Have you heard people talking about a “Word of the Year“?
More and more of them are even ditching the whole idea of constantly making New Year’s resolutions and replacing them with this new concept.
Resolutions are great, but at a certain point, they start feeling like rules, and for many people, it becomes too hard and restrictive to stick to them.
It doesn’t have to be that you’re weak if you don’t accomplish all your resolutions. People change all the time, together with their desires and goals.
So, this time perhaps you can consider a new goal to pursue alone or together with others. Let’s check out what a word of the year is really about!
Why You Should Choose Your Word of the Year
A word of the year is a simple yet effective idea that more people are opting for.
It’s like a mantra you choose according to the specific needs of your soul.
You should choose your word of the year because when it’s at the front of your mind, you’ll always have something to motivate and encourage you when everyday things get tough.
Also, a specific word helps you to prioritize things in your life and focus on those that really matter to you.
What’s something you want to concentrate on in the coming year?
Do you want to focus more on your career or personal growth? Or would you prefer to spend more time with your family and make more space to enjoy some quality activities with your loved ones?
Either way, when you choose your word of the year, you’ll primarily help yourself not to feel overwhelmed while trying to balance all the things that matter in your life.
How to Choose Your Word of the Year
The best thing is that creating your inspirational word of the year is easy. Perhaps you already have some in mind?
If not, don’t worry; we have a couple of things to make this easier for you.
You don’t need anything particular to start — just a journal or a blank sheet of paper, and off we go!
It’s hard to choose a word that’s supposed to motivate you without reflecting on your past.
Take some quality time with yourself. Leave your phone in another room and remove all distractions. The first thing you want to do is to thoroughly reflect on your past year.
Here are some useful questions that could help with this process.
- What could I use less or more of in the following year?
- Are there habits I’d like to change?
- How well do I sleep in general?
- What did I accomplish in the past year?
- What are three words that would best describe my past year?
- What kind of person do I want to become? Which characteristics should I boost to become the best version of myself?
- How do I feel by the end of the day? Would I be satisfied to feel like that in the next five years?
- If not, how would I want to feel?
Don’t overthink while writing down the answers. Just jot down all the things that pop into your head without further editing and trying to make it look perfect.
Remember, it’s all about being completely honest with yourself without distractions from the external world.
Reflect on important areas in your life:
- Physical and mental health
- Milestones and life goals
Once you review your considerations, you’ll have a better insight into how things are at the moment, as well as the direction you’d like to take in later stages in your life.
What would the ideal day feel like in your case? Try to visualize it and focus on this “feel” part.
For example, let’s say you want to visualize what your morning routine is supposed to look like. Here are some questions that can help you do that:
- Which little things would make you feel happy and would boost your day from the start?
- How would you like to feel at work, at home, or throughout the day?
- How do you want to feel when the day is done, right before you go to sleep?
That’s why going “offline” and shutting the outer world down is so important — you want to remove all the external distractions that could affect your answers and perhaps take you the wrong way.
While visualizing your perfect life, ask yourself, without any pressure, “what word do I want to focus on in the next year?“
Try to do this step when you wake up or before you go to sleep. You could light a candle or turn on an aromatherapy diffuser too. Do whatever it takes to feel calm so your intuition can provide you with the answers you’ve been looking for.
Make a List
Take 10-15 minutes to create a list of all of the words that randomly come to your mind when you think about what you want to focus on in the next year. Need help with these?
Let’s check some of the common examples of motivational words:
No self-editing, just write it all down, no matter what the list looks like at first!
Refine Your List
Review the list of your motivational words and choose your favorites.
Try not to circle too many words. Maybe three is enough?
Chances are you’ll notice there’s a specific theme that links the words you put on the paper. Do some of them make you feel more excited than the other ones?
Are there words that make you feel scared or nervous? Sometimes words that make you uncomfortable can be a sign you’re on the right track.
A process of change isn’t easy most of the time, and it’s natural to fear it.
Again, take your time and try these words on, so to speak. See which ones feel right. Don’t overcomplicate things and analyze too much here.
Sometimes you just need to trust your gut and let the right words choose you.
And Finally, Ask Yourself This
Now when you got your three words — or maybe even less; it’s up to you — ask yourself one more question: How committed are you to this?
If you’re merely interested, it means you’re just a little bored with your life, so you’re looking for some new excitements.
That’s cool, but if that’s the case, chances are you’ll pull out multiple excuses when the first obstacles come along the way.
However, if you’re truly committed to change, you’ll take your word(s) seriously and do whatever it takes to use them as a tool to get you the life you truly want.
Take a day or two to consider how serious you are about this. Sometimes we only think we need change, whereas, in reality, we’re not ready to take some real action toward a better version of ourselves.
What If You’re an Overthinker?
Choosing the best word of the year is about motivating yourself. If you’re an overthinker, don’t excessively stress about creating one more goal you need to cross off your list.
If you’re a perfectionist, you might be feeling nervous about whether you really got “the best of the best” word(s). Also, maybe you’re not reading this article on January 1, so you feel like you’ve missed the magic.
Let’s make things clear then: First, you don’t have to use your word from January 1 to December 31 for it to work out.
You can use your word any time during the year, whenever you feel it’s the right time to make changes.
Second, you don’t have to really use just one word during the whole year. Maybe you’ll realize the word you’ve chosen wasn’t really the ONE.
That’s OK; you can always change it after a while. Also, don’t consider this exercise as a failure.
Third, realizing that a word doesn’t motivate you enough can also help you learn about yourself and get closer to the one that will get you more excited.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Just One Word
If it’s hard to find a single word of the year, you can make a set of three related ones. This way, you can pick one word to cover different parts of your life.
That way, your mantra becomes even more personalized.
Whether you work on one or multiple areas, having a common word or even a set helps you put your life together and pay more attention to living here and now.
You’ve Got Your Word, Now What?
Now when you’ve got your word of the year, remind yourself to use it as often as you can!
Create your very own phone wallpaper that features your mantra. You can use it as a personal hashtag — other people don’t even need to know what it means because it’s all about setting your own personal reminder.
Decorate your journal or planner with your special word and try to display it on a regular basis.
Some Final Words
Choosing your word of the year grounds you and helps you focus on things that matter to you.
Here are basic steps to do that:
- Reflect on your past year.
- Visualize things you want.
- Remove distractions and relax by yourself to delve deeper and see what things you really want in your life.
- Brainstorm and make a list of random words you think of when you imagine what your perfect life is supposed to look like.
- Review your list and leave a word that works the best for you — or three of them.
- Ask yourself if you’re committed enough to really turn these words into your mantra for a longer period of time.
Set reminders to use this word and to remember why it was there in the first place. In the end — live your mantra to get to the best version of yourself and finally head to the life you’ve always wanted!