Words are powerful creations. They are thoughts made tangible, feelings made visible, intentions set into motion.
Having a Word for the Year can be a powerful way to set your theme and intention, clarify your vision, focus your energies, and strengthen your commitment to a particular course of action for that year. We have only 24 hours x 365 days in a year and we really won’t be able to achieve everything, anyway, so it helps to have a word that can inspire and guide us as we make our choices for the year ahead.
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In 2019, my Word for the Year was BOLDER, inspired by this dreamboard that I made to set my intentions for my career that year. It showed a girl that was recharged and ready to take charge–someone who knew what she could bring to the table, and who was ready to lead, drive change, work nimbly, but in ways that valued herself and her contributions. The word and the dreamboard helped me make a decision between two career options and truly set the stage for the rest of my year. Looking back, I am grateful that I chose that word, because I subconsciously did live 2019 with boldness and with fire in my belly.
Reflecting on my word for 2020, the first word that came to mind was “strong” (which came to me while watching Star Wars–but I won’t post any spoilers, promise 😉). “I’ve already proven my mental and emotional strength, This year, I want to (re)build my physical strength and build strong foundations for my future,” I told someone.
But not very long after, the word “strong” started to drain me instead of energize me, and I realized that I had lived 2019 perhaps a bit too boldly and intensely. I needed to be gentler with myself in the year ahead, and so the word “self-care” soon came to mind.
After further reflection, however, I also felt that “self-care” wasn’t appropriate because it might give me an excuse to be lazy and indulgent, and it might encourage me to slack off in moments when I do need to push myself. Now that I’m entering a different phase of my career and life, I need to be mindful of the many responsibilities I hold and the people I need to take care of. I need to take care of myself, yes, but not at the expense of fulfilling the commitments that I had set during my “bold” year. (See… the struggle was very real!) You can’t just be bold one year, then hold back and swing in the opposite direction the next year.
Considering everything in my life now, my word for 2020 shall be BALANCE. It recognizes the many roles I play in my life–woman, leader, partner, daughter, (co-)parent, colleague, friend–and the need to take care of myself while I am taking care of everyone else. It acknowledges my need to prioritize some things over others at certain times, without focusing just on my career (as I had done mostly in 2019) or focusing just on myself (as I was so tempted to do).
I also love the word “balance” because, as anyone who had ever tried a balancing act would know, to stay in balance is not to stay inert or relaxed. Google defines it as “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”, and this requires constant mindfulness, constant calibration, constant and careful micro-movements. Balance requires a strong and engaged core, and entails a sense of inner wholeness. I love it. 🙂
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To help YOU find your Word for the Year, here are some prompts for reflection:
- What were some of your top lessons from 2019? What did you discover about yourself last year that you’d like to bring into your life this year?
- When you visualize a better version of yourself, what top words come to mind?
- Listen to your family and closest friends: what do they keep reminding you about, that you should seriously incorporate into your life this year?
- Does your chosen word fit into all aspects of your life, but still stretch you enough to be an inspiring and motivating word? At the very least, your chosen word should be realistic enough so that you don’t end up frustrated.
- Are you energized and inspired by that word? (And not drained, as I was when I was first thinking of a word)
If you think of other questions and prompts, consider those, too, and reflect on a word that feels right for you.
Good luck defining your Word for the Year, and we hope that you will have a mindful and meaningful year ahead!