Happy 2016! At the start of each new year, I love the idea of selecting one meaningful, motivating word to serve as a personal guide for the next 12 months. And I have three simple steps to do it.
STEP 1: Choose it wisely. To choose my word each year, I first imagine how I want to feel on December 31st, looking back at what I’ve experienced and achieved. What positive theme do I want to be able to see weaving through my life as I reflect on the past year? Sometimes it helps to notice the experiences and patterns I’m tired of and want to release from, and then figure out what the flip side of that would look like. Sometimes I want to build upon awesomeness that’s begun sprouting up; I want a word that reminds me to nurture and nourish that.
STEP 2: Use it wisely. And then, throughout the year, I use my word as a litmus test. In any situation, I can ask myself if it lines up with my word of the year. If it doesn’t, that’s a good indication that I’m off-track and need to recalibrate.
STEP 3: Don’t forget it. Take it from someone who’s been there, done that. It’s a bummer to reach December 31st and realize you left your word (and, likely, dreams) in the dust. Your word of the year is meant to stick with you through thick and thin. So post it somewhere you’ll see it frequently. Paste it on your vision board. Illustrate it and frame it. Write it on your bathroom mirror with a dry-erase marker. Keep it front and center to lead the way all year long.
Last year, I chose the word SERENITY and it served me well. I wanted to point my inner compass towards feeling good in all ways – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, professionally, personally – with a constant foundation of peace and calm holding me steady through it all.
Right away last January, I had to put that word to good use. Our little guy, Tru, had been sick for nearly a month and only got worse while on our trip to Texas during New Year’s week. Once we returned home, we had three days straight of doctors appointments, pharmacy runs and blood tests. While juggling that with work and other commitments, I continually asked myself, “What are the choices I need to make to achieve serenity now?”
Sometimes, the answer was about expressing gratitude for the positives – a flexible schedule, good doctors, access to medicine, the ability to afford treatment. Sometimes, it meant taking a nap or talking to a friend on the phone while Tru rested. Sometimes, it meant choosing not to stress over unreturned emails or looming deadlines. And while we waited for test results (which wound up being inconclusive and he eventually got better), it meant not freaking out over what I didn’t know or obsessing about the possibilities, but just living in the present and celebrating any sign of progress with our little guy. By leaning on my word of the year, I surrendered to serenity and felt so much better for it.
This year, I’ve chosen a word that makes me smile from ear-to-ear…
Yep, this is my year to dance with GLEE! I knew I wanted to focus on cultivating joy this year, but that particular word didn’t feel quite right. I wanted something lighter, something brighter, something unique. I flipped through the thesaurus and when I saw “glee,” it jumped out at me. And then, I looked up the definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
“Exultant high-spirited joy,” it said. And I felt a shiver of truth and light buzz through me. There it is, I thought! GLEE is my word of the year. My guidepost for living, my companion in decision-making, my best bud in cultivating joy.
So, what word will guide you this year? If you need a little extra guidance to choose your word, there are two FREE (also a favorite word!) resources that I highly recommend and thousands of people have used: Christine Kane offers an awesome online Word of the Year Discovery Tool and Susannah Conway offers a five-day Find Your Word email class. Both are brilliant.
Wishing you a year that lives up to your highest expectations, dear hearts!