The quickest and easiest way to stay on track in 2018

Setting your ‘theme’ for 2018 – with love from The Unicorn Factory

Sometimes it feels really difficult and overwhelming to stay on track throughout the year. The unexpected happens. Things take longer than we thought. We have crappy days. And on the flip side we get distracted by new ideas to explore and exciting things to try.

So how can we stay on track through all these ups and downs in a way that doesn’t require hours of planning every week? What can we do that is helpful without being overwhelming? What will fit in with everything else going on so we don’t give up before we’ve even started?

Welcome to the world of THEMES!

For the past three years I’ve chosen a theme. It’s a word that will support me in staying on track with my goals throughout the year. It is something that keeps me headed in the direction of the experiences I really want to have in life.

And it is something I can use in the most crazy moments when I feel like I’m completely off track. It takes no time and requires nothing other than a thought.

In December or early January I set aside a tiny bit of “me” time to reflect on where I want to head this coming year (and let’s face it, half an hour of peace can feel like total bliss in the middle of the festive craziness). During that time I pick a word to keep me on track that I can use in any moment throughout the year.

I first discovered the idea of themes thanks to Jeannine Yoder. Every year she runs a Holiday Challenge for current and aspiring coaches, including a Power of Themes call in January. After that first year I was hooked!

My very first theme was TRUST. And it turned out to be a crazy year where learning how to listen to myself and trust myself meant I just about made it through in one piece. We found out we were pregnant ten days before our wedding, and completed the sale of our first house six days after our daughter was born. In between that I was holding down the day job, working on my fledgling coaching business and completing the Mentor Masterclass programme. There was always too much going on. It was tough.

My year of TRUST was a first step in learning to let go of what others thought of me. Learning to trust myself to know where to push myself, and where I had to say “no” for the sake of my sanity and my health.

One of my favourite things about my first year of having a theme was learning not to beat myself up so much. I didn’t perfectly live my theme. In fact there were plenty of times that if I’d really been in a place of TRUST I would have done things very differently. My theme wasn’t about being perfectly TRUSTING of myself and others, it was more about being aware of when I wasn’t. Seeing the differences between my current situation and where I wanted to be, and seeing it as an opportunity to practice thinking in a different way to help me get there. It was a year of learning how to make different choices.

TRUST was massively challenging but also hugely rewarding. Not that your theme has to be something difficult to overcome. I know people who have chosen themes like BEAUTY, FUN and DELICIOUS… you theme can be all about the good stuff too!

The next year was INTENTION. Setting that theme felt very different to the year before. TRUST felt big and complicated. INTENTION felt straightforward and easy. Being aware of my INTENTIONS in all the different things I would do.

I discovered that INTENTION was another layer on top on TRUST. I set that theme when my little girl was less than two months old and I was having a really tough time. Although I’d spent the best part of the year learning to trust myself as a person, becoming a mother was the biggest challenge of my life. My theme that year was a lot about trusting my intentions, instincts and intuition as a mother, and it did really help me through to the other side of quite a dark time.

Although it shifted my thinking in ways that will support me for the rest of my life, by January 2017 I was ready for some fun!

And that was when BOLD came up for me. I was excited. I imagined it was going to be a big year. Putting myself out there and being visible. Making plenty of noise.

How can BOLD be anything else?

It turns out there’s so much more to BOLD than meets the eye. And I have loved it!!!

BOLD can be quiet. BOLD can be private. BOLD is about not having to explain or justify yourself for not showing up in the way people expect you to. BOLD can be about taking invisible actions and learning that you don’t need the world to validate what is important to you, or approve of your choices and priorities.

BOLD isn’t always loud. BOLD isn’t always visible. BOLD isn’t always about being the centre of attention.

BOLD has taught me how to be unapologetically me.

BOLD has been my best year yet!

Themes can be a rollercoaster ride sometimes, but it’s one I wouldn’t swap for the world. Every one of my themes has brought me closer to living the life I want to live, and achieving my goals in a way that makes that possible. Saying that, none of my themes have quite done it in the way I expected.

What will your THEME be for 2018?

If you like the idea of setting your own theme I’ve shared an audio guide on Soundcloud  to use along with the 2018 Theme Worksheet.

And if you’d like a monthly prompts throughout to explore your theme further you can sign up for those over at

Once I’ve set my theme for 2018 I’ll be sharing it over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter– I would love to hear about your theme and why you chose it by using the hashtag #shiftyourexperience and tagging me in your post.

I can’t wait to share this experience with you in 2018!

Helen x

Huge thanks to Helen for such a fab guest blog and fellow Freelance Mum friend. Love this piece and can’t wait to get ‘theme setting’. Special thanks to our talented photographer, Nicola Jane, for capturing such lovely photos shared here. Love Freelance Mum X


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