The end of the year is a good time to take some time and reflect.
Notice what went well and what needs improvement in your life. It is also a natural time to consider what you may want to do differently, or to call into your life more intentionally moving forward.
I have never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, for me they are just opportunities to forget and/or fail. And with failure I get stuck recriminating myself. I do, however, appreciate looking ahead and setting goals or making investments in creating the life I want to live.
Years ago, I stumbled across a blogger who had the practice of finding a word for the year. The way she described it was this was a word that she wanted to focus on; that she wanted to call more into her life, and that would draw her forward in a particular way. Curious, I decided to try this as an experiment and see if it was any better than my failed attempts at resolutions.
Instead of focusing on weight loss, budget balancing, creating savings, and the usual list of resolutions, I wanted to find a word that would flavor all areas of my life.
The first year I chose the word Breathe. That was something I needed to focus on doing differently. Of course I breathe all the time, however, with practice I noticed much of my breathing was shallow and ineffective or I would hold my breath guarding against any obstacle I could potentially encounter. Breathing as an intentional practice was something to pepper throughout my day- both in good times and bad. Because I have a tendency to be forgetful I created lock screens and even a Breathe wall sticker placed above my kitchen door, to remind me of my new intention.
I have to say that having that word that year created a new habit in me. Breathe was my mantra, something I could hear myself and others say coaching me to face my days with relaxation, courage and strength.
Future words included; balance, connect, joy, fruition, create, necessary (that year was a hard year and I resisted accepting that word). Other words could be peace, patience, courage, fortitude, excellence, solitude, self-care, relationship, awe, wonder, generosity, gratitude, whatever word resonates for you. I tend to want to keep my word positive on something to add rather than something I don’t want. I find that what I focus on grows and if I am focusing on a negative, a thing I don’t want- it follows the rules and grows as well. So positive attributes work best for me. Finding a piece of jewelry, a pillow, magnet, word art, a lockscreen or other tangible reminder that I can see helps me focus on keeping that posture alive throughout my day, week, month and year.
The Process to Find YOUR Word
Typically, finding my new word takes a few weeks of reflection and waiting for that word to rise to the surface of my awareness. Thanksgiving is when I begin my process of finding my new word for the year. I review what went well during the past year, what was a struggle, what changes I want to have happen in the next year as well as the next several years. I dream about what’s next for me (and my family, business, relationships) and then start listening to my inner wisdom for what might need to be spoken into existence.
For anyone who leans towards the creative side it’s kind of like doing all your research and preparation to sit down to write, paint, draw, mould, or shape a craft. There is a time of building possibilities and preparing supplies until you feel full and almost ready to explode. Then comes the time to get it all out; words tumble, inspiration happens, messes are made, the action of creation takes place. For me a few words rise to the top, and then one makes itself loud and clear and I know that is my word for the year. Sometimes it happens neatly- prior to January 1st. Other years it takes a while to percolate to the surface. Usually by the end of January I have my new word to guide my year.
With my new word in hand, I begin to notice my choices, my time, my relationships, my intentions start to align to make that attribute happen. Or when I am faced with a choice, I check that choice against my word of the year. Does it allow that word to stay alive or does it cause that word to be stifled. Often that is a nice compass for choosing my next step. It does take effort, but somehow it’s an effort that I can easily get behind, because some part of me has suggested it, and other parts of me are already in alignment with it being in my own best interest.
Your invitation to give it a try
All of this to say; if you are tired of the resolution rat race and want something positive and gentle to guide your next year. Why don’t you experiment with giving this practice a try. I would love to hear your feedback. And if you desire some assistance in learning to listen to your own inner wisdom, trusting that intuitive voice that may be buried inside you, visit my website Home — It All Connects Counseling — Fairlawn OH to reach out and make an appointment. I’d be happy to work with you! Other