Why You Should Choose a Word for the YearDec 26, 2021
Choosing a Word for the Year to Guide You
Choosing one word as my guiding word for the year is a practice that I started a few years ago, and talked about in depth on a blog post in 2019 on the old blog site... but its worth revisiting because I highly recommend you choose a word for your year, and so I'm going to tell you why and show you how!
Back in 2019, I knew there would be lots of changes; major phases of my life were coming to an end and there would be a lot of decisions I would need to make moving forward.
In the past, I had a limited belief I was not even aware of, which was “I’m so indecisive and I’m not very good at making decisions”. My past actions had indicated that I swayed back and forth between directions and I always wanted to ensure I was making the exact right choice.
There are two things I have learned this past year in regards to making “the exact right choice.”
- The first is that your gut always knows what the right choice is. In the past I had simply been ignoring my gut response and instead kept searching externally for answers.
- The second lesson was that doing nothing was worse than choosing the “wrong” thing.
Truth be told, you can’t go wrong: if you listen to your gut, make a choice, and still feel like it wasn’t exactly what you hoped for, you still learned something. In every risk, you will either win and be happy, or “lose” and be wise.
Additionally, this taught me to trust my gut, trust my decision, and trust the path I was on. ‘Trust’ was my word for 2019 and trust was exactly what I did.
The following years, I continued this practice. In 2020, my word for the year (or phrase) was "stepping in." I had just started my business towards the end of 2019, and my intention was to really step into my own, my business, my power, and my life in this year. Everything was new (and scary and unknown) and it was my reminder to show up anyways.
Then in 2021, I chose the word "lean back". That first year of business, in all honesty, did lead to a lot of hustling because of all the preconceptions I had about what I "should" be doing in order to be successful and I was doing ALL THE THINGS (exactly the opposite of what I teach today!).
It's been a year of letting things flow, and seeing more stability and results in my business than ever before, simply because I was showing up in alignment and it FEELT GOOD!
What does Choosing Word Mean for Your Year?
Back in 2019, with my word "trust, "I made this word my intention. When I got stressed about the future, I came back to my word. If I felt overwhelmed by everything on my to-do list, I reminded myself to trust that it would all work out. In cases where I was unsure if I had made the right decision, I trusted that I had made this choice for a reason and the lesson would reveal itself.
I implemented the word into my life. I made a screensaver for my phone and computer so that I would constantly be reminded of my word and what it meant to me.
My 2019 word totally shifted my experience, and the results are something I will be carrying forward into the rest of my life.
Why Choosing a Word of the Year is Beneficial
Now is when the tangible steps and insights come into play; I’m going to summarise everything I have shared through my own story in the form of overarching points that you can actually put to use – yay!
Choosing a word allows you to have guidance in moments of uncertainty. Coming back to your word reminds you of your capabilities, passions, goals, priorities, and so much more.
Deciding on one word to guide you through the year will make it feel like you have a theme topic for your year! This theme topic acts as a form of being intentional. As previously mentioned, this word can act as guidance in moments of uncertainty helping you stay true to your deeper purpose.
Your word can become your connection to your deeper Why. For instance, when I chose “trust”, I knew that a lot would be changing in my life. The practice of trusting connected to me to my deeper Why; it allowed me to practice trusting my path and choices that would ultimately lead me to my purpose of coaching and living my dream life.
Choosing one word (or phrase) allows you to create intentionality around your year – and you know how much I love talking about being intentional!
How to: Choosing a Word of the Year
So, here it is – the secrets we’ve have all been waiting for; how to choose your word for the upcoming year?
Dream into the future
What is your vision for this upcoming year? What are dreams that you have? What things would you like to create?
I encourage you to be very free and playful with this. This isn't about creating the perfect "goal list" (it's actually the exact opposite of what I want you to do). This is about taking a little stroll into your dream of the future.
Set a timer for 3-5 minutes and just take that stroll. Put your hand on your heart and take 5 deep belly breaths. And then allow yourself to get excited about possibilities and potential.
Whenever thoughts arise about the work or the stress or anything else that doesn't feel warm and cozy, come back to your breath and your path that you are strolling down.
And then ask: what is this upcoming year about for me? What is the intention I would like to set? What is the year or phrase to guide me?
Create space and listen for the answer. It's already within you! And maybe it's already come to you or if it felt unclear today, it will come to you in the next couple days. You have already set the clear intention that you are identifying a guiding word.
Need some guidance determining your vision? Check out this visualisation meditation to help you gain clarity!
Make it meaningful
Having a word is not actually about the word at all; it’s about the emotions that are evoked when you connect with the word. Therefore, the word needs to be fitting with where you currently are in your life.
Ask yourself these questions: What do you want to be doing more of? What do you want to be focusing on? How do you want to be showing up? Is this a year of strength or giving grace? Where do you need guidance and support?
Journal and determine how you are feeling and how you would like to step into the new year. Allow your word to arise from this perspective.
Where will you need guidance? What is your priority goal?
Either of the above questions are helpful for identifying a theme for your upcoming year. This doesn't have to be a clear set goal or an accomplishment based goal, but a theme for the year is always a good way to identify your word for the year. Plus, it will help later on with prioritising and streamlining so that you can work less.
Maybe this year is about family for you and starting a family. Or maybe this year is about your business and scaling to that next level, or simply starting your business. Maybe this year is about your career, and really coming into your own or finally finding a job you love. Maybe this year is about relationships for you, with yourself and with others, and finding your life partner.
What words come up when you think of a greater goal of yours?
Create a ritual surrounding your word
To dive in really deep, allow this word to ripple into every area of your life as your theme! Create a ritual around the word to connect with the meaning of this word on a daily basis. At the end of the day, it is not about the word itself, but what the word means to you and the emotions that are evoked.
Creating a ritual is simply a way to incorporate your theme word into your day to day life. Doing this prevents you from choosing a word and then forgetting about it.
Here are some ideas of how you can create a special personalized ritual around your word:
- Choose a theme song or make a playlist
- Make it a focus for meditation – choose a meditation that focuses on it that you can go to when you need it
- Make it part of weekly or monthly intention setting
- Create reflection points in the year when you will come back to the word, reflect on how it’s going
- Make a graphic and set it as your screensaver
- Make your word part of your daily to-do list – i.e. if your word is “take action” maybe you want to end each day by writing down one way you took action that day.
Be open to adjusting
Go with the flow!
Life shifts, things change. Maybe the reasoning behind why you chose the word changes throughout the year or you feel that the word itself might change meaning.
For instance, in my first year of doing this, my word shifted from trusting that everything will work out to trusting myself and grounding that feeling within me. This is only something I realized once I started living my year with this word in mind. The experiences I had over the year shifted how the word fit into my life. The word itself might adjust. Be open to adjusting the meaning behind your word as the year unfolds.
At the end of the day, it is not about the word itself, but what the word means to you and the emotions that are evoked.
Share with me in the comments, what word or phrase did you choose for your year?
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