My 2019 Theme Word

If you’ve been following me for a year or more or have purchased my Life by Design program, you probably know by now:

I am obsessed with the idea of an annual theme.

It was an annual theme that led to me quitting my day job, moving to NYC, and becoming an author in 2011 (Breaking Free).

It was an annual theme that helped me take back control of my writing career in 2015 (Deliberate).

And it was an annual theme that helped me purge a lot of anxiety and crap from my life in 2018 (Back to avarice).

Some years, my theme words come to me more quickly than others. In December 2018, as I planned for my 2019 theme word, I had a gut feeling of what I wanted for the year ahead, though it took me longer than normal to come up with the precise theme that would encompass all of the following:

my 2019 dreams and desires:

  • I’m craving big things. I want to grow. Coming out of 2018, where my theme was Back to Basics, I’ve cut out a lot of the crap from my life in a good way. As a result, it feel as though I’ve cleared out this enormous space in my brain and schedule for big things.

  • I want better. I want to wear nicer clothes, to take better care of my body. I want to read better books, watch better TV shows, develop better habits. I want to be treated with the respect I’ve earned and deserve. And damn it, I want better book pricing for all of us. I am sick to death of how cheap romance novels are being priced at. I’m not against the occasional sale, but I have too much respect for the romance genre to be okay with books frequently being sold for less than most Starbucks beverages.

  • I want different. I’m a contemporary romance author, and the market is really, really crowded right now. When I first dreamed of being a writer, there were only a couple contemporary romances being released in a month. By the time I got my first book deal, there were a couple contemporary romances coming out a week, but it was still possible to feel like you could stand out. These days, there are dozens and dozens of contemporary romances coming out. Every. Single. Week. I’m thrilled that the genre is so popular. That so many authors are living their dreams as a published author. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t discouraging to know that it gets harder with every single release to be seen and heard amidst all the noise. Not to mention, the genre has evolved a lot since I wrote my first book. And while I completely respect the natural evolution of the marketplace, I’m also extremely aware that I haven’t grown in the same direction as the contemporary romance genre in general. After a couple years of trying to keep up with all the big names and big trends, I realize that the best option for me right now is to zig when everyone else zags.

  • I want more. More freedom, more productivity, more creativity, more growth, more innovation, more respect. I’m done settling. And I’m tired of compromise.

I’m sure some of you are reading the above and thinking, “This woman sounds like a total diva …”

Damn straight.

If knowing what I want and refusing to settle for less makes me a diva, bring on the labels.

But. Diva isn’t my theme word (though come to think of it, it’d make a fitting one—I’ll make diva my 2019 spirit animal instead!)

To be honest, I had a hard time finding a theme word (or phrase) that encompassed everything my soul is craving this year. I contemplated Bigger. More. Growth. Expansion. Empire. Fancy. Step up. Elevate.

All were close, none were quite right.

And then, when scouring the thesaurus for something that jumped out at me, something did:


The moment I read the word, I knew that was it—my theme word for 2019. It defines exactly how to make decisions in 2019, how I want to live my life this year.

I’m due for an upgrade. Of my health, my career, my creativity, my happiness levels, my brand, my relationships, my personal space. Upgrade has all of the benefits of diva without the negative connotation. It’s wanting better because you deserve better and have earned it, through hard work and refusing to compromise your worth.


Lauren Layne’s 2019



Spirit Animal


Quote to live by:

Keep your head, heels and standards high.
— Coco Chanel