4 Steps to Design Your Personal Manifesto

4 steps to design your personal manifesto

My theme for 2023 is TIME.  For me, my theme is a constant source of inspiration that carries me through the year.  It gives me clarity on what I want to achieve, how I want to live and provides a beacon for easy decision making. But, words are just words unless we give them context and purpose.  I do that by creating a short and sweet manifesto to add depth. To help, here are 4 steps to design your personal manifesto.

What is a Manifesto?

First, let’s define manifesto in case it conjures up less desirable meaning.  😉

A manifesto is defined as “a declaration of one’s beliefs, opinions, motives, and intentions.” It is simply a document that an organization or person writes that declares what is important to them.

Certainly, you can follow whatever process works to choose a word or theme and here’s the most important thing – it isn’t necessary to make it heavy and onerous. 

And, you don’t have to share it with another human being if you don’t want to.  Your theme, and manifesto if you choose to create one, is for YOU.  I shout mine from the rafters because it solidifies it in my soul when I do that – and holds me accountable. 

4 Steps to Design Your Manifesto

This is a step-by-step process that I use to create my manifesto.

  1. Theme: Start by choosing your word or theme. Use whatever process speaks to you but if you are looking for guidance, look no further than right here.
  2. Values: Your values are your core, your foundation and everything feeds back to them.  When you live according to your values, things will be harmonious.  When you are not in alignment with your values, the road gets bumpy.  So, please do an exercise to define your values.  This one is what I use with clients and it is the best one I’ve ever found. Simple, yet clear.
  3. Realms: Pick realms that suit you.  For my coaching clients and for those in Lighthouse’s mentor program, we use these 4 realms: Self, Professional, Relationships and Financial.  In my manifesto below, you’ll notice I’ve changed it up for myself because it fits where I’m at in life better right now.
  4. Intentions: Set intentions for each of your realms.  These are not resolutions or goals.  Intentions are less rigid, more authentic, and less likely to be broken. This is all about how you want to FEEL.  More on that next.

How Do You Want To Feel?

Well, the final of 4 steps to create your personal manifesto deserves its very own section – INTENTIONS! I love setting intentions. So much so, that we dig deep into Intentions in Lighthouse’s mentor program and here is how I describe it:

Intentions point you with more clarity towards your values and aspirations.  Intentions focus on how you want to feel about any area of your life. Intentions are broader than goals.  Again, intentions are not goals or resolutions. They are less rigid, more authentic, and less likely to be broken. When you set intentions, vision of success is clear, misalignment is clear, focus is intuitively clear and you can adjust your path accordingly.

What else? Intentions are powerful internal agreements that you make with yourself and express through your actions.  Because, it’s all about actions.

My top tip is to make sure your intentions are concise statements that harness determination to achieve specific outcomes.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Instead of saying “I may” or “I want”, write it as a statement in the present tense – “I do ____” or “I feel _____”.

My Manifesto for TIME

Here we go! I break things down a bit because it makes sense to me but again, do what is meaningful to you. We all think differently in this big, beautiful world.

For me, what makes sense is to break it down with:

  • My Theme and what that theme means to me – a short concise statement that is a brain dump of why my theme inspires me.
  • My Values – a check to see if my values have shifted and they actually did for 2023
  • Guiding Questions – these are questions that I can ask to ensure that I’m living in alignment with my theme
  • Intentions for each of my realms.

Let’s go!

My 2023 Theme:  TIME

I’ve rolled my 2023 theme into both the word ‘TIME’ because of what it means to me, as well as an acronym that breaks it down to the most meaningful pieces of what I want for my time this year.

What does TIME mean to me?

Time isn’t infinite.  During this transitional stage in my life, time looks different to me and that can leave me feeling untethered. But, what you do with your time is a choice.   In 2023, I want to be purposeful with my time to lay groundwork for my future.  And, I want to be purposeful with my time even if that means choosing to spend some time with no purpose – just a simple focus on being present, stillness, rest, contentment. Either way, I will continue to seek joy and wonder.

There’s no ‘right time’ in life, there’s just time, and you get to choose what to do with it.

~ Rachel Wolchin

I took an additional step and used TIME as an acronym.

Thankful ~ Intentional ~ Magnanimous ~ Energy

For me, choosing each of those words provides an extra inspiration to create goals for 2023. Those goals and actions all feed into me wanting to feel thankful, intentional, magnanimous and energy!


It was a transitional time for me in 2022 and so I took the time to do a values exercise again.  Sure enough, my values have shifted to better reflect what is most meaningful for me as I move into 2023.

I landed with these five values: Curiosity – Happiness – Kindness – Wellness – Trust


My guiding questions for TIME are:

  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • Is this the best use of my time?
  • Is this who I want to spend my time with?
  • How do I want to feel about how I spend my time?  Valued, engaged, supported and supportive, energized, peaceful, fulfilled, relaxed, content. 



SELF: My Intention for SELF – I fill my time doing things that bring me joy and wonder.

HEALTH & WELLNESS: My Intention for HEALTH & WELLNESS – I make healthy choices that are rooted in self-love, self-kindness and gentleness. These choices support me mind, body and soul.

PROFESSIONAL: My intention for PROFESSIONAL – I love my work and make a difference to clients by giving them tools and knowledge to live their best life.  Lighthouse thrives as a part-time business and I am content with letting the future flow.

RELATIONSHIPS: My Intention for RELATIONSHIPS – I dedicate time to relationships that energize me and are based on mutual respect and trust, meaningful generosity and unconditional kindness.

COMMUNITY & LEGACY: My Intention for COMMUNITY & LEGACY – My commitment to community is reignited. I will dedicate time on storytelling to create legacy and fulfill one of my lifelong dreams. 

From there, I have created high-level goals of what I want to achieve in each realm and of course, those will fulfill my intentions ….. or how I want to feel in each realm.

Let Your Theme Be Your Inner Compass

When you decide to choose a word or theme for 2023, it serves as an inner compass that tells you what you want to do, who you want to be and how you want to feel.

After doing this for so many years, it has become very natural but maybe you need help.

I have a whole toolkit of resources but two of the main things are the values exercise I shared earlier. And the other – a reflection exercise that you can find here. Tip for this exercise – set a timer for 2 minutes maximum per question! You may also find this article from Medium helpful.

It can be tough.  I get it!  I’ve worked hard over the years to create a process that works for me and I’m thrilled that people find it useful too.  Whether you want a simple tool to get it done or are keen to jump in and take it deep, these two offerings will give you what you need.

  1. You’ll find some blogs that give you variations of how to set your theme, complete with ‘how-to’ advice and free downloads that walk you through it step-by-step.
  2. To bust through the overwhelm, you can also download my popular Set Your Intentions for Your Best Life’ online course.  This self-directed mini course is updated with fresh content, online instruction and worksheets that will guide you to chart your own course. Plus, me as your cheerleader!

Lastly, putting yourself out there is one way to hold yourself accountable so please SHARE.  Put your 2023 word or theme in the comments below or even better, share it on my social channels.  Just look for this joyful photo of me on a diving board on Lighthouse’s FacebookInstagram or LinkedIn and tell me your word or theme!

Wishing you a new year that fills your time with joy, good health and harmony.

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