Instead Of Resolutions, Think About A Theme For 2013

(Originally appeared on the Advertising Week Social Club blog.)

My voiceover manager out here in Portland is rather wise. She’s been in the biz for a very long time. She was at agencies (at one point, with a young fella named Andrew Keller — you may have heard of him), production houses and the like.

One of the billions of things that I love about her is that she sends out these little reminders and quotes to the talent roster each day. It’s a breath of fresh air and some very good and interesting perspective.

Recently, she sent out a note about how she chooses a theme each year — instead of resolutions.

A theme, she notes, gives a clear path and direction. It’s a mission of sorts that can be checked and improved upon throughout the year.

Think about all of the resolutions you’ve made over the years. How many of them have you actually followed through on? If you have, then a marvelous Pork Pie hat tip to you. But, if you’re like me and most people, then you build the list, blow it and go on with the rest of the year without a rudder.

A theme keeps everything in place. But it’s not necessarily easy to figure out what a good theme can be.

The good news?

You can build a list of things that you really want next year and then build the theme backwards.

Let’s say that you’re a Junior Copywriter and your goal in 2013 is to be a Senior Copywriter. Think about the steps (or resolutions) that you need to take in order to get to that point. Be honest, critical and focused on the specifics. Then, look at your list and see if there is a common thread that weaves throughout. Maybe the theme here is “growth” or “forward momentum”. Let your mind run wild and choose something that fits.

This year, my theme is “Growlence”. Yeah, yeah, it’s a marketing-ish hybrid of “growth” and “balance”. I groaned, too. And I may very well be cheating by mashing these two together, but that’s where my gut and heart are on it.

I desire growth in my work (and my life), and I am constantly working on how to maintain some level of balance of it all.

The practical steps that I’m hoping to take?

Fewer meetings (or more impactful meetings), less over-scheduling, turning off the computer when the kids are home, being a better father and husband every day. That’s the balance side of things.


Working hard (and smarter) to grow the AWSC, landing more (and better) freelance voiceover gigs, improving my coaching and leadership methods, being a good board member of the Portland Advertising Federation — and building the best Advertising Week experiences possible with the amazing team in NYC and SF.

Yes, that is a shameless suck-up, but it’s also the truth. Ask anyone.

So, as you start thinking about those resolutions, think again.

Maybe a theme for 2013 is what you really need.

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