2012 is The Year of Beauty

Field of daisies by Phil RoederAs you may know, every year since around 2002, I declare a theme for the new year. I use this theme to guide my decisions throughout the year. Different from a resolution, the theme is not a single, measurable goal. There is no black and white indication that I failed or succeeded at the theme. Instead, it is a guiding light – a sort of North Star – that I call upon at a given moment to help me decide. Last year was The Year of the Table. You can read my reflections on how I feel that theme served me here. Overall, I enjoyed the theme and it influenced my life in a number of lasting and very positive ways. You’ll also read in that reflection that it didn’t resolve all difficulties for me (not by a long shot – 2011 was an intense year) – that is not the goal of a theme. The goal of the theme is to serve as a reference point to support living the life I intend. With that in mind, I am really happy that I chose The Year of the Table as a guide for 2011.

Here are a few more themes from previous years:

The Year of the Body
The Year of the Mind
The Year of Letting Go (these themes are from before I began blogging and sharing my themes online)
The Year of Sleep (one of my less well-served themes, though it did help me focus on sleep far better the next year)

Every year, it gets more difficult to name the year’s theme

You can see that here in this heady exploration of theme-making for 2010. Maybe it’s because the easy themes have already been used. Maybe it’s because the more I realize how powerful my theme can be for me (and I really have found it to be an incredible guide for my decisions), the more I want to choose a theme that serves my highest goals for my life overall.

There are many ways to set a theme

In the years since I began using themes to guide my year, I have learned about others who use words to guide their years. Chris Brogan chooses Three Words. His process seems cool and useful and I particularly love the words and descriptions he chose this year. Without really calling it that, my friend and extraordinary organizing consultant One Organized Girl (aka Brenna Peyton) has chosen a box of crayons to guide her year.

So, for me, 2012 is The Year of Beauty.

This theme could be misconstrued. In fact, my fashionista 7-year-old daughter’s bright-eyed response to my new theme reminded me that “beauty” is often in reference to physical qualities (in her case, she hopes it means we will be filling our home with more make up, curling irons and – her all-time favorite – more shampoo and conditioner sets. And, just for the record, she does not wear make up – much to her frustration – but she loves to draw faces on paper then use real make up to design their eyes, lips and cheeks.)

What I mean by beauty is this: In 2012, I will ask myself when faced with a decision, “How can I choose something that brings more beauty into my life through this experience?”

I arrived at this theme in a workshop through One House of Peace on Consciously Setting Intention for 2012. I was close to my theme, thinking along the lines of well-being and presence. As the day neared an end, I noticed that all of my intentions could be distilled to a desire for peace and beauty in my surroundings and in my inner world.

I arrived at this new “paradigm for 2012″ in that workshop: I am surrounded by beauty, inside and out.

And that is my North Star for 2012. That is my guiding light, my lens for making decisions, my theme.

I am surrounded by beauty, inside and out.

What about you? What is guiding your Big Vision – or Deepest Desire – for 2012? I’d sure love to hear.


  1. Sarah says

    Lovely theme. I recommend Pinterest as the ultimate place to go for a few minutes of beauty. As much as I joke about it being a time suck, it really has reintroduced me to how I crave beauty and love seeing how others create/celebrate it.
    The theme I’m declaring is moderation. I’m so often extreme in my thoughts and my actions that I’d like to find a kind of peace in taking things more slowly, being more comfortable in the middle ground, and relating (to the kids/spouse/friends/the world) in a “moderate” way.
    Last year was the first year I chose a focus and I found it to be a very useful exercise. It faded into the background a bit over the year, but now that I’m reflecting on it as I choose this year’s, I realize that it just became more internalized and I didn’t have to “work” at it so much. I think that’s a success?

  2. Kathy Gifford (aka:Auntie Kathy) says

    This is an interesting concept. I’m am going to ponder this, my first impulse is to declare this my year of happiness, to provide and seek it for not only myself but those around me. I will sleep on it and see if it fits…. Thanks for the prompt! :) (look my first one!)

  3. says

    The Year of Happiness sounds beautiful (nod to my own year’s theme…) I love when my theme is general enough that I can use it to both make up my mind and change my mind, when appropriate. I feel like this theme would have that power. And happiness is lovely, isn’t it? :-) Thanks for venturing into the blogging world, Auntie K! Welcome.

  4. says

    Oh, I am so drawn to Pinterest yet have avoided digging in for fear of getting lost in all of the coolness. Now, it is totally On Purpose for me to be on Pinterest – my theme encourages it. Yay for The Year of Beauty! Thank you for the idea. Wishing you great pleasure in your practice of moderation… something it will do me well to incorporate into my own year in service of peace and beauty, as a sister in extreme thoughts and actions at times. I, too, find that my theme tends to fade and yet, at year’s end, I have virtually always made substantial progress in the area I declared as a theme. I suppose there’s something about how initial intention turns to a sort of practice which becomes a regular approach/mindset. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Sarah.

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