I love this concept and started to apply it a few years ago, and to be honest I’ve switched from 1 word to 3 based on some other ideas that have come my way and the experiences I’ve had doing this exercise every year. I have found that choosing a word, (or a maximum of 3) has been a powerful way to help me focus my energies and keep my perspective about what truly matters most to me.
So how does it work?
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 a few? I bet you can.
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, 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.
A great word sets your intention and will help manifest the people, places, opportunities (and challenges!) to help you achieve your goals. A good friend recently shared her story of using theme words during the past few years. “Abundance” was her focus at one time and she grew her business substantially. “Love” was her focus another year, and she met the man she married. 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.
I’ve found that the best words are the ones that overlap the different facets of our lives and can be applied to different goals. For example, last year one of my words was “strong” to reflect my goals of becoming physically stronger and also because I wanted to continue to grow a strong business.
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 – and share your ideas!
One word is easy to remember. Pick one for yourself and let it shape the months to come and set the intention for a great 2016.