Man plans. God laughs. ~ Yiddish proverb
2020 was a rollercoaster year, chocabloc with life lessons. And top of the list for many of us was the truth of this proverb.
Our life can be turned upside down in a heartbeat, without warning.
And it’s hard enough to stick to new year resolutions when we have a reasonably clear view of the way ahead. How on earth are we supposed to stay focused when we can’t predict from one day to the next what’s going to happen in our immediate, or wider world?
So, how are your resolutions for 2021 working out so far?
If you’re already wavering, then you’re not alone. But rather than chastise yourself for that, I have an alternative suggestion. It could solve all your new year resolution dilemmas, for evermore. Not just in these particularly uncertain times.
And that is, to choose a word for the year instead.
Reflect on, and blend all your intended resolutions. Cogitate on them until you can find a single word that encapsulates the core motivation underlying all we want to achieve in the coming year.
The Word for the Year has been growing in popularity as a replacement for new year intentions for over a decade. It’s about getting clarity on the one thing that would make the biggest difference to your life right now.
It’s a word that will anchor your awareness and direct your actions. In time, this anchor will take root at a subconscious level and you won’t need to make as much effort to align your thoughts and deeds with it.
When we have our word, it focuses our energy and acts as a constant reminder of who it is we’d like to be.
How do you find your perfect word for the coming year?
If something is popping into your head right now, trust that. Write it down and sit with it over the coming ten days. If it continues to feel right, stick with it.
Most people, however, will need to do a little reflection to find theirs. Here are some questions to consider:
- What went well for you this past year, and what not so well? How much of that was within your control, or not? If you could encapsulate what didn’t work in one word, what would be its opposite? Try that word on for size and see how it feels. Does that carry the energy of what you most need right now?
- What do you want more of in your life? What single word best encapsulates that?
- What do you want less of? What positive word is the opposite, and does it resonate?
- If you have more of what you want, less of what you don’t want, achieve all your goals — how will you feel? Is that your word?
- How do you want to show up in the world? If 2021 were your final year, how would you want to be remembered? What word best encapsulates the underlying motivation for this desire?
Journal your answers to these questions and circle any words that feel like they may be contenders. Note them on a separate list.
For inspiration, you’re looking for positive, expansive words like:
growth, creativity, love, hope, grace, Goddess, connection, nurture, flourish, power, knowing, dream, transformation, courage, truth, ease, expansion
Review the long list and circle any that stir up a bodily response when you consider them. Armed now with a shorter list, you’re getting closer to your word.
Spend some time-even a few days-contemplating each of these words. Keep them in a place where you’ll see them frequently. And wait, patiently, for the sense of knowing to arrive.
The right word will make itself felt in your consciousness. And when it does, embrace it.
Place reminders anywhere it feels right and appropriate to do so-your bathroom mirror, fridge door, car dashboard, inside your hall door.
Make it your screen-saver.
If you have an altar, place it there. You’ll find plenty of stores where you can purchase lovely paraphanalia with your word engraved on it, but it would be better to make your own.
Of course, notes and trinkets aren’t essential. The important thing is that we use our word-all the time. Anytime you’re feeling challenged, use your word as a mantra to help shift and re-focus your energy. Ask yourself, “What would ( word) do?”
Words are powerful.
Words consciously injected with specific intentions for growth and expansion can help us shift our energy. Our own words can move us from a place of self-sabotage to a place of self-care, self-worth and self-love.
As the year progresses, having our word enmeshed in our consciousness makes it easier for us to persist in honoring ourselves when distractions and challenges arise. Its simplicity is genius-and highly effective.
And it’s the perfect antidote to failed resolutions. So forget about setting yourself yard sticks that you’ll end up beating yourself up with when your resolve falters. Go forth and find your word, and prosper.
A version of this post was first published on Newsbreak.com