How I Choose My Word of The Year


When I first heard about the concept of choosing one word to encapsulate an entire year of your life I was skeptical. How could that do anything for you? What's the point? A good friend sat me down and explained that's it's less about trying to decided what the year is going to be like, and more about deciding what you're going to work on for the year. 

I am all about goals, resolutions, and setting new benchmarks for the year ahead, but for me these can often make me feel like I didn't accomplish much, when I actually accomplished a lot that just didn't make a list. 

That's how I began choosing a word for each year. In 2015 I chose the word 'quality'. My entire life I had been an avid Old Navy clearance section shopper. I bought the cheapest groceries I could afford. I opted for inexpensive, easy, and frequent when eating meals out, instead of a little pricier, new, and less often. I wanted to make new choices and re-arrange my way of thinking. Quality changed my life. I learned that there are things that I value that I had never tapped before-- one where experience and yes, quality, were prioritized over having lots of meaningless things just because I wanted to shop. 

In 2016 I chose the word 'flourish'. I'll tell you a lot more about my year with the word 'flourish' soon, but the short version is this: it turned my life upside down in more ways than 'quality' did. 

When it comes to sitting down and choosing a word, there are a few things that make it a lot easier for me, and I thought it might be valuable to share them with you.

1) Ask yourself what you'd like to change from the year before. 

For me this past year was very chaotic in terms of emotions and change. I did a lot of work on myself and on my business, which meant I was digging up roots and disturbing a lot of soil. Most of that seems to be settled now, so for me my word for next year needed to evoke calming. 

2) Set a few goals for yourself for the year. 

Do you want to train for a 10k? Do you want to finally learn to make the perfect croissant? Is this the year you finally get that tattoo you always wanted? Ask yourself what you'd like to do and write them all down. They may be totally unrelated, but your word of the year should cover all of that ground. 

3) Get to the core of those goals + make a list of words. 

What do those goals you just wrote out have in common? Is it obvious that you need to be taking more time for yourself? Has your mental health totally slipped to the wayside and you're thinking of trying yoga and a therapist in the new year? Did you realize you went most of 2017 without having much fun at all? Make a list of words that describe the commonality between those goals. 

4) Choose the word that speaks to you. 

... and don't be afraid to ask a friend. Look at that list of the words and ask yourself which word you want to be the banner of your new year. And give it time, it will come to you!

After you've chosen your word of the year, find a way to keep it with you and be reminded of it frequently. Have you chosen your word of the year yet? What are you considering?