Updated: Feb 14, 2021
As the days grow colder, the leaves have all fallen, the sunlight hours continue to dwindle down to our shortest days; the first day of winter is slowly creeping up, ready to shift our energy in to full on hibernation mode for the next several months. As the year, a year like no other in our collective memories draws to a close, we may find even more time on our hands. Less sunshine hours, tends to mean more time inside, less activity overall and a lot more unscheduled hours to check in and connect. The end of one year invariably means the beginning of another. A chance to envision and explore what 12 fresh, new calendar pages could mean.
For the past several years I have been doing an end of year ceremony for myself. Thinking about my year ahead and the year behind. I think about what sticks out to me, what was good, what I learned and what I might change. I then think about my next year and ponder what I would like to receive from it. Eventually, I land on a single word that embodies all the things I am visualizing. One word that speaks on various levels and holds an immense amount of thought, hope and introspection. One word that will help to guide me through my next year. I have found this process incredibly helpful and often times, it's been very powerful in helping me to process and absorb the last 12 months. It has been a lovely way to start out a new year, to create a focus on myself and continually brings me in tune with my wants and needs. My 2018 word while I was back in school and juggling several certifications was GROWTH, 2019 was opening a business and needing to remember my strengths and knowledge, so I landed on EMPOWERED and 2020 was about reconnecting to myself and dialing into my own lost habits with CENTERED. Through this practice I have found that words are so much more powerful than we give them credit for. Each singular word can embody so much more that just a definition. It can be a vision and a plan, a story and an idea for something better. Through finding our word, we find a key to unlock pieces of ourselves that we will need in the journey of finding our best life.
I'm here to share the process of how I find my word with you.
The best way to do this process, to get the best results is to do each step without reading the next. Trust the process. Don't force and be truthful and open to things that come to the front of your mind. This is not about creating resolutions. It is about connecting deeply to your soul, your dreams and desires for your life.
Step 1: Brain Dump
Think back through your previous year. Write down any and all words and phrases that pop up. Again, don't overthink it! Just let your pen flow and see what comes out. You might be surprised! I typically do this until I run out of things to write, however if you want more structure set an alarm for 5-10 minutes.
Look over your list and take a moment to connect to each word. Sometimes, when we initially write our list we can get stuck in a mental rut and fixate on some of the bigger feelings and pass over the more subtle. Add any other words that come to you to the end of your list.
Circle 5 words that you feel sum up your previous year in it's entirety. Connect to the beginning, middle and end.
Answer the following questions.
How do I feel overall about my previous year?
Do I recognize any themes or patterns that are present within the words I chose? If so, what are they?
What was something less than ideal that happened? What did I learn from the experience?
Step 5: Q &A
What am I wanting from my next year?
Jot down anything that comes to mind. Words, phrases, affirmations, etc.
-What do I want more of?
-What do I want less of?
-Short term (next 3 months, year)
-Long term (3-5 years)
Hone in on the words that carry weight and make sense in your next year, but also in the bigger picture of your life. The best word of the year will speak to you on several levels and feel layered. It would be just a single word to another person, but for you its a story, a visual and a motivator to guide you on your path.
I hope you enjoyed the process and feel more connected and in tune with your needs!