I imagine you’ve heard of people choosing a “word of the year.” Have you ever tried it? Last year was my first time and it was a guiding force in my life throughout the year. It served as a constant reminder of my goals and intentions for 2017 and it impacted my life in some huge ways.
In hopes that reading how I’m gearing up for an intentional year will inspire you to do the same, let me share the process that has helped me choose a word of the year along with the words I chose for 2017 and 2018.
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2017: My Year To Grow
Last January, I wrote the word “GROW” on a neon pink index card. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was full of meaning. It became a guiding force for me through some big decisions and I leaned on it as a reminder of my goals.
What helped me live out my word of the year was writing down specific ways I wanted to grow. Here are some of the bullet points I jotted down on the back of that pink index card:
- Grow our family
- Grow in my career
- Grow as a blogger
- Grow my creativity
I feel great about the growth I experienced in 2017. It was a big year of change and growth for us with highlights including having a baby, buying a new house, moving to a new city and starting new jobs. I also learned new creative skills and grew my blog substantially.
All in all, 2017 was a busy, stressful, life-altering year. I reminded myself of the word “GROW” over and over again as we navigated some big life decisions. That simple, four-letter word kept me focused on my goals, priorities and dreams.
Last year was my very first time choosing a word of the year and it turned out better than I could have imagined. I wasn’t sure one single word could make much of a difference, but boy was I wrong. I can say without a doubt that I will be choosing a word of the year every year going forward.
How To Choose A Word Of The Year
Although I’ve always liked the idea of having a word of the year, I could never think of one single word until last year. It seemed impossible to choose just one word to live by for the entire year so I never settled on one. Have you had similar thoughts? Here’s the process I discovered works for me.
1 | Brainstorm
Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down all of your thoughts for the coming year. What are your big goals? What do you want to achieve? What habits do you want to improve? What would make you happy? Think through each area of your life (family, marriage, friendships, career, health, hobbies, spiritual, etc.).
Read back through your brainstormed scribbles and look for themes. Combine similar thoughts into goals. For example, if you wrote down “exercise more” and “lose 10 pounds”, you could combine those two into a goal such as this: “Attend a fitness class three days per week.” Create goals that are measurable so you can track your progress and celebrate when you hit them.
2 | Set Goals
If your list of goals is lengthy, consider crossing some off the list. I’m totally guilty of getting a little crazy and writing down a dozen or more goals, but that’s not realistic! Focusing more effort on fewer goals will set you up for success. Read back through your goals and cross off any that don’t excite you. You may find that some of the goals on your list were things you wrote down because it feels like that’s what’s expected of you or because that’s what your friends are doing. Be sure that your final list of goals is in line with what you want in life. I recommend a maximum of 10 goals, but the fewer the better!
(I used the Powersheets Goal Planner for this process this year and highly recommend it!)
3 | Use A Thesaurus
Do another brainstorm, this time of single words you could use as your word of the year. Use your goals to spark ideas. Make a huge list of words! I like to have thesaurus.com open on my computer for this step and often type in one word to find similar words.
4 | Narrow Down Your Ideas
Read through the words you brainstormed and cross off any that you don’t like. It’s okay to go with your gut here. Read back through the words left on your list and think about how they could tie back to your goals for the year. Ideally, your word of the year will somehow be related to each of your goals. Continue crossing off words until you’re left with just one!
5 | Let It Marinate
You may end up with one word or you may be torn between a few. Let your word of the year ideas marinate for a few days or even a few weeks. There’s no need to rush and choose the first word you think of, it’s okay to take it slow!
6 | Display Your Word Of The Year
Once you’ve finalized your word of the year, display it somewhere! Frame it on your office wall, hang it on your bathroom mirror, tuck an index card of it in your wallet, get it engraved on a necklace, etc. Put your word someplace you will see it often all year long.
My 2018 Word Of The Year
While 2017 was all about growth in many areas of my life, I’m making this year all about spending more time focusing on what I already have and what I’m already doing. I want to slow down and dig deeper into the good things in my life. Instead of jumping from thing to thing like I tend to do, I want to be more focused and intentional with how I use my time, energy and resources.
After a lot of thought, I’ve declared “INVEST” as my word of the year for 2018.
Here are some of the specific ways I plan to live out my word of the year:
- Invest my energy in being a mom
- Invest my heart in nurturing my marriage
- Invest my focus in improving my health
- Invest my time in bettering my blog
- Invest my skills in growing in my job
- Invest my money in growing our net worth
I can’t wait to see what my Year of Investing has in store for me!
Here are some other words from the list I brainstormed — maybe one of them will inspire you!
Your turn! Did you choose a word for 2018? If so, I’d love to hear what it is and a bit about why you chose it!
Have a great day!