The Year of….

Setting a theme for your year can be fun and a very useful strategy to your success this year. Each holiday season for at least the past 20 years, I’ve carefully selected my theme, and this year was no exception. In a minute, I’ll share it with you. (I’m so excited about it I can barely keep myself from spilling it to you now!)

But first, here are a few pointers to selecting a good theme and then some examples from my own life about how to make a theme work for you.

Your theme:

• Will serve you best when it comes from your big picture and vision
• Should excite or inspire you
• Should stretch you
• Should be kept to a simple, memorable phrase

Here are some examples of my themes from past years:

• Year of Simplicity
• Year of Growing Deeper in My Intimate Relationship
• Year of Building a Strong Foundation for My Coaching Practice
• Year of Extreme Self-Care
• Year of Women on Fire catching fire…in a good way!

My choice for a theme for 2010 is a real stretch for me. But when I look back on most of my themes, they were real stretches then, too. Yet, reviewing them now, they don’t seem daunting at all!

To give you an idea of how you can use a theme to guide you, here is how I lived when The Year Of Simplicity was my theme many years ago: Two years divorced, I moved from suburban Columbus, Ohio to downtown Boston, Massachusetts. I went from a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home to a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom, 600-square-foot, beautiful apartment overlooking The Boston Harbor. I surrounded myself with only my very favorite art and furniture. With each decision, I asked myself, “Is this creating simplicity in my life?”

I sold my car. In Boston I walked, took the subway or rented a car when I needed one, which was exactly once. I stopped spending hours in the salon “processing” my hair. I took better care of my clothes and reduced my dry-cleaning by half. Each time I bought a new book I gave one away in order to make room in my one full bookcase for the new one. By the end of My Year of Simplicity, I was in love with my new city; I felt lighter, happier and hopeful. The year brought sanity to my former workaholic lifestyle. I developed rewarding new work that year and even met a new man. The man who eventually became my husband!

Simple and less definitely gave me more of what I wanted in that Year of Simplicity. And, now I am eager to share with you my theme for this year:

The Year of Asking For Help…in situations I normally wouldn’t

This entire topic of Asking For Help (so important we learn this skill, it is Women on Fire Aspiration #7) is a sticky-wicket for so many of us. And, it is a major tough one for me.

Today, I got in my first practice to use my new theme. A friend and I were shopping at the store Anthropologie. I thought what a great place to carry our book Women on Fire: 20 Inspiring Women Share Their Life Secrets (and Save You Years of Struggle!

For some reason, asking the sales associate how our book could be placed in the store terrified me. But today, only because my theme was kicking me in the bottom, did I ask!

The sales woman couldn’t have been nicer. She said the book sounded great but she didn’t have any idea how the company purchased items for its stores. Then, without me even having to ask, she gave me the name and number of the store’s manager and urged me to call her.


One down in 2010. The rest of the year to go.

If you have a theme for the year, I would love to hear it. If you don’t, why not take a few minutes and create a theme for your year? Come along with us and post your theme on the blog at . Together, we’re going to have a great year!

About the Guest Author: Pioneering life and executive coach Debbie Phillips is the founder of Women on Fire Women on Fire®, a membership organization of dynamic, authentic women who make a difference in the world. Through inspiration, strategies and support, members transform their lives and the lives of other women. For more information and to learn more about Women on Fire, please go to: or

2 thoughts on “The Year of….

  1. My choice: The Year of Living Art-fully. Can’t wait to see where it leads. Thanks, Debbie.