with. I’ve been working on my morning routines and productivity recently, and it’s been great to infuse more purpose and drive into my days. I’d highly recommend “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod, to anyone looking to maximize morning routines and productivity.

    1. Sean Ogle says:

      Yep, fantastic book! My mornings I’ve generally done a pretty good job with – it’s the afternoons for me that prove most brutal 🙂

      I think he needs to come out with a sequel, “The Miracle Afternoon” ha

      1. austinulrich says:

        Ha ha – I guess he does have a “sequel” – The Miracle Equation – came out fairly recently. Haven’t grabbed that one yet though.

      2. peterkovacs says:

        Thanks for the post Sean, an approach that I have not tried yet when thinking about the new year. I am looking forward to reading (if you plan on sharing) some of the techniques that you will use to create more energy in the three areas you mention.
        I have not thought about my theme deeply yet, but the first thing that comes to my mind is Resilience. I think this applies to all areas of life and when I manage to live this way, both the results and the process tend to be good.
        Just a final thought about the afternoon slump you mention: I used to have this in the past and what finally helped me overcome this problem is napping. I take a 20-30 minute nap almost every afternoon (in my car that sits at the school parking lot where I work – still waiting for students to discover me there 🙂
        I put on the same music every day and use a pair of good-quality sleep masks.
        Does not work for everyone, but might be something to try.
        Thanks again and have a great 2020!

        1. Sean Ogle says:

          Yeah I definitely plan to share some of the things that are working (not working).

          This post sheds a little bit of light into stuff that has worked recently:

          Really like the idea of resilience though! I agree it’s a great over-arching theme and concept.

          I’m all about the 20 minute nap when I can get it in. Certainly doesn’t happen everyday, but I’m usually glad when I do make the time.

  4. Bill says:

    Thanks for sharing your vision for 2020. You spend a lot of time crafting your message. I’m certain it is more than just employing the Pareto Principle (80/20) …

    After dwelling on this idea, I thought that maybe my theme for the year should be mindfulness. This may help overcome the inertial stages of rolling out a freelance copywriting business. At the inception, being mindful about my purpose could give me the focus needed to get from the drafting table to production.

    I’m looking forward to a fantabulous affiliation with LR 180. Thanks again for your experience and insight.

    1. Sean Ogle says:

      Bill love this. I don’t think most of us are aware of how we truly spend our time. To take 30 seconds each day to reflect on that and be mindful of what you’re working on each day I think is super valuable.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I honestly never thought about a one word theme for the year. I like the idea. Being new to this Location Rebel idea and in trying to discover new paths seek new ways I think I might settle on Dare. I’m a very play-it-safe person. Take the road well travelled. Check every pitfall before jumping in. Fear of falling, failing, screwing up, these are the fears that have held me back from daring to do anything truly important to me. This year I will dare to fail, dare to achieve, but mostly I will dare to try.

    1. Sean Ogle says:

      I love themes that go against your typical nature, because I think thats where you have the most chance to benefit. But when you do that you also risk having it not be effective. So I’d encourage you to take that to heart, and each morning think about that word and one thing you can do each day that embodies that. Even if it seems like the smallest of things.

  6. Lindsey says:

    Great article, Sean!
    My word is “grow.” I want to grow as a writer. I want to see my blog grow. I want my knowledge of blogging to grow. I want to grow as a person (though not physically 😂).
    I have set goals and I can already see them working! Now, I just need to hang on all year. 😊
    Thanks for helping me “grow!”


    1. Sean Ogle says:

      Love this Lindsey! Your blog is looking great, so keep it up, and keep GROWING it as well 🙂

  7. Leena says:

    Great post, Sean. Thanks for the book recommendations Sean and @AustinU.

    My theme for the year is ‘consistency’.

    1. Sean Ogle says:

      That was mine a few years ago. Best way to start? Be consistent, with your practice of thinking about your theme ha.

  8. David says:

    Thanks Sean! Great post! You have truly been a guiding voice. Last year I followed along in your Lifestyle business course and got more out of it than some great ideas, I got focus… It was a confusing year for me for the first time in a decade working from home, so thank you and God bless man!

    1. Sean Ogle says:

      David, you have no idea how much it means to hear you say that, thank you! Here’s to a new decade of more clarity and success.

  9. LisaC says:

    Great stuff Sean. Everything you say here in the video resonates easily and hits me right in the face. Wake up! It’s exactly what I need to hear so thanks.

    My theme for the year is COMPASS (like in direction). I’m planning on changing things up quite a bit and departing corporate life and I’m looking at myself being the compass in my life. The sum of all the actions and non-actions I take sets the direction and creates the pathway I truly want to be on.

    I’m really excited about it! 2020 is going to be an amazing journey.

  10. James Ranson says:

    A bit late to this particular party, but the word that came up for me really strongly for 2020 was Self. I want this to be a year I learn more about myself, deepen my self-awareness and self-respect, honor myself and my needs and goals, enjoy myself in the definitive sense of finding joy in being who I am, and show up to the world as MY self, not a self it might expect or want me to be. (It also involves being my best self, but I feel like I don’t want this to become a focus on changing or growing myself as much as on BEING myself.)

  11. Sydney says:

    Sean, this may seem an odd question, (or possibly a nosy/personal one) but do you have, or have you ever been assessed for ADHD?

    1. Sean Ogle says:

      Ha, I’ve never been diagnosed or assessed, but my whole life I’ve felt like I’ve had mild ADHD tendencies..

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