At the start of the year, it was always my tradition to write out a page long list of resolutions for the year.
They would focus on different parts of my life: health, faith, relationships, finances, etc. They would be things like, “Lose 25 pounds,” “Read the Bible daily,” “Put $3,000 into savings.”
They were admirable goals, but I found that after years, it was the same laundry list of things, and at the end of the year, I was often left with most unfinished. About 5 years ago, I had a friend ask if I had heard of using a single word to guide your year, instead of resolutions. The idea was intriguing and I decided to do it. Since then, I have not gone back to resolutions.
So what is a word of the year?
It’s a single word (or could even be a short phrase if you prefer) that you will use to focus your year on. It will hopefully guide you on your reflections and on your journey on where you want to go in the next year.
How you pick one?
Well, that can be the fun (or difficult) part. I personally like to journal, so that is what I do. I reflect on my year. What did I accomplish? What could I work on? Did anything stand out as something I would like to really move on for the next year? Now that I have been doing words, I use that time to reflect on my word choice for the previous year, but if you don’t have a word yet- no fear! Laying out and reflecting on your year can often lead you to the very word you are looking for!
I will also say, having a thesaurus handy had been helpful. Sometimes I will start jotting down words, and while the meaning of the word is close to what I am looking for, it’s not quite what I’m looking for.
For example, this year, I jotted down some words such as purpose, direction, and aspire. I kept looking at the words and the definitions, but realized that it wasn’t quite there. So then I plugged them into the thesaurus and found the word “intention”.
That was the word I was looking for.
I picked “Intention” for this year because I want to examine my intention behind my goals and actions. Am I focusing on that goal from a place of health and clarity? Or is it coming from a place of feeling like I’m not enough?
It can take some time to find the word, but once it hits you, it’s usually pretty clear!!
I have a word, now what?
As I mentioned before, I’m someone who journals. Once I’ve picked my word, I like to write the word really big on the top of a page, and then I write out what that word means to me and how I would like to focus on it for the coming year.
I will journal on a second page on how I intend to apply that word to different parts of my life. For example, last year my word was “Bloom.” I wanted to take some of the groundwork I had done the year before and really hit my stride and grow. One such place was my career, so I worked on taking classes through work that would allow me to feel more confident about taking on new roles and projects.
I also really feel like the word needs to be present somewhere in your life. Otherwise, you’ll forget about it. I know some people who will make it the background on their phone for the whole year. Some will tape a piece of paper on their nightstand or their mirror. Others will make sure it’s on every page of their planner.
I personally buy a bracelet every year with my word and I wear it every day. It’s also been a nice token as I can look back on previous years easily. I have found that it keeps me focused on my word and what I hope to accomplish.
Below are some blank pictures that you can plug in your word of the year and utilize in different ways!
If resolutions are something that have never really resonated with you when it comes to the new year, try doing a word of the year! You may find that it really helps in all of your goals and reflections of the coming year!
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