6 Tips to Finding Your One Word For the Year

A New Year Is Upon Us!

Today, on this last day of 2018, I want to do another New Year video – and I want to focus on one word that you can pick for 2019 that will define you and steer you in the right direction.

Now is the time of the year that we are hearing phrases like “new year’s resolutions”…“goal setting”…”reinventing yourself”…“new year new you.” I have adopted with open arms this concept of a one word for your 365 days of the New Year.

How can one word make a difference, you wonder? It really can! There are over 190,000 English words out there. Defining one word that can make a difference can be difficult, but amazing. That one word will keep our focus for the entire year.

We’re Always Evolving

A while back I did a blog post on my red fingernails. The bright colored polish acted as an anchor to remind me of what I want to pay attention to within myself. One word for the year is very similar to this concept. It focuses you, and it can transform you to keep your head down and your eyes on the prize. It’s a reminder of what you want your life to look like for the next 365 days.

We’re always evolving, so next year, your word will probably look different. What happens when we take one word and we focus on it each day? Each day we become more like that word!

What Should It Look Like?

My coaching clients have asked me things like, should it be home or should it be work related? Should it be all-encompassing like “happy,” or should it be a dialed in and focused word like “healthy?” You get to decide! That’s the beauty here.

Let me give you some key things to think about, though.

Self-Awareness and Introspection

First, you need to be in a very self-aware, introspective state. Be attentive to those words. Sit quietly and don’t just pick a word off the top of your head. Do some introspection and be attentive and understand yourself. What makes you tick? What gets you excited? What are your fears? What is easy for you? What isn’t easy?

This exercise of being mindful is not always fun. As you’re quieting yourself and asking yourself some tough questions, it can be painful and produce some unpleasant feelings. As you are asking yourself what you want this year to look like, things are going to be exposed that are good and not so good. You must be ready to receive all of those.

Find Your Safe Zone

Secondly, talk about your word with people who are in your safe zone. Not people who will tell you exactly what you want to hear…the people who will be truthful with you. Find someone you trust who will tell you things about yourself that will help you be better by next year.

You can ask this person, what is it about me that I’m not seeing that will help me grow? What blind spots do I have that I’m not aware of that you can tell me about that will help me be a better person in 2019? What do you see in me that could change?

Be Kind and Have A Vision

Third, be kind to yourself as you’re finding out what your word is. Cut yourself some slack. Don’t overthink it – your word does not have to be performance-based at all. It can just be something like “joy” if you want it to be! If on January 1st you haven’t come up with a word, it’s ok! Don’t just pick one. Give your heart and your head some space to identify that word.

Next, consider making a vision board or a dream board. In my business we do this a lot, where you actually cut out pictures or write things out on a board that pop out in your mind for which you really have a vision. Things you want your 2019 to look like. Put it on a board, then look for commonalities. That will help you hone in on your one word.

Write It Down

Also, very simply, write down your goals. What are your goals for 2019? If you haven’t read my blog post that I just did last week about asking yourself very intentional questions for 2019, you should right now.

You can use these questions and goals and see what the common denominator is. Maybe you’ll see that your word needs to be motivation. Maybe it needs to be courage. There might be some scary things that will pop up, but make that list and look at what behavior has to come from that goal, and that can be your word of the year.

Who Do You Want to Become?

Another thing you can do is to ask yourself who you want to become by 2020. Throughout 2019, who do I want to become? Do I need to turn over a new leaf? Do I need to let things go? Do I need to forgive more? Within the answers to those questions will be a behavior that you might choose to pick for your word.

Make a list and let it flow. Again, don’t overthink it. Just let it flow.

The ABCs

Here are some suggestions for words on your list. Don’t just grab one of these, but in case you need a little direction, here are some great suggestions.

A is for adapt or accomplish
B is for belief and bold
C is for courage and capability
D is for dependability or daring
E is for enlightened
F is for faith and family
G is for gratitude
H is for honesty or healthy
I is for intentional or independent
J is for joy
K is to keep
L is for love or light
O is for open
P is for prayer
R is for reset or rebuild
S is for service or sparkle
T is for trust
U is for uplift
V is for vision
Z is for zen

What Is My Word?

Now, after all this, I want to tell you what my word is this year! In the past, my words have been belief, courage, and focus…this year, after doing the exercises that I just did for you, I came up with a word that sits in my heart like I should have been doing it all along. That word is LISTEN.

Listen to what other people are saying. Become a compassionate listener. The type of listening I struggle with the most is listening to my own heart. A few months ago, I did a blog about your inner pilot light that tells you which way to go. Sometimes it’s a gut feeling, sometimes it’s the Holy Spirit, whatever it may be…I have that guide inside me, and I need to be better at listening to it.

I have copied my word down and I’m keeping it on my computer. As I focus on it every day, by the end of 2019, I expect to be a better listener all around!

Living With Purpose In 2019

To sum this all up…finding your word…it’s not about creating another to-do list. Just know that. It’s about living with intentionality and purpose over this coming year. Not waking up and doing the same thing over and over and going to bed. Not just getting on that hamster wheel.

I want you to chase intentionality and live a life with purpose. Remember – don’t deny the world the chance to bask in your own brilliance. You are brilliant, and you are perfectly imperfect…pick a word, focus on it, be intentional about it, and watch what happens throughout 2019 – you are going to shine!


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