When most of us are planning New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of each year, I prefer to choose a single word to guide me through the year instead. I choose a ‘word of the year‘. It is just one word that resonates with me the most, one that I feel is either lacking in my life or will help with my goals for the coming 12 months. It is a word that I spend a good deal of time mulling over until the right one just sticks in my mind. It is the word that helps me question each decision I make to ensure I stay on track. It is the word that will guide me for the year.
For the past 3 years I have chosen a ‘word of the year’ and it’s served me pretty well so far. It’s not something I’ve really talked about publicly yet but as I have found it quite effective I thought I’d share with you now.
My ‘Word of the Year’ story
I’m not sure exactly where I came across the concept of a ‘word of the year’. It has been mentioned in many places across the interwebs and I am by no means claiming it my own original idea. I think I read about it so many times the idea just stuck. However, I do mostly remember reading about it from Susannah Conway so I’m going to attribute her for bringing the concept to me.
At the time I wasn’t in the greatest of places in my life. 2013 had been a really tough year and I was struggling. So as 2014 rolled in I wanted to take decisive and meaningful action but also be open to new things. Making resolutions often means knowing what your goals are, they are specific – whereas I didn’t know everything that I wanted to achieve.
Instead, I choose a word.
The word I chose was abundance. For 2014 I welcomed and encouraged abundance into my life. Abundance in love, in work, in money, in opportunities. I kept abundance in mind on a frequent basis as I went through the decision-making process of life.
The result? I finally believed that I deserved more. I finally let myself believe I was allowed to earn money. I allowed myself to love without fear. I sought out new opportunities and took new risks. I started to grow my blog and business. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and developed new skills, rekindling old ones. I embraced abundance in all areas of my life. It worked!
For 2015 I was living in Thailand, just myself and Raj. We had a few months of just the two of us against the world. It was exactly what we needed at that point in time and it felt great. But I was lacking in other areas of my life.
In 2015 I chose the word connect. In everything I did last year I prioritised connecting with people. Connecting in business and my personal life. With family. With friends. Making new friends. Making new connections. Being open and gracious, kind and enthusiastic.
The result? I made loads of new friends. I took up more public speaking opportunities. I hosted more social media training workshops. I spent time with my family. I went to events and networking opportunities on my own. I purposefully put myself ‘out there’ to connect with people in all kinds of ways. I ended up with more friends and fun times. And I had a number of new work opportunities that I might not have had.
My Word for 2016
This year’s word didn’t come to me straight away. I didn’t wake up on New Year’s Day with a word in mind. Instead it took several weeks of mulling, running different words through my mind, reflecting on what I was missing or lacking or needing in my life.
Choosing a word of the year does require thoughtful mulling.
In the end it came to me. In France actually, as I was skiing down a slope (well, we call it a slope it probably was a slight incline, ha!).
In 2016 I choose the word strength.
Strength means all kinds of things.
It’s strength in the physical sense. My body is the weakest and podgiest it’s ever been and that makes me really sad, not to mention low on energy.
It’s strength in the mental sense. I have a number of big ‘life’ things happening this year and I know it could get rather stressful. So I’m looking for mental strength to guide me through.
It’s strength in the emotional sense. I have come to realise lately that I tend to be an accommodating kind of person. That is, I try to avoid confrontation or disagreement as much as possible and thus, end up accommodating other people’s needs or desires above my own, to the point that it has been detrimental to my life. So I need emotional strength to stay true to myself and know that not accommodating other people doesn’t make me a bad person.
Finally, it’s about spiritual strength. And that bit is personal to me, probably not for internet discussion.
How To Choose Your Word of The Year
1. Spend some time reflecting on the past year and project forward on the kind of things you want to achieve in all areas of your life.
2. Consider the parts of your personality or mindset that you would like to improve upon.
3. Focus on the position you would like to be in 12 months ahead of now.
4. Start running through potential words that you like.
5. Stop at the word that you keep repeating back to yourself time and time again.
The word that resonates the most with you is your word of the year. It will be your promise, your guide, your mantra.
Do you choose a word of the year? Do you find it effective?