Happy New Year: What's Your Theme for the Year? | Beth's Blog

Happy New Year: What’s Your Theme for the Year?

Personal Reflections

I have a couple of New Year’s rituals that help prepare me for a new year.  These include a review of the year’s accomplishments and two techniques that help you focus on your goals:   Peter Bregman’s  theme for the year, and Chris Brogan’s “My Three Words .”   I also throughout the month of January review my work routines and systems and redesign or tweak to improve productivity.

Rituals and routines have many benefits for your personal effectiveness.  They capitalize on our brains’ ability to direct our behavior on autopilot, allowing us to reach our goals even when we are distracted or preoccupied with other things.

Year in Review

  • International Training Work: Most of my work is designing and delivering capacity building projects for nonprofits literally all over the world.    This past year I had the honor of facilitating an intense training in Tunisia in January for Women Entrepreneurs that included leadership, entrepreneurship, business planning, and communications.   I taught social media integration  and “Train the Trainers” workshops for trainers who would be delivering the curriculum throughout Tunisia.   Since were are on the Mediterranean Sea, I did the final reflective exercise as a walk on the beach.    I got to perfect it when I taught master classes and workshops for NGOs and activists  in New Zealand and Australia.

Photo by Gary Clark

My Theme for the Year: Learning

I’ve been working in the nonprofit sector for 35 years, doing training for the past twenty, blogging for the past ten, and published author over the past five years.    Learning has kept me inspired and improving what I do.   But, it isn’t just about learning new techniques or ideas.   When you’ve been doing what you do for a long time, it is also about unlearning (being mindful when bad habits creep in and changing them) and relearning what you have learned or updating it.   2014 will be the year of learning for me.  You’ll be reading more about how to learn – either professional learning or learning in organizations or learning from peers and how technology – especially social networks and data  supports the process.

My Three Words

My three words for the year are:

Attention: Living a world that is connected and where sacred space and deep thinking is becoming extinct, I’m focusing on my attention skills.  This is a place where I will unlearning some bad habits and focusing on strengthening creativity, focus, filtering, and content curation for professional learning and task management.   I will writing about the tools and techniques for being more focused in age of distraction – both on my blog and guest posts.

Learn: Learning is not just for kids or students.  In the world we live in, we have to keep on learning.    I will exploring ideas around self-directed learning, peer learning, networked or e-learning, and much more in the coming year.

Teach: This is my passion, my calling, and my professional work.  Most of work projects are capacity building and training other trainers.   I will be exploring and writing about assessment, curriculum development, facilitation, evaluation, and documentation.   I will be teaching a graduate course at the Monterrey Institute in January as well as other opportunities.    In order to be a great teacher, you have to always be learning.  I have a goal for one learning day per month where I will take workshop on instructional topics and share those here.

Many best wishes for happy, healthy, and abundant 2014 for you.

What is your theme for the year?






5 Responses

  1. Hi Beth,

    Great accomplishments in 2013 and also a memorable family centered year for you too I know. I wish you well in 2014. I’ve tried to get my new year in a 1 – 3 words focus but I’m just not good at it. Here’s the link to my year in review and looking forward at next year annual post:

  2. John Kenyon says:

    I find the framing of the theme and three words very helpful in reflecting both on the past year and what I want for the coming year.

    My theme will be Fulfillment – doing those things that I find most fulfilling professionally and personally. I’m writing a post now that includes some of these, such as less time/more focused time on social media, more time for personal/professional development, as you mentioned. and slowing down as Peter Bregman talked about.

  3. Beth says:

    John, I look forward to reading and sharing your post. I am also doing more focused time on social media and shifting it towards learning only.

  4. For us, 2014 is about spreading the word and bringing people together to make a difference. Though technology our world is more connected. Our goal is to use this tech to mobilize rather than socialize.

  5. […] reading Beth Kanter’s blog post about setting a theme and choosing three words for the year (she borrowed these concepts from Peter […]

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