I need to put this out there right away...we are not talking about resolutions here. I don't believe in resolutions. Why? Resolutions are based on negative aspects of our lives we are trying to change. Because of this, it is so much harder to succeed because we are constantly focusing on something negative, something we don't like about ourselves or our lives. Some research tells us that 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by February. But, it is important and helpful for our self-care, mental wellbeing, and overall satisfaction in life to set achievable goals. This is where the idea of a word for the year comes in.
I've decided to jump on the bandwagon of having a word for the year for the first time! I feel like I really need a little more direction this year. After 10 years of teaching, and then jumping into being a business owner at the end of 2021, it has been a challenging new chapter. I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, but the idea of having a single word to focus on provides so much more freedom to plan and set goals that can be flexible throughout the year as life throws curveballs, and new opportunities arise. Goals need to be achievable and able to adapt as life changes, which is why I really feel like I can get on board with a word for the year.
This blog post is dedicated to looking at:
The benefits of having a word of the year
How to pick your word of the year and not feel overwhelmed by it
Now what? how to implement your word of the year
What my word is, why and how I'm planning on incorporating it throughout my year
1. Benefits - Why have a word of the year?
We've all been there: hitting a new year running already with so many things on the go and no real plan on how we are going to face another year with purpose. A little direction is always helpful in providing purpose and a chance to reflect on personal growth. When there is no goal, there is nothing to measure up to, nothing to strive for, nothing to look back on to acknowledge achievement. This has really hit home for me over the last 12 months. I have been running a business one day at a time with no strategy in place and no specific plan. I wonder where things could be at if I had given myself more direction. This is the year! Can a single word really help with that though? On its own, no. But, as a starting point to act as an arrow to the end the goal, yes I believe it can.
Here are some specific benefits that come from having a word of the year:
It provides a constant yet gentle focus on positive change
Your word can help to guide decisions. You can refer back to your word to see if your decision will help lead you toward the goal the word inspires or away from it.
Words are so important, especially the words we say to ourselves. They alter our mindset. Our human brains are hardwired to focus on survival, which has a negative bias. Therefore, the point of a word of the year is a focus on something positive and what could be possible.
It can be applied to anything! This is perhaps what makes it so much more successful than a resolution. Resolutions are generally very specific. A word of the year can be used to guide almost every area of your life.
2. How to pick your word of the year?
This is pretty personal. I do have a list of words below that you might find some inspiration in, but, I also some have suggestions of things to try to help you come up with your word if you are struggling. It took me a couple of days to settle on my word. I had a few words floating around before one really stuck. I know we are already almost through the first week of year, but even if you are reading this when we are 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 11 months through the year, it is never too late to pick your word.
So, what can you do to find your word for 2023?
Write down a list of things you are proud of from 2022. What went well? What did you do that gave you a sense of achievement?
What would you have liked to have done better? What would you have liked to have achieved?
Review what went well. How did those things make you feel? What do you want more of this year?
Choose words that describe how you want to feel this year, what you want to see changed. Don't overthink, just write.
Is there a theme to the words you are writing down? Maybe a lot your words refer to growth, relationships, focusing, adventure, joy, wellness.
If a theme stands out, write it down. Come back to to your words and your theme/s after a day or two. You really want to find a work that just sticks with you, and a word you know will lead you to focus on what you want to be intentional about this year.
3. Word suggestions
Stuck on words? Have a look at some suggestions below and write down any that stand out to you:
If you have followed Mandi Makes for a little while, you may have noticed that one of the main purposes of this business is to promote self-care. In 'The Ultimate Self-care Guide' e-book I talk about the importance of sustainable practices in life. It was important to me that my word for 2023 didn't overwhelm me and didn't make me feel pressured because that would totally defeat the purpose!
4. Now what?
So, you've picked your word, but now what do you do with it? Since this is my first year with a word of the year, these suggestions are all based on how I'm planning on implementing my word throughout the year and making it a part of guiding my decisions and actions. These points come from hours of research to figure out how to do this successfully and sustainably, so hopefully they will be helpful for you!
put your word somewhere easily visible around your home, such as the back of the toilet door, your mirror, a pin board, your phone background image etc.
find quotes around your word that you can use as inspiration
refer to your word when fast with decisions and challenges
set a reminder on your phone each month to reflect on how your word of the year is sitting with you, how you are going with implementing it, does it still reflect the direction you want to go in this year?
read books, articles or listen to podcasts that reflect your word or the general goals/direction for your year
if you really want to get serious about your word for year, have a go at creating a vision board based on how you can implement your word in different areas of your life. Check out these great free templates you can use for creating a vision board https://www.saturdaygift.com/vision-board-template/
5. My word
It took me a couple of days before I settled on my word for the year. As I mentioned at the start of this blog post, it has been a big year of learning with starting up a business. Although it was a much needed year of just stepping back from a full time teaching career of 10 years and taking things at a much slower pace, this year it's time to ramp things up and get myself organised with goals and a strategic plan. My word for 2023 is:
Whilst it has been a great past 12 months of taking some time for myself and exploring passion areas, I'm super excited to get a plan and strategy in place to see what the possibilities are this year in all aspects of my life. I have discovered over the last year that I'm really good at being dismissive about new ideas, not because they aren't good, but because I have doubted my ability to make them happen. I've also been struggling to get my iron levels to where they should be, so lacking in energy hasn't helped. But, each new year brings new possibilities, and this year I plan on embracing them more fully and not dismissing new ideas and opportunities. Instead, I'm going to be asking myself, what are the possibilities here?
Here's to a new year, new opportunities, new possibilities and who knows?