If you are a long time reader you know I will choose a word of the year. A word that all my goal setting is build around. A word that will guide me, motivate me, challenge me. After a decade of choosing a guiding word of the year I feel like I have a bit of knowledge about this topic. Today I want to share how to choose a word of the year and implement it throughout. Maybe I can inspire one of you to join in the practice or try something new.
Before I share some of the practices and exercises I do I want to have a look back at what words I have chosen in the past decade.
2023 Magic … a word as crazy and unpredictable as it could be with a positive twist.
2022 Celebrate … a word to celebrate life. I loved its positive vibe. It served me well.
2021 Grace … a word that was like a blanket in all this pandemic struggle.
2020 Moxie … a word with so much potential that was a bit knocked out by the pandemic.
2019 Trust … a word that kept me on my path. It was not as dominant and demanding as others.
2018 Beautify … a word that held promise and made me enjoy life again.
2017 Become … the most transformative word for me. The year I decided to become a freelancer. And the year I left the clouds of depression behind me.
2016 Lose … the weakest word so far.
2015 Appreciation … I wasn’t done with this word so it re-appeared
2013 craftaliciousME. … I started my blog because I put ME in the center
2012 Appreciation … I loosely drifted into the word of the year goal setting realm.
How to choose a word of the year
You can just declare a word of the year to be your word. And it could work out really well. However, my experience tells me to put a little bit more thought into it, to have a lasting effect throughout the year. Otherwise you may not remember what it was (as I can’t remember what my 2014 word was).
- Take your time in finding your word.
Work through this ebook to find your word. Do one exercise each day. Use all the 5 days to get clarity. Let it sit and simmer if you need more time. I can only recommend. Even if you are sure what your word could be – it will be eyeopening.
- Passive or Active Word
Do you need a kick in the butt or a hug to guide you through the year? Choosing a passive or active word can make all the difference. I had more passive ones (like trust) that kept me in my path. But the active ones have made the changes (become, celebrate) happen. Be honest what do you need. You don’t need to tell anyone.
- Choose a positive word.
I can only highly recommend from experience to choose a positive word. It will be more motivating. Choosing a negative word is setting you up for failure. When I choose the word “Loose” it was all doomed. My intentions and goals were fine but the word was demotivating. If I had chosen “Gain” instead it would have made a lot more difference.
- Think of an extension of your word.
If you have already chosen a word this year think of how to extent or elevate your word. What would be the next step? When I had my word “Moxie” I knew “Grace” was the follow up (mainly because I saw the line “grit grace moxie” on Pinterest). “Magic” followed “Celebrate” as it felt like the after glow of celebration.
Now that you have found your word of the year it’s time to implement.
How to announce your Word of the Year to the Universe
- Release it into the world.
Write your word in the sand. In the snow. Yell it to the wind. Use a sparkler writing it in thin air. Write it on a piece of paper and burn it. Write it on a rock and throw it into the river. Whatever you can come up with. I have named turtles to swim through the ocean carrying my words.
- Write it all down (in a blog post or journal).
Bring all your thoughts to paper. The things that are exciting, the things that scare you. The things that are unknown.
- Create a list of goals, moments, activities that cater to your word.
This could be sorted into categories: home, family, relationships, work, etc
Or you could do by season or month.
- Create a mood board for your word of the year.
Leave through magazines, collect images, find fitting quotes. Think about color, and feeling when creating.
Bonus: frame it and hang it up over your desk.
- Tell people about your word choice.
This might be a bit tougher when you start out for the first time. I have only done so in recent years when the practice was a habit and part of myself.
How to stay connected to your word throughout the year
The first days maybe even weeks the word is omnipresent. You are feeling the high of having a companion. But what happens when life is getting hectic? The word moves to the background. Maybe it is a small wisper before it hides away. But you can keep the momentum going. Here are a few things I find helpful and many have been used one year or the other.
- Create a Pinterest board with your word.
When you feel low or unmotivated scroll through your board. I love having quotes or inspiring pictures on them. Here are some of my examples to give you an idea: Magic, Celebrate, Become
- Create a background.
Find a photo or create yourself a background for your phone, tablet or laptop. You could take a picture of your mood board. No other place will get as many eyeballs than those screens.
- Create a playlist that features only titles with your word.
Listen to it when you need to get back into feeling your word.
Bonus: you get to experience some new genres and artist this way.
- Find your word.
In anything you do. Reading the papers or a book? Does your word appear? When you drive around, where does it pop up? Can you collect quotes with your word of the year?
- Do monthly recaps.
Check in on the goals you created around your word. Have you been living up to those ideas? Did you come up with new ones?
- Create a piece of clothing or jewelry to wear.
I have made myself sweaters and a bookmark. I will someday make jewelry.
- Create a hashtag.
And collect all your moments and words and discoveries related to your word.
- Read books with your word.
Actively choose books that have your word of the year in the title.
- Create art with your word.
Write a poem, make a painting. Write a story. Stitch it on a piece. Heck if you can compose a song.
Have I inspired you to find a word of the year? Have you ever picked a word of the year? What was the strongest word you ever picked? Which word was a bust?