Monday, January 2, 2017

How to Choose a Word of the Year

I chose my first word of the year in 2013 – change.  At the time, I had been reading a blog post about choosing a word of the year, rather than making resolutions.  Change started out as me leaving a comment about how there were so many *things* I wanted to change, but it took root, and that was my word of the year.

That moment was a new beginning for me.

I love a new year, a new season, a new month, a fresh week.  I am all about new beginnings.  There is something about starting fresh.

Reflections on choosing just one word to guide your year

Most people despise Mondays, but I like them.  I like the newness, and the possibility and excitement of being able to accomplish everything I have on my list for the week – odd right?

This is one of the reasons that I love living in New England so much, the seasons.  Having the newness of each new season, and when one is almost done, looking forward to the next.

For a long time, January was always my least favorite month.  I hate the cold, the depression of coming off so many joyful holiday celebrations, and the short short days.

But then, I started thinking about goals, and about how wonderful it is to turn to a brand new year on the calendar, all the possibilities that are waiting for us, and my perspective changed.  And believe me, it was a welcome change!

The week between Christmas and New Year’s used to be blah and not so exciting, but when I was able to change my thinking, and started using that time to reflect on the past year and look to the future, it became one of my favorite weeks of the year.

This year is no different.  In fact, I might have been looking forward to January 1st a little too much this year.

Why do you choose a word of the year?

The reason I choose a word of the year is to guide me in making my goals.  When I  try to figure out what my goals will be for the year, I need a guide.  What am I looking to accomplish holistically for the year?  When I look back on 2017, what do I want to see?

My word for 2016 was action.

I needed that to be my word for 2016.  I had been at a standstill with life it seemed.  I didn’t know quite what to do next.  There were things in our church life that needed adjustment, there were things in our homeschool days that needed adjusting, I needed to step out of my comfort zone and be more involved…especially with one very extroverted oldest daughter.

I took action and ran with it…maybe a little too far if you read my reflection of 2016.

I stepped completely out of my comfort zone.

As an introvert I prefer quiet and solitude.  And with three kids, two of which I homeschool plus a crazy 2 year old, that is not something that I can easily find.  Despite my need to recharge in quiet, by myself, I made it a point to start being more involved. 

Reflections on choosing just one word to guide your year

I have one child that is most definitely an extrovert.  She thrives in the company of others, and because we homeschool I feel like I started overcompensating for the fact that she was not with 20 peers all day every day. 

Activities are plentiful, get-togethers with friends are the norm, being out of the house 6 out of 7 days each week with activities (between all of the family, not just my extroverted child), started to take its toll.

It was also the year of blog growth for me.  I poured my heart and soul into my blog, worked relentlessly to increase readership, build relationships, make more money, get more opportunities.

Funny thing about my word of last year – it worked.  Perhaps a little too well…

By the time October came around, I was just about out of gumption to keep going, yet I knew that our busiest season was right around the corner, and so I persevered, but I also started thinking about 2017, and what I wanted it to hold for me, for my family, for my career.

It was the end of November when I realized what my word for this year would be.

Margin.

I need margin in my life.  I have worked really hard over the past several years to make my life one that I love.  I stopped trying to please others, I stopped saying yes when I know the answer in my heart was really no.  I started taking time for self-care.  I made the choices that were best for my family first, and it made a huge difference.

I wasn’t getting sick as often, I was happy all the time, I finally figured out a way to make the blues of winter go away.

This year, this year, however, was crazy to me. 

I couldn’t breathe, and I need to breathe.  I was rushing, and cramming, and procrastinating, and not sleeping, I drink way too much coffee, I needed to step back.

Reflections on choosing just one word to guide your year

So what will margin look like for me in 2017?  That is a really good question.

I am planning on sharing my goals with you all, like I normally do every year.  I plan to share my strategy to continue to grow, but to still give myself the room to breathe.  It should be an interesting year, growing pains I think they should be called.

I need to adjust my schedule to better make room for my need for recharging.  I know that I need planning days, and I know that I need solitude.  I need time to be with the kids – really just be with the kids besides homeschool or driving to activities.  I need to start observing a Sabbath regularly. 

I am looking forward to fleshing out the goals and how I am using my word of the year to guide those goals.

Do you pick a word of the year?  What might your word be for this new year?

45 comments:

  1. I actually pick a Bible verse for the year, but I realized last year that each of these scriptures could be condensed down to one word. My verse this year is John 13:17 "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" I thought my word might be obey, but as I wrote my post I realized it was consistent...because being consistent in my 'doing' is where I struggle. Happy new year!

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    1. That is a great idea! Our church encourages us to pick a Bible verse as well. I think it definitely helps guide us.

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  2. I picked growth! Personally, business wise, and everything ! very excited to see where this year takes me.

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    1. Growth is an awesome word! I love that! I think that was my desire behind action last year, good luck!

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  3. This a very interesting way to start a great year! I have never heard of this method , but i really like it! It's so simple and can be applied to so much of life! Thanks!

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    1. It is so nice to have that guiding word when making day to day decisions, is this really lining up with my values and needs right now?

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  4. Margin is such a great word and how you related it to Self-Care was perfect. I am learning to love Mondays and you helped put it into a good perspective because I am always delighted by new beginnings (New Year's is my favorite too!). I find that Sundays are my favorite day of the week!

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    1. I do love Sundays as well - because it is our quietest day of the week usually. I'm hoping to involve more rest for Sunday as well.

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  5. I haven't chosen one yet, but I love the word you chose! I need to think about mine today.

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  6. Picking a word of the year is new to me and I really like the concept. I haven't chosen one yet, but I have been putting much thought into it and trying to decide. I have given myself until the end of this week to make the decision. I think you picked a very good word for yourself for this year.

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    1. Taking the time to really think through goals is something I do every January - I would love to have everything all done by January 1st, but it is totally unrealistic for me, so if I set all my goals by the end of January I am happy :-) Good luck finding a word!

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  7. I LOVE the idea of a word. Love the simplicity and the focus of it. I think I'll do something like "limits" or some word that means to not do more than I need to for things that I shouldnt worry so much about. If that makes sense. Like, not taking on other peoples work or doing double of what I should be doing.

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    1. Not taking on other's work - definitely a good idea! It is hard when you are a doer to step back from trying to do everything!

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  8. I haven't chosen a word for this year yet. I have a lot of goals and ambition but I'm struggling to narrow it down into one word. I love the story behind how you picked your word. This is something I hope to focus in on once things settle back down from the holidays! Happy new year!

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    1. Thank you! It is a fun practice that I definitely enjoy.

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  9. I think the idea of a word of the year is fantastic, I just struggle to think of one! I think my word would be "present" I would like to be more present in my life and not going on autopilot

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    1. I think present is an awesome word! What a great goal!

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  10. I LOVE this idea. Although while reading your post, I was thinking what my word would be, and it's hard to narrow it down to just one.

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    1. It is hard to figure out just one word! But, mine usually smack me up the side of the head and then I know :-)

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  11. I picked fabulous because 2017 is going to be a fabulous year. Happy New Year🎉

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  12. I've had a Word of the Year for the past several years. This year is JOY. There have been some big changes in our house this past year and I've had trouble seeing the joy; I want to get back to being joyful and grateful.

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    1. Oh, joy is a wonderful word! Good luck to you!

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  13. I've never heard of this and I absolutely love it. I would love to try this and more than that, share it with others. Seeing your words and reason behind them really helped a lot to motivate and really feel the value of this.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you are able to find a great word to guide you this year as well!

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  14. Margin is a great word. I love the story though of how you started choosing words. It's great to hear what brings people around. I hope this year brings so much happiness for you.

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    1. Thank you :-) I am very hopeful that this word will work out really well for me!

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  15. Action is my word for 2017. Consistency was my word last year, and I did good on staying on top of things I needed to get done. However, I still feel like I did too much learning and analyzing - and not enough implementing!

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    1. Action is a great word! It definitely makes you work, that's for sure :-) Good luck!

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  16. This is totally great! I like having a word of the year- it would totally help guide me through out the year. Great idea!

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  17. This is GREAT food for thought... you've got me thinking about what my word should be, and what the intention behind it should be.

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  18. I was privileged to read your post. and I left a comment. so great to meet you. I’m “following” you. I hope you have a great weekend.

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  19. I love this idea. This post is very food for thoughts. My word for 2017 - amazing! xx

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  20. My word of the year was change as well as I went through a massive period of change both professionally and personally.

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    1. I love change, because it can mean positive change, and that is always good in my book!

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  21. I struggle with this every single year!!! You chose a great word! And I like your word from last year too!

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  22. First, I love that you love Mondays. I am also pretty okay with Mondays, but haven't met anyone else who felt the same! Second, I love your new word for 2017. Finding more time for yourself is a BIG deal. Happy new year!

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  23. I've never picked a word of the year. It's hard for me to just pick one. I'm so fickle, I'd want to change it every few months.

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  24. I enjoyed reading this post! I don't think I've chosen my word of the year yet. It's nice to have one though, because it allows you to make it come true with goals that would work alongside your chosen word. I think it's awesome that you picked "change" for this year.

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  25. Love your word! I'm not sure what my word for the the year is, but I think it's going to be something along the lines of ambitious!

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  26. I adore this idea! I would pick stregnth because after 2016 kicked my butt in 2017 I choose to find my stregnth! Thanks for the idea!

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  27. I love margin for you this year. I started picking a word back in 2007... wow time flies! My word for 2017 is DO. Pretty much for the reasons you chose action last year. I've had 2 busy work years but it's now time to DO the things I keep saying I'll do. Like say NO, cut back on work hours, do my own workouts, do more blogging... etc.

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  28. Ok I love this idea so much! I would love to choose a word that could be my motivation for the whole year. I don't even know what mine would be. I'll have to really think about this one!

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  29. Awesome words. Great advice on choosing the right word and executing on that! My word is "grow". I'd like to grow in every aspect of my life - personal, professional and spiritual :)

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  30. I've seen so many people choosing a word of the year but it's sooooo hard for me! While I understand the philosophy behind it and believe that it really help to set up goals, how do you choose just one word ? It's tough!!

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  31. I've never chosen a word of the year before but I love the idea behind it! Hmmm I can't think of just ONE at this moment because my mind seems flooded with a ton of words right now but I'm sure when the right one hits me, I'll know ^^

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