What’s Your Word? Setting Your Intentions For The Year Ahead

I love the start of a new year! To me, it always feels like a chapter of my life is closing and a new one is beginning, and I love celebrating the successes of the past year, reflecting on the challenges, and building excitement about moving forward.  One thing I’ve realized as the years go on, is that no two are ever the same! As my sons grow older, the practice expands, I have new travel experiences or learning opportunities, life constantly evolves. There are always new things to celebrate, things we wish had never happened, and new things to look forward to. Perspective is powerful. You can’t change what life brings you, but you can always choose how you respond. Really, you can.

As you begin 2018 I encourage you to set aside a few moments to think about what you want most for this new year, and consider doing this exercise to help you shape what’s to come.  Rather than set resolutions try setting theme words for the year. A friend suggested this to me years ago, and I’ve been doing it consistently since. I started with 1 word, but for the past 3-4 years I’ve been choosing 3 instead.

Here’s how it works:

Think about your aspirations – what do you want for the year ahead? Is there an overriding theme that comes to mind for you? Can you sum up your intentions in a single word? Or maybe 2-3? I bet you can. Choose a word(s) that can represent many different areas of your life

Why it’s effective:

A great word can set the tone for your actions and keep you focused.  A word can also serve as a reminder of what’s important when everyday ‘life stuff’ frustrates us. For example, when my sons were young and I wasn’t in practice, my word was “Nurture”.  It reminded me of my focus on raising my sons and looking after myself.  It allowed me to accept that my career aspirations would be fulfilled at a later date (like now!) and that the little boys in my kitchen were simply more important for the time being. In other years the words “Grow”, “Balance” and “Focus” have worked well for me as I was rebuilding my life and business.   A great word sets your intention and will help manifest the people, places, opportunities (and challenges!) to help you achieve your goals.  Metaphysics aside, what you focus on tends to happen!  The simple act of awareness can powerfully  keep you oriented towards actions that support your goals, and make you more likely to attract success.

Your ‘word’ might come to mind easily.  You may already have one that has been running through your thoughts repetitively, especially if you have set resolutions or goals for yourself. If not, carve out some time in your week to think about it. Sit quietly and reflect.  Journal if it helps you sort out your thoughts, or, on a blank sheet of paper simply write down words that depict your hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Something will pop out at you, or you may notice a pattern in the words you write down. Don’t over-think it!

Friends, colleagues, and people in my practice have shared their words with me for added support and accountability. Here’s some of their theme words to get you started:  Relate, Believe, Focus, Simplify, Build, Mindful, Refresh, Rejuvenate, and Fun. Once you have your ‘word’ write it down where you can see it regularly. Use it as a password so you have to consciously think about it many times a day. Place post-it notes all over your home if you need to. Get creative and do what works for you!

~Dr. Melissa

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