There’s always something exciting about the beginning of a new year. It comes with the promise of new beginnings and adventures. 2021 is especially a year we’re looking forward to, hoping to leave behind the strange and taxing year of 2020.
The new year is all about resolutions, celebration, and starting fresh. There are different ways people look at the new year: to some, it’s merely another year and nothing special, to others it’s the annual time of the year to come up with resolutions to focus on for the upcoming year. But when goals and resolutions don’t come with a proper plan, we often forget about them in a few days. Which is why we like to come up with a word of the year, which can be less rigid than resolutions, providing flexibility and a gentle reminder for creating positive change and moving towards achieving your goals.
Choosing a word of the year can be quite a simple process, but should be well-thought and intentional. Your word should be more of a guiding principle of your actions and intentions to help you continue to stay on course with your goals. Think of it as more of a theme for the year as opposed to a set of rules to follow.
Here are five tips on how to choose your word of the year:
1. Reflect on 2020
Without reflecting on the previous year, it's very difficult to understand or determine the direction you want to go for the new year. It is important to first look at the past to move towards the future.
Start reflecting on the previous year, with some simple questions. Just jot down your answers, without editing. Your answers will help guide you towards what you want, don’t want or have been missing.
- What do I want more of in life?
- What could I have less of in life?
- What did 2020 teach me?
- What went well in 2020?
- What was my biggest accomplishment of 2020?
- What is one thing I would change about2020?(This should be something in your control)
These are just some questions to get you started, you may wish to go through some additional questions for further clarity.
2. Visualize your 2021
Think more about a feeling as opposed to the physical aspects of the year. How do you want to feel when you wake up, in the middle of the day, before bed? Try some exercises to relax before you start imagining your year: light a candle, meditate, take a bath or anything else that helps you relax.
Visualizing your year will also help you determine what your goals are for the year. After all, your word of the year should be a theme that is aligned with your goals and vision.
3. Create a list
Set your timer for 5-10 minutes and just start writing all the words that come to mind– no editing!
Here’s a list of some words to get you started:
4. Review and narrow down
Review your list and start narrowing down. Depending on the size of your list, you may want to highlight 3-5 words that catch your attention. Chances are you’ll find a running theme between the words and may even find some synonyms!
Think closely about the shortlisted words and see what fits. Review your goals, look at your list and trust your gut.
5. Commit to your word
Now that you have your shortlisted words and your goals in front of you – line them up. Determine the word that fits the best and you can commit to. If you feel you can’t commit to any of the words, take some time to think about it or go back and review your words again. This process could take a day or so – try not to rush.
Choosing your word is only the first step. Now memorize it, put it in your calendar, on your mirror, jot it in your notebooks, make it your back or wherever you will see it regularly. My word of the year is focus, what is yours?