In my last post I talked about ALIGN, my word for 2022, and reflected on how this word had been so impactful on my year, in lots of areas of my life and in more ways than I could have imagined. I'm still in a quandary about which one I will choose for the coming year. There are so many!!
I have been taking part in this practice for about 8-9 years now. It first started when it became clear that New Year's resolutions were setting me up to fail. A friend of mine suggested that maybe I should try this, something more gentle and positive, something that could be worked with the whole 12 months, not just the first three weeks, something pressure and expectation-free. Like all good recommendations, it has stuck. Over the years I have chosen, Patience, Excel, Nurture and Grow to name a few. ALIGN for 2022 was such great choice and so right for me at this time of life. If, like me, you are also wondering about which word you're going to choose for the year ahead, I've put goether some pointers to help you decide.
First of all, please recognise and accept there are a LOT of words. I am the kind of person who usually wants to try everything, do everything, see everything, not miss out on anything. Reality is, there isn't enough time, space or energy, so I have to narrow things down to stop my little brain from imploding. Limiting my choices, like colours on a colour palette, makes everything less overwhelming and easier for me to get my head around.
Choosing a word can be really easy and doesn't have to be difficult. In fact you might even have an idea of what you want it to be. Some years my word has come to me easily, patience was the first one I chose, and this was at a time I was rushing through life, constantly on the go, being hard on myself for not achieving what I perceived I should and generally being quite hard on myself. It made me slow down and provided a constant reminder than I needed to be more patient, with myself, with others and with my creativity,
If there is no word jumping up and down shouting 'PICK ME NOW' or you've never done this before the following steps might help you narrow things down a bit. all you need is a piece of paper, notebook or journal and a pen or pencil and your brain switched on and some thinking time:
Think of your word as a guiding word for the year, not something you need to stick to rigidly or even think about each day, but a touchstone to come back when you feel you're heading a bit off-track. This should be an enjoyable experience, not something to stress about and if you feel you want to you can change your mind. There aren't really any hard and fast rules.
If you've chosen a word from the previous year, reflect on that for a while. Think about what went well, what worked, what didn't. Think about how this word impacted different areas of your life. I did that in my previous blog post and it gave me a great sense of satisfaction as I worked my way through it.
Think about the current year, take stock of your achievements and look back at how far you have come. I find taking part in the #lookbacktoleapforward accountability challenge from Tamara Grand, really helps me on a monthly basis to set myself small goals which really do add up when done over the course of twelve months. I sometimes also do this on a weekly basis as well and make notes in my gratitude journal about what I've achieved. It's great to go back over at the end of the year. And great to consider the following questions: What have I enjoyed and what haven't I enjoyed? What do I want more of in my life and what do I want to cut down on? What is serving me, filling my cup and what is draining my energy or causing me frustration? Let these initial thoughts guide you into thinking about what you want the next year to feel and look like? Make a mood board if this feels right.
Are there any things you specifically want to focus on over the coming year? Studies, holidays, challenges, special occasions, milestones, business goals, personal goals, self-care, connections, rest, health and wellbeing, work goals?
Are there any common themes arising? Do you have a sense or feeling of an 'action', a verb that might describe what you want this action to be, for example I chose nurture and grow in 2021 and excel in 2019. Are you thinking in terms of an adjective, a descriptive word to represent your desired word such as brave, my word for 2020. Could it be that it is a concrete object you want to focus on this year such as family, home, garden, self-care, balance.
Start thinking of some words that could work for you. Pick some words that relate to your themes. Write them down, make a list, use a thesaurus if you need a bit of help or some possible alternatives. How does that feel? Any clearer yet?
Sleep on it, you don't have to decide straight away. Look at your list a few days later or even a week later. Which word speaks to you the most?
You don't just have to choose just one word, if you really can't decide then choose a few. Like I said earlier - there are no rules!! How would it feel to choose a word for each quarter? Maybe that's an option for you if you struggle to just choose one?
Good luck with choosing. My possibles for 2023, having gone through the journal process above, are IMMERSE and EMBRACE, both action verbs, but both with a feeling of gentleness about them. I have more thinking to do. But I will leave you with those thoughts for now. Let me know what you're thinking in the comments.....