How to Choose Your Word of the Year

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Do you normally make New Year’s resolutions or goals?  What about a word of the year?

Making goals gives me a feeling of accomplishment, but I admit that I’m actually pretty bad at following through with them. It seems like something always gets in the way to derail me. I love the idea of the new year being fresh with no mistakes in it yet (thanks Anne of Green Gables, lol).

Since goals haven’t worked out for me, I thought I’d give a “word” a try for this new year.


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How to Choose Your Word of the Year. Why and how to choose a word of the year.

Why Choose a Word of the Year?

A word can help you remember what your main focus is on in your life right now.  A word can be an “umbrella” that applies to many different areas in your life and helps you see how all of your goals are intertwined.

For example, the word “growth” could apply to growth in a lot of situations- growth professionally by learning a new skill, growth in your family or friend relationships by spending more time together, growth in your savings account by looking for new ways to save, etc.


Related Post: 11 Realistic Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions


How to Choose Just One Word?

You have to get honest with yourself and do some thinking. Here’s some guidance on what to consider (you might want to write your answers down):

  1. Think about last year, what you liked and didn’t like, how you felt, what you spent your time on, what you wanted to accomplish personally and professionally.
  2. Did you accomplish what you wanted? Think about how this year can be different from the last year and what you can do to bring about those changes.
  3. What are your priorities and current goals? For yourself and your family.
  4. Where do you want to be at the end of next year?

You should start to see some recurring themes in some of your answers.

Write the words down that come to mind. If you already have one that’s screaming at you, then that’s it! If not, then you might want to think about each word you’ve written down and how it applies to your goals for this year, until you decide on one.

Really, you don’t have to choose just one word. You could choose a couple of words, or even a phrase. It’s all about what works best for you!


Using Your Word of the Year

Now that you have a word, what do you do with it?

Here are some ways I’m going to put my word, HEALTH, into action- use it to focus on 4 areas in my life: my health, family health, relationship health and spiritual health.

That sounds great in theory, but I want to have some actionable goals attached to each one.

I need to figure out how I want to make improvement in these areas, and what will “improvement” mean to me? Otherwise how will I know if I’ve been successful at the end of the year?

So I have 3-4 goals for each one and I’ll try to focus on a few of them at a time. This way I won’t feel overwhelmed and give up.

For improving my health for example, if I want to lose 20lbs, what do I need to do to make that happen?  Exercise certainly, change my diet somewhat, get more sleep, drink more water, and I’m sure there could be other things.

But if I think about all of that, it sounds exhausting! So I’m going to first focus on adding in more exercise to my life for at least a month. Once I’ve gotten into that habit, I’ll add in another.


Related Post: How to Make New Mom Friends When You’re an Introvert


A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish

How to Stay Motivated

    1. Envision yourself at the end of the year and how you want to feel.
    2. Write down the current goals you’re focusing on, read over them daily and don’t try to do too much at once.
    3. Have your word in a few places around your house- decorate with their word, or just put it on a sticky note in places you can see it often, like your computer monitor or bathroom mirror.
    4. Reward yourself when you meet your goals if you find that works better for you (just not with food). Sometimes we need a little push, so adding a reward might give you the extra shove to reach your goal when you’re feeling tired.

I don’t expect to be able to do ALL THE THINGS, in fact, I know I won’t. But I’d like to at least accomplish half of what I set out to do and make good progress on the rest.

Be realistic when setting your goals, start small, and work your way up, then you’ll have a better chance of accomplishing them.

Have you tried a word or phrase of the year before? How did it go?


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