One of my favorite practices each year is to take some time before January rolls around to come up with a word I want to focus on for the year. It can be one to two words or maybe a simple phrase that sticks out to me and inspires me to work towards something new throughout the next year.
Even though my word of the year doesn’t replace any set of goals that I may be working towards for the year, it often goes along with my goals and can help to guide me through what I want to accomplish throughout the year. Often working as a sort of mantra for me.
Coming up with the perfect word for the year can be a pretty cathartic experience and I actually put it into an almost self-care like exercise. It’s a time for you to sit and purge your mind. It relaxing and refreshing and I love that it allows you to start your year off on a positive note.
So how do you come up with a single word to define your entire year?
How can one word properly sum up an entire year, your goals, and your life?
This can not be a quick decision. This really does have to be a thought exercise that may take you a few days to an entire month. Don’t feel like you have to just come up with a word because it’s January 1st and your behind. Take January to be your kick off month. Use this month to brainstorm, write, and rewrite your plans for the year… including your word.
If you’ve you’ve read my word of the year, then you know for me it was actually pretty simple. I had already been using this word when talking about what I wanted to do for 2020. But even still, I took time to sit and think about all of the possible words that may fit my year.
Take some time to think to reflect on the previous year
I get it, once Christmas is over, we all start thinking about the next year and starting to set those goals for the new year. But it really is important to stop and think about the last year. Think about all of those things that happened. Maybe you got an amazing new job, or had a baby, or moved into a new home. Maybe you dropped out of school to pursue your passion of music or started a business. Or maybe you had some crappy things happen? Did you lose someone this year? Did you lose your job or get in an accident or deal with some kind of major illness? These are all important factors that will help shape you and are things that are worth reflecting on.
You will also want to look back at those goals you set for the year and see which ones you kicked ass with and the ones that you didn’t get to at all or the maybe you just gave up on.
Use all of this to help direct you. Maybe your new word will help to keep you motivated so you keep moving on from the year you’ve experienced or maybe it will inspire you to break a bad habit you realized you had this year.
Think about the future
Where do you want to end up this year? Where do you want to be in 5 years or 10 years?
Maybe your word will represent growth or the future or where you want to head towards.
Come up with your goals
Sit down and come up with a specific set of goals for the coming year. For me, coming up with future goals and my word of the year comes from looking at what has happened, what I want to happen, and how I plan to make those goals happen. For 2019, my word was BE. I wanted to be more present, I wanted to be more assertive, I wanted to be more myself. Looking at my goals from 2019, you can see where BE fit into the mix with that. It helped support my goals and keep me motivated.
Sit down with a pen and a notebook and start brainstorming words and phrases that inspire you. It doesn’t have to make sense and it will look pretty crazy but it’s fun. This is where the mind dump comes into play. Whatever word comes to mind, write it down. If you feel strongly about the word write it in a different color, or place it in a special box, or write it bigger than all of the other words. Just make sure you highlight those words that evoke some kind of strong emotion or feeling when you think about it or write it out.
I have created a list of 84 words to help inspire you while you are brainstorming as well.
Put it all together
As you look at the words you’ve come up with and the goals you have for the year, if you have a word that seems to stick out to you or that you keep coming back to, that will most likely be your word. Take that word and see how it applies to you. Look at the definition and think about what that word means to you. Come up with a clear meaning that applies to you and how you want it to be used for you this year.
Put it to use
Now that you have your word of the year clearly defined, write it down. Put it on post-it notes on you bathroom mirror. Put it on your refrigerator, maybe in your purse. Write it down in your planner or journal.Put it up at work. Put your word up as a reminder of what you are working towards this year and let it be your mantra to help guide you.
Do you have a favorite quote or word? Let me know in the comment section below. Make sure to hit that subscribe button too, so we can continue to grow the Goldfish and Gin community together.