Choosing Your Word of the Year and Why it Matters
Last year (2021) was the first year of my life where I've truly connected to and stayed true to my chosen word of the year. And might I say, I'm now an avid supporter of this annual process.
So what exactly is a word of the year?
The word of the year is essentially a chosen theme or ongoing reminder to help us stay focussed on bringing about positive change in our lives. I like to think of it as a compass, for it provides ongoing direction as we navigate and move through a new year. Once you've decided on your word of the year it's a good idea to write it down on a post it note and pop it around the house, or add it to your vision board (another very worthwhile January job!). If you are aspiring to change it's really important that you're reminded of your earlier commitment over and over.
As the year progresses, as you're making decisions in your day to day, come back to this word to help you choose the path that best supports the positive change you seek. It will likely take practise, and lots of reinforcement, but it gets easier.
Wondering how to choose the word of the year? This is how I did it.
In early 2021 I sat down with a pen and paper and wrote down all the things that had gone well for me during 2020. I also wrote down all the things that hadn't gone well, and where I'd faced challenges. I then looked to the year ahead, and on the back of all that I'd written, considered where I would like to see more positive change in my life and where I really needed things to feel different. (And let's remember, nothing changes if nothing changes!).
The upshot of that process for me was the word EASE.
Now not for a minute would I say any of us had an 'easy' year during 2021, far from. Instead, I used 'ease' to help me make decisions. For example, instead of mulling over decisions I reminded myself to choose the answer that came fastest and created the path of least resistance. And that was the pertinent point - I was looking for as little resistance during the year as I could muster.
For example, if an opportunity came my way (and felt right) I took it, rather than weighing up alternatives/looking elsewhere/trying to get a better deal/losing hours and days in the process. If an opportunity dropped in my lap my choice was to choose the easy way forward - to support EASE wherever possible.
Here's a couple of good examples, albeit based on pretty significant decisions.
When my partner and I bought our house in 2021 (via a Zoom auction) we chose EASE to guide us. I in particular wasn't looking to lose sleep over the auction; I wasn't interested in negotiating for days after it was passed in at our final bid and the vendor offered a higher price. If it wasn't an ease-ful process it wasn't going to be ours. I took the slightly higher price they requested (knowing also that it was less than what we'd budgeted for) and chose to sleep well that night.
When he and I had to go shopping to buy a dryer, oven, dishwasher, TV and mini microwave for our new home we agreed that if we found a salesperson we liked and sensed we could trust we'd take his advice and get out of there as fast as we could. And I kid you not, we got all of that within 45 mins (except the oven). We asked for 3 options, low to higher price, then took the one that fell within our budget. So easeful!
Making decisions ease-fully took practice too. I needed to keep reminding myself that EASE was my chosen compass. And sometimes my partner had to remind me to stop overcomplicating things and come back to it (which didn't always feel easeful!). Life is and can be so very tricky. But let's agree, we all have the capacity to make different choices that will ultimately create more ease in our lives.
I've since decided on my word for 2022 - EVOLVE. This year I aspire to ongoing personal development, business growth and change (and a bundle of other things) out of a desire to feel like I'm always moving forward and growing - so with many decisions I make, I'll keep the word evolve close.
Now, before I let you go, I'd love to know - have you chosen a word and successfully stayed true to it across a year? And, if you've chosen one, what is your word for 2022?