This year I’m continuing the trend I started last year of choosing a yearly theme over a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions. Where last year I focused on something very tangible – content – this year I’m choosing a “bigger picture theme. This year’s theme is the year of depth.
Rather listen? Check out this episode of my podcast.
Refresher: What are Yearly Themes?
I got the idea to do this from my favorite podcast, Cortex, by CGP Grey and Myke Hurley. This year, they even put out a fantastic journal to accompany the idea. Here’s how they describe yearly themes on their Theme System website:
Instead of resolutions, we set an overall idea of how we would like to approach each year or season. This becomes almost like a guiding principle for our work and/or personal lives for that period.
I loved this idea when I first heard it, and I’m all in now. 2019 was the first time I did a yearly theme, and it was the Year of New Content. The overall idea here was that I didn’t consume enough good, new content in 2018, and I wanted to change that.
This is a yearly theme because I let it guide my decision making for books, TV shows, movies, and reading online. It also guided my professional goals. I wanted to be more deliberate about blogging, my YouTube channel, and putting out courses.
Evaluating 2019: The Year of New Content
So let’s start by evaluating 2019’s theme, introducing 2020’s theme, and then telling you how that is going to affect the podcast…as well as some tips if you want to start a yearly theme.
This theme boiled down to 3 things for me:
- Consume different content – read more books, watch TV shows I haven’t seen a million times, and see more movies.
- Recommit to my learning plan – take more online courses
- Put out more quality content – namely more courses and write a new book.
So how did I do?
Consume different content
Well I’ve read 27 books – my goal was 18. So there’s a win.
I watched 3 new TV shows: The Handmaid’s Tale, The Morning Show, and The Mandalorian. I did end up watching a lot of Friends, Scrubs, Parks and Rec, and How I Met Your Mother, but since 3 new shows is 3 more than usual in a year, I’m counting this as a win.
Movies too. I usually watched new movies on flights, of which I had many. I also saw a couple in theaters. I’ll talk about that more in my “Favorites” post.
Recommit to my learning plan
Admittedly, I did not take as many online courses I hoped I would. That said, I took 2 that were hugely helpful to me.
They’ve changed my workflow for the better, so I’m counting this as a win.
Put out more content
Let’s start with the missed goals. I wanted to launch my podcast course and an update of my Beaver Builder course this year. I did neither.
I also wanted to do 1 YouTube video per week. I missed that too.
BUT, I did blog more, and post to YouTube a lot more. I grew my subscriber by 25% and I happy about it.
I also started making courses for LinkedIn Learning / Lynda.com. I released 2, and recorded another 2. That’s one more than my original goal of 3.
I also landed a new book deal! So count that too.
All-in-all I’m really happy with how this year went. I fell in a few places, but really did adhere to the theme of new content and it shows in my work.
I also have some thoughts on how I can improve, with the 2020 yearly theme. Speaking of…
2020: The Year of Depth
This yearly theme is a little more vague, but here’s what I’m thinking: I did too much in 2019. I tried to do too much. I didn’t absorb as much information as I wanted, I didn’t implement all of ideas and takeaways from the many books and courses I consumed. I spent too much money.
In 2020, I want to go less wide, but deeper. I want to cut my projects to only do the things I want to do (like launch my podcast course). I want to focus my membership on clear goals and benefits. And I want to deepen my pockets by only buying what I need and saving everything else.
To help, I’ve identified a few areas where I want more depth. With projects it’s podcasting, and my membership. I’m reducing my services to just my done for you podcasting service, videos for hire, and my own courses. I will not be taking on any major web design projects in 2020.
I’ve also created a content plan that will guide me through these goals. For the first time ever, I’ve planned out the first 6 months of the year – content, product releases, and this very podcast.
For memberships specifically, it means less, not more, content. And that content will focus specifically on building sites on WordPress without code. I’m going to introduce 2 new courses, and that will be it for the courses I offer. I might even retire some. Then it will be updating what’s there, and giving my members more of my time to answer specific questions they have.
Learning Depth: Tools and Time
When it comes to learning, I’ve identified 1 area I definitely want to go deep on: tools. I’ve got courses lined up for automation tools like Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, and Siri Shortcuts. I’m also going to take courses on Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.
These will help me with the next area: personal depth of time. Since I’m cutting out the projects I don’t need to work on, I’m also going to work on making more time for myself by doing only things I need to do. That means automating what I can, and hiring where I can. Another first for 2020: I’m hiring a video editor for my own courses.
The last, let’s say pillar, of this theme is reading, and it’s not the strongest. I’d like to use my reading time to go deep on a few topics here, but I’m not sure it will work out. That said, the idea is to focus on 1 topic per quarter and read books surrounding that topic. In Q1, it’s between Audio Engineering, and A.I.
So to sum up a bit, my year of depth is going to focus on doing less, and doing it better. My main goals with this theme are to spend more time doing things I want to do, grow my business in a scalable way, and spend my time learning what is immediately implementable.
I’m excited about my year of depth. Are you working on a yearly theme? If so, let me know in the comments!