By Princess Jones

Each year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions for both their personal and business lives. And by February, most of those resolutions have fallen away with the problems of the year. By summer, that resolution is completely forgotten and by the end of the year, you’re making the same resolution again.

Instead of doing the same thing this year, consider going with a theme instead. Themes are better than resolutions. Resolutions are tasks that seem to fall away as the year gets going. But with a theme, it’s more about deciding which direction you’re heading. It’s flexible enough to roll with the changes throughout the year. And if you do it right, you’ll have a baseline to go back to when making business decisions all year.


Start with a dedicated brainstorming session. Personally, I get my best ideas in the shower. Or a long subway ride. Or the treadmill. A couple of drinks doesn’t hurt, either. (Not on the treadmill, of course.) Wherever you come up with your best ideas, that’s where you need to go.

Start by taking a look at your immediate goals. What do they all have in common? If you can find a common thread among them, you’ve got the start of a theme.

Don’t forget to look at what happened this year. What mistakes did you make? What lessons have you learned? How do you want your next year to be different?

Think about what your business would look like in five years if everything went perfectly. What is your role there? Who do you have around you and how do they contribute to the work? What is a typical day like at this perfect version of your business?

Make It Stick

Now that you have an idea of what next year should look like for your business, let’s make it into a word or phrase that explains it all. It should be catchy. It should be descriptive. Rhyming makes it easy to remember. Alliteration makes it fun to say. But the truth is that you don’t need all of the bells and whistles to make your theme work. It just has to be easy to remember and simple to say.

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Back to Basics
  • Efficiency Above All
  • Use it Or Lose It

Keep It Close

Now comes the important part of having a theme — keeping it in the forefront. Post it somewhere prominent in your workspace. I keep my theme on the wall across from my computer so that every time I look up from working, I see it. You could also make a wallpaper for your computer or phone with the theme on it so you see it every time you use the device. And if you’re more of an analog type, maybe you could write it down in your favorite notebook or on a scrap of paper you keep in your wallet. Just make sure you see it often.

If you have employees, talk about it with them frequently. Make sure they understand what it means and how you intend to use it for the next year. Ask for suggestions on how to stick to that theme and bring it up frequently in team meetings. The more you use your theme, the better it will work for your business.