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New Year's Resolutions -- not. How about a Word of the Year instead?

Rather than setting New Year's Resolutions this year, how about choosing a Word of the Year! See why this practice is gaining traction and how to select the best word for your 2021.

So it's that time of year when New Year's Resolutions are on the minds of many. "But it's February!" you might be thinking. Exactly. According to Tony Robbins, 80% of New Year's Resolutions are failing by this point. And that's really probably not much of a surprise, is it? I think the secret is out that New Year's Resolutions rarely have the staying power we're hoping for.

Whether you have set and discarded a New Year's Resolution this year or not, you may be thinking about how to make changes this 2021 that really matter to you. Jack Canfield, one of my favorite authors and change agents, agrees with Tony that resolutions of the new year are not the way to go. Interestingly, they both agree that setting good old-fashioned clear and measurable goals are. Those are certainly one way, but are they the only way? Nope.

Word of the Year

In lieu of the traditional resolution, many are now finding that choosing one word as the guiding theme for the year feels more expansive, more sustainable, and frankly, more fun. I don't know about you, but just the thought of "New Year's Resolutions" makes me want to lie down and flog myself for my failure to complete them before I've even begun! Choosing a theme word for my year to use as a guidepost to align my thoughts and actions seems kind of like an adventure. It's new and inviting, and I feel like I'm way less likely to lose interest in it after about a week and a half.

So how does it work?

Essentially, you simply choose a word that best represents what you most want to keep your attention on this year. You might want a year full of adventures, or a year in which your trust yourself more, or a year where family is the main focus. You may want a year of inner transformation. Then, you let that word guide your choices and actions in the coming year.

I love the Word of the Year because it works with or without specific goals attached. You can choose to set concrete, measurable goals related to your Word of the Year or you can use your Word to help you make decisions by asking yourself which choice most closely aligns with your Word. For example let's say your word is Adventure. You could definitely set some concrete goals around having adventures such as:

  • In 2021 I will take two overseas trips to countries I have never visited before.

  • By July 1st I will have completed my scuba diving certification.

  • In the summer of 2021 I will let a friend plan a trip for the two of us and not tell me where we are going!

You can also use your Word without specific goals, but simply when choices are at hand. If a friend asks you if you'd like to go on a spontaneous day drive, your initial reaction might be to hesitate because you have that pile of laundry to get to, but then you think, "Oh, but wait! My Word of the Year is Adventure, and this would certainly be an adventure. My word of the year is not laundry, and I can do the laundry when I get back. Let's go!" Your Word of the Year can be your guide as you make decisions throughout the year, helping you stay aligned with your overall theme, and after a year of doing that, just think how different things might be!

How to choose your Word of the Year

Good news! There's no one right way. Certainly if you are a person who considers him or herself a person who has difficulty making decisions, you can tape a list of potential choices to the wall, throw a dart, and voila! Word of the Year chosen. If, however, you feel you need to be a bit more invested in your choice to keep your energy and interest sustained for a year, you might be a little more intentional in your choosing process. No judgment. Just offering alternatives.

For some of you, it might already have popped clearly into mind. If not, you might start by simply asking yourself what has been on your mind lately when you think about areas where you would like to grow or experience new things. It could be for business, for personal or both! Is there a theme running through your thoughts (or even the resolutions you had for this year) when you sit down and really look at them all, like trusting my Intuition or being my authentic self, or being more organized?

Choose something that makes your heart sing, that gives you a zing of energy when you think about it. If you would like to see a list of words to help get your creative juices flowing, click here.

My Word of the Year for 2021

The theme of my 2021 and therefore my Word of the Year is Expansion. (I chose my Word by thinking about all of the ways I would like to be growing this year and looking for a feeling they all had in common.) There are so many areas of my life where I am looking to grow and breathe and take up the full amount of my space in this universe. There is a Kit-shaped hole in the universe and only I can fill it. (This is true for you as well, BTW) The universe is missing me whenever I do not step fully into myself and show all the way up.

I love the word Expansion because it covers so much territory. It says to me, speak your truth. Live your dreams. Let people see you. Don't be afraid to use your gifts. Shine. Love. Leap. Sing. Share yourself. Listen to your intuition and trust it. I can set some specific measurable goals and I can use it to help me make choices. I will always make the choice that feels more Expansive.

How to keep your Word of the Year top of mind

Okay, so you've chosen your word for 2021. Now how do keep your theme top of mind and reduce the chances that you totally forget you even had a Word of the Year within about 6 months?

  1. Keep it visible. This can be accomplished a number of ways.

  2. Create a vision board with your Word of the Year as the theme

  3. Place or write your Word where you will see it each day like the bathroom mirror or on the fridge. I know one very successful exec who taped a picture representing her Word to the center of her steering wheel! She made certain she would see it every day.

  4. Find some inspiring quotes that include your Word and put them on your phone, computer or planner so you'll see it each time you open them

  5. Choose some fun apparel featuring your word like a t-shirt or piece of jewelry. In previous years, I had bracelets with charms that said Breathe and Balance to remind me of my Word.

  6. Drink your morning coffee or tea from a mug sporting your Word.

  7. Tell someone. As with any goal or intention that you really want to achieve, putting it out there by saying it out of your mouth to another person makes the commitment much more real.

  8. Affirmations. Creating an affirmation (or series of them throughout the year) around your Word of the Year is valuable for many reasons. Not only does it keep your chosen theme top of mind, it also keeps it bottom of mind, well, in your subconscious that is. Affirmations prime the subconscious to look for opportunities to bring your Word of the Year goals to life. The most important thing to remember when writing your affirmations is to write them as if they have already happened. For example, "I make decisions easily, and I am pleased with the decisions I make," not, "I will make decisions easily, and I will be pleased with the decisions I make."

I'm really excited about my Word of the Year for 2021. I hope you're excited, too! I would love to hear what your word is and how you will keep it top of mind this year. Get creative! Have fun!! Don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions.




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