Personal Study Theme Part 2 – Implementation

In Part 1 of this post (last week) I introduced the process of selecting a “personal study theme” which is essentially choosing to focus for an entire calendar year on one area of my life, particularly in my reading plan. (Yes, I have a “reading plan.” This is one of those areas where when I fail to plan, I’m really planning to fail. I need to map out my month, quarter and year when it comes to my reading or it just doesn’t happen. You?)

Image: Ambro /

I can emphatically say that I am far beyond where I would have been without this process because I know me. I mentioned in Part 1 that I would provide some tools and resources for you in this post that have assisted me in this process.

After selecting my theme (see Part 1 again), I research the books related to the theme that I plan to read in the upcoming year. Then, to really bring the theme “home,” I write succinct statements for the following:

  1. My theme and reading plan. This is two to three sentences that state the shortcoming in the area I’ve chosen to better myself in, the reason for needing to change and then a list of each book that will be read in each month.
  2. A 140 character Tweet about my plan. This brings the previous point down to where the rubber meets the road, a “mini elevator pitch” if you will. If I can convey it in 140 characters, I will remember why I need to follow through with it. There is also a measure of accountability if I then share this across my various social networks.

I find it extremely helpful to build into my calendar a time where I will capture my notes on the theme. (More about capturing book notes in a future post.)

I have decided to continue my 2011 theme of “personal development” into 2012 because of the powerful paradigm shifts it brought. In fact, the study of this theme helped to shape my personal mission statement that you see at the top of each page on this blog and, though I had planned to blog for some time, it was the catalyst for actually starting to blog:

Helping people live a pattern of personal growth & challenging others to do the same.

If you would find this theme helpful, I have included many of the practical resources below that have helped me as I’ve worked through this personal study theme. (Disclosure: several affiliate links included.)


  • [amazon asin=0743269519&text=Seven Habits of Highly Effective People] by Stephen Covey – Aside from my Bible, this was by far the most personally influential book I read in 2011. I kid you not.
  • Creating Your Personal Life Plan, by Michael Hyatt
  • [amazon asin=1576836827&text=Margin] by Richard Swenson
  • [amazon asin=0684802031&text=First Things First] by Stephen Covey
  • [amazon asin=0310247454&text=Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life] by Cloud & Townsend
  • [amazon asin=0849946360/&text=The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be] by Andy Stanley
  • [amazon asin=159555078X&text= The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness] by Dave Ramsey


Bottom line: Do you use a yearly personal study theme or something similar? What are some other resources or materials that you’ve found helpful in your pursuit of personal development? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.