As I shared, recently, my word for the new year (read it here), I thought it might be a good idea to give some pointers to help you choose your word for the year, your focus word, your theme, without you getting your knickers in as big a twist as i've done in the past, and feeling too frozen to pick a word.
So I've gather some tips I think come in handy when picking your word.
But first, let me recap a little incase you're wondering what this 'word' thing is exactly. Basically, over the last few years, I've seen people move away from setting specific new year resolutions (which, let's face it, we rarely adhere to) to picking a word (or two) which sums up the kind of year you wish to experience.
The idea behind a word for the year (or theme, or focus word) is that it sets the tone for your year ahead and enables you to make decisions and choices which keep the limelight shining on your word and honouring its meaning to you.
So how do you go about finding and choosing your word? Here are my tips:
Tip #1: Define what you would like for the year ahead
You don't need to be specific, you don't need to look into your crystal ball.
One place you may wish to start is to look back at the past year (or couple of years) to determine what could have gone better, what you missed, what didn't quite go as you would have wished. Are these things still relevant for you moving forward in life? If so, then they might just point you in the direction you want to go and, from there, you can find a word that defines this.
Another place to start is to look forward. Where would you like to be this time next year? What do you need to do to achieve that? Again, this might pinpoint you to a theme from which you canfind a word that defines your theme.
Tip #2: Don't let overwhelm stop you in your tracks
There are a lot of words to choose from and if you doubt what I say, go and pick up a dictionary and see how thick it is. So many words, how do you know which one to choose? Which will be best encapsulate your theme for the coming year? Which word is the perfect word?
This is where I wasted time, getting my knickers in a twist, to the extent that for a few years I simply couldn't find the right word that would create the perfect year. I was putting so much pressure onto one single word. I thought that only the perfect word could create the perfect year. So, rather than just pick an imperfect word that would keep me focused throughout the year, I didn't pick any word and quickly lost my focus.
Here's the thing, lovely soul. As much as both you and I would love to have a perfect year, you can't put that pressure on either your year or a single word. If you do, you'll fall flat on your face and won't even get past the starting line. So let's remove the heaviness right here, right now and promise to just pick a word. It won't be perfect and it doesn't have to be. At least you'll have a word.
Tip #3: Don't compare
Comparisonitis (when you compare yourself or something about yourself with someone else) is destined to create unhappiness and failure. If you're uncertain about your word and decide to turn to friends or social media for inspiration, to see if anyone has chosen their word and what, indeed, that word might be, I guarantee you'll freeze. Because suddenly you'll scrutinise a word that you might have been considering and thinking it's nowhere near as fancy or sophisticated as someone else's. Suddenly you'll spot someone else's word that sounds great, something that you think you could 'borrow', and when you take it and apply it, halfway through the year you realise that it doesn't fit or suit you.
Here's the thing, lovely soul. Each and every one of us is unique and that's something to be celebrated. We're all, also, on different paths in life and at different stages of our paths. So what is right for one person won't be right for you. And if go searching for inspiration from others, you'll either feel disheartened or come up blank. Just don't do it.
Tip #4: Trust your gut
We all have intuition, that smart instinctual little voice or feeling, but we don't always listen to is or we choose to ignore it. Our intuition and gut feeling are what keep us walking along our life path. When you ignore it, after a while, you'll look back only to see that you've veered off your path.
So, lovely soul, listen to your intuition. What word is popping into your head? What word are seeing you everywhere you look? What word just feels right?
What happens after you've chosen/found your word?
Well one thing that doesn't happen, is magic. If you choose a word and then sit back and do nothing, don't expect things to change and improve. A word is just a word. On its own it can't create magic.
You need to focus on your word, to find ways to have it in the forefront of your mind each and every day, to ensure that everything you do or say is representative of your word. In essence you want to live, sleep and breathe your chosen word. Below are a few ways to help you do this:
Tip #1: Post-it notes - write your word on little pieces of paper and stick them in places where you'll see them regularly eg on the fridge, beside your computer, in your purse or wallet, on your bathroom mirror, beside your bed etc
Tip #2: Affirmations and inspiring quotes - create an inspiring and uplifting affirmation around your word and the theme that it represents (for tips on how to write an affirmation, click here), write it out and repeat it throughout the day every day - make it into your mantra. Similarly collect quotes from inspiring people that capture these essence of your word or theme.
Tip #3: Vision board - print or write out your word in large font and stick it in the centre of a large piece of paper (or thin card) at least A3 in size. Then in the space remainer gather pictures and other words that depict feelings, experiences, things that represent that word to you, inspire you and will keep your motivated. Have fun with this. You can also re-create your vision board as the screensaver on your computer.
Tip #4: Books, documentaries, films, songs - research and make a list of any books, documentaries, films or songs that have been created which are relevant to your word and theme and which will inspire you when you read, watch or listen to them, especially at times when you may be feeling a bit despondent and need a boost (songs are particularly good for a quick boost).
Finally, before I leave you to the fun and excitement of finding your word for the new year, I thought I'd leave you with some examples that might get your inspirational juices flowing:
change (my word for the year), love, gratitude, adventure, explore, discover, self-love, abundance, family, alignment, spirituality, balance, celebrate, challenge, growth, fulfilment, discipline, dedication, aspire, inspire, focus, energy, self-care, kindness, sincerity, giving, harmony, growth, dream, joy, learn, mindfulness, meditate, overcome, patience...