Choosing a Word for the Year

Have you heard about choosing a word for the year and using it as a mantra?
I’ve done it a few times now with varying degrees of success. I’m starting to think about a word for 2018 and want to reflect on my words for 2016 and 2017 as a starting point.

Choosing a Word for the Year

Choosing a Word for the Year in  2016 – BELIEVE

In 2016 my word of the year was Believe. It worked its magic. Believe got me through:

  • the uprooting of our little family from beside the sea in Wellington, New Zealand and the repositioning of us in the South East of England.
  • our gorgeous dog, Rhett, being diagnosed with cancer and the awful decision we had to make about the right time to say goodbye.
  • a tough few months at work before leaving my job in NZ to move to the UK.
  • starting my memoir and healing myself as I poured the stories onto the pages that I’d held tight inside me.

After last year I now understand how choosing a word for the year and using it as a mantra can be powerful. Each time things got tough I would whisper it to myself. I’d repeat it to myself over and over. I’d even spot signs of it as I went about my days.

Believe, to me, meant:

  • faith in myself and the universe that I could get through everything life was throwing at me.
  • me developing a deeper belief in myself (it strengthened me).
  • When things got tough it offered hope.
  • When ideas and inspiration came to me it spurred me on to pursue them.
  • And it reminded me of the magic that children believe in and how fun and exciting believing can be.

I feel deeply connected to Believe. I think it will continue to be an important word for me – especially during tough times. It’s proven itself a worthy mantra for sure!

Choosing a Word for the Year in 2017 – DARING

As 2016 closed out and with the approach of a new year I wanted to pick a new word. I had moved through one phase of my life and into a new one and I wanted something fresh and challenging for the new year.

So I played around with a few words (like brave and courage) and during a conversation with someone she asked me to clarify what I wanted from my word. I tried to explain that I wanted to challenge myself and take some risks. As I was speaking she picked up that I used Daring and it sounded like it lit me up. I sat for a while with Daring and it seemed to claim me. It felt right.

She also suggested that I use my Word for the Year as a lens in which to look through. I love this way of looking at it. It has helped me set goals for 2017 and it’s helping me to make progress and achieve those goals.

What has Daring encouraged me to do?

  • Commit to daily Yoga practice and try lots of new poses.
  • Work through The Artist’s Way completing all the tasks and exercises.
  • Get my memoir to 50,000 words and start sharing it with my husband and family.
  • Start the editing process on my memoir with a view to making enquiries with publishers.
  • Create this blog and putting my words and thoughts out into the wild.
  • Taking up pottery classes and embracing messy creativity.
  • Joining a mentoring and personal development group who meet monthly.
  • Having a go at NaNoWriMo.
  • Venturing out for walks in nature in all seasons and weather.
  • Signing up for things that I felt nervous about (workshops, training etc).

How has Daring changed for me through the year?

At the start of the year I had a picture in my mind of me stood in a superhero pose at the top of a hill surveying the lands in front of me. I was probably wearing a cape! Taking leaps and bounds from one challenge to the next never stopping for breath.

It’s a great fantasy but I’ve learnt that living a Daring life isn’t necessarily like that. Sometimes Daring means:

  • sitting quietly and Daring to dream my hopes and goals.
  • little nudges rather than giant leaps.
  • a reminder in my ear when I find myself taking the easy route (and asking myself how can I do this better?).
  • showing up 100% as much as I can, in everything that’s important to me.

As we see out the last weeks of the year I will be coming up with a word for 2018 that feels exciting and right. And while I search out my 2018 word I’ll also keep making the most out of Daring.

Have you considered choosing a word of the year or do you already do this? If so I’d love to hear what words you’ve had or what word you have chosen for 2018.

I originally got the idea for choosing a Word for the Year from the scrapbooking community. I think I first heard about it from Ali Edwards who runs a year-long one little word workshop and has heaps of great resources on her blog for helping you to choose your word.