Dreaming of 2019

December 31, 2018

A Better Way to Approach the New Year – and It’s Not Resolutions

The year 2019 arrives tomorrow and all that talk the last few months about eating, drinking and spending money is shifting to … being healthy, saving money, reading more, and getting organized. It’s easy to get on someone else’s path (media, friends, family) or just do nothing.

I used to be one of those people who did nothing because I hadn’t seen a lot of success with resolutions. Turns out only about 8% of people who make resolutions actually succeed. Why is that? Well, mostly because their focus is negative, vague, or lacks meaning.

This Actually Works – Simple, Focused

A simple yet highly effective concept I’ve used for the past ten years is to choose a word, one word, to help me stay focused and creative. I’ve used it with my coaching clients through the years, and many of them reach out every year to tell me their word or share stories about how their word has impacted their lives.

Words have life and energy, so it’s important to select a word that will keep you moving forward. Choosing a word inspires you to take action instead of making futile resolutions that focus on self-criticism, inadequacy or failures.

Your word is a reminder to make conscious choices that move you closer towards what you want to create in your life, work and relationships.

How Do I Choose My Word?

There are a variety of approaches to selecting a word. Some people know instantly, others pick one randomly, while others want to take some time to think about it. There’s no right or wrong way. In the past few years, I’ve allowed the word to come to me. I simply begin paying attention to what inspires me, and the word shows up.

A great way to select your word is to identify something that: 1) energizes and affirms you, 2) gives meaning to your life and 3) stretches you outside your comfort zone.

Here’s a tip! If a word keeps showing up that doesn’t seem very exciting, don’t resist it. Look up the word in the dictionary or thesaurus, read some blog posts to see if anything sparks you. Play with the word a little and see if it stays or goes. What’s most important is that your word of the year evokes some type of spark inside you.

I’ve Got My Word … Now What?

After you have chosen your word of the year, or your word chose you …

Imagine the possibilities of how your word might serve and support you through the ups and downs of 2019. This is you being intentional about what you want to create, actively participating instead of passively hoping for the best or avoiding the worst.

Create a system that allows you to continue to keep your word in the forefront of your thinking, behaviors, and actions. I’ve seen and used systems such as a post-it note on the bathroom mirror, journaling, meditation, blocking out time on your calendar, accountability friends, jewelry, artwork, writing on a rock, etc.. Get creative in the way you let your word guide you, coming back to it regularly for check-ups.

Enjoy the ride! Acknowledge and celebrate your wins. Don’t be too prescriptive or beat yourself up when life throws you a curveball and you’ve forgot your word. Gently nudge yourself back, giving your word a little room to breathe … letting it grow so you can grow.

Ready to give choosing a word of the year a whirl? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below…