New Years Dive

So here we are. 2021, the year of expectations. Now that we are a few weeks in I’m sure many people are already disappointed in the current situation or have reset their expectations altogether. I only had some vague expectations about this year, meaning I was aware of a few steps I wanted to take this year. But there wasn’t anything major I was hoping for. Well, besides the possibility of taking a vacation to New Zealand. But that is (still) not sure. 

What I wanted up front was to (preferably) finish my book and put myself a bit more in the spotlight so that people actually know there is a book. But because I had no specific theme to structure and guide me I actually did not make much progress with this until I chose my Year Theme.

A new year means a new Year Theme

If you’re not aware what a Year Theme is I will explain: A Year Theme is one word or a short sentence which denotes your goals of the year. For me it is a tradition that I have implemented to make the best of said new year. It provides structure and empowers you to take decisions to improve your life. It is important that a theme is positively formulated so it helps you create a better situation in a specific area of your life. 

For example: My theme of 2020 was Heart’s Fire, meaning doing the things that I love to do. I explicitly named 3 things to support it:

  1. Give the fire fuel: Learn about my passions and educatie myself by reading theory and watching lectures.
  2. Give it air: Let it breathe, don’t take it too seriously. It’s a fun process but taking distance is also important.
  3. Give it attention: Make time for writing, and reading so it can empower and deepen it, thus lighting the next steps to take.

If you read the last blog I wrote last year you’ll know I finished my first draft just before Christmas. After I finished I felt I accomplished all my 2020 goals. Finishing the first draft was the only hard target I made for last year, the rest were all soft targets that passed along the way. As a result I spend a few weeks without a specific goal or guidance. And because of this lack of guidance 2021 started quite rough for me. I felt a bit lost without a new theme. And despite having a vague idea what I was going for, I mainly missed the focus I experienced in 2020.

Making choices

This year I want to spend more time working on the relationship with myself and with others. Meaning that I want to give extra attention to my behavior and translate this in relationships with people I haven’t met before. Because I know there are a lot of people who share interests similar to me, I just don’t have them in my immediate surroundings/vicinity. *

My initial choice for the 2021 Year Theme was: The Golden Company. I wanted to find those people and be a good relation to them. There was also the link to Game of Thrones which seemed fun. But that link: the best mercenaries you can hire, was also what changed my mind. Because I don’t want to be just someone who comes in on a payroll to do the job they do best.

So I changed it. After a few days of indecisiveness I chose “Connecting the Dots”.

Because sometimes it is more important to just choose so you can start and work with the choice you made then to wait on a better theme.

What is Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots is:

  1. Taking action on the other things that (I think) I like and trying them to enrich my life
  2. Combining things I like into something else
  3. Evaluating these steps/actions over time to see if they work or not

It is a direct reference to the Stanford speech of Steve Jobs, as well as an invitation to myself to try new things. And by doing this I want to find people that share my passion for stories and storytelling in different media and interact with them. What I really like is that this all aligns with my Ikigai: To connect.

Take action

Now that we are a few weeks in 2021 I already am working on a number of actions to support Connecting the Dots. One is taking part in TTRPG sessions, another is preparing for a (weekly) stream on Twitch, which probably will start in a couple of weeks from now. 

I know that the new year will bring surprises. But no matter how big or small I am confident that Connecting the Dots provides me with a good intention and structure to make the very best of it. I hope you will take similar action to improve for your life. If you have questions, you are most welcome to ask about the methodology I use.

*as a template I would like to refer to the setting of the Play, Watch, Listen podcast. Where 4 people from the games industry who are also friends just talk about games, films, music and a lot more. If you know the show you know what I mean, though it doesn’t have to be in a podcast. It’s the relationship dynamic on display that I’m going fo

Heart’s Fire

Hello friend and all the best for 2020. I hope you’ve started the year in good spirits. I certainly did. So it’s January and we’re sharing new years resolutions again for a couple of weeks. In my experience this is like singing an “I want song”. Fun while it lasts, but mostly forgettable. This is why I’m very confident about my year theme.

Year Theme

For the last 3 years I had positive experiences with using a year theme. A year theme is a word or short sentence on a subject or part of your life that you want to improve something in*. Last year my theme was “Future Fit” and it was in the area of physical and mental health.

What a theme does is empowers your decisions in the specific area that you choose. It is important that you specify for yourself what the theme means for you. Last year the theme meant making powerful decisions about the way I spend my time, money and energy so that I can make progress in the area that I concentrate on this year: work.

I’ve mentioned earlier that I want to work towards a situation where I can spend my time working on/creating stories (worlds).

Looking back on last year I can now see that I’ve made some decisions that 1: influenced my energy (food, my relation to sleep, sport) and 2 influenced my mindset (how I look at time spend, cleaning and organising papers etc).

This year my theme is Hearts fire (in Dutch: Hartenvuur). The metaphor for fire is chosen deliberately. I have written down a couple of accompanying sentences which are my guiding principles for the year when making decisions. 

  1. Give it air/make it breathe. I want to make sure I have the time (or create it) to work on the things I love in a relaxed way.
  2. Give it fuel/make it burn. Have the focus on the things I love so I can nurture and grow my passion.**
  3. Give it attention. Give it the attention it requires so it releases positive energy back and lights the path so I can make more informed decisions.

Into action

With this as a starting point I feel ready for the year. I’m already working on number 1 of the guiding principles so things are in motion***. I’ve also noticed that (as a result of this) my book is itching in the back of my mind. I want to continue working on it and my goal is to have a first draft completed by March/April. 

There is theme and there is a plan which is more ingrained into me than any I want song. I’m doing it! 

P.s. Let me know if you want to also create a year theme to help you in 2020 improve some area in your life but don’t know how. Visit my contacts page message me on the socials.

* I choose from one of four area’s which research has shown that are an indication of a person’s happiness: 1. Mental and physical health; 2. Relationships; 3. Work; 4. Money. My source are David de Kock and Arjan Vergeer of 365 Dagen Succesvol; a Dutch company working to help people improve their happiness. These guys have read large piles of literature and found these four areas to be common. I know there are multiple other theories who divide it in different categories, but I like this one because it is simple with a lot of depth.

** Here are link 1 and link 2 with some information and inspiration.

*** One of the things I’m doing is cleaning and organising my work space at home so it feels more comfortable to sit there.