I was always the person that relished December planning. I would get out my notebooks in early December, evaluate the previous year, and plan for the next.
I still have a lot of those binders today. I glance at them from time to time. It fills me with self-pride seeing how far I’ve come in the years since I started my career, building several businesses, and moving through massive changes throughout my life.
In most cases, I’ve always been right on track. Sometimes it scares me how many goals I’ve actually accomplished. Seeing them down on paper, I can walk through the checkmarks by each bulleted item, and see just how far I’ve come.
I still love the end-of-year planning concept. I still use list-making every single day.
But years ago, something felt off by utilizing that as my end-of-year tool. I’m good at list building. It’s second nature. Yet it didn’t seem quite what I needed as I was planning for a new year. There wasn’t enough separation from my regular list-building routine.
That was when I came across the concept of selecting a word for the year. The idea is simple:
Pick one word that embodies what you want out of the coming year. A word that can be your guidepost for all you choose to do in the coming year. One simple word that will help you stay on track, that will help you remember what is most important when you find yourself falling down or getting caught in an endless loop of mundane things to do.
That’s what was missing. A feeling. Something I could draw on, be held accountable, to help me make decisions as I went through my busy years.
It’s about feeling. Emotion. About finding who I want to be, and holding myself to task for everything I choose to add to my lists.
It works for me.
Looking back at 2021 – Become
A year ago, I selected the word “become” for a variety of reasons. As I was writing this post, I looked back at my post from last year:
Michelle Obama said so many great things in her book, Becoming:
“Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”
“Confidence, I’d learned then, sometimes needs to be called from within. I’ve repeated the same words to myself so many times now, through many climbs. Am I good enough? Yes I am.”
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
2020 was a year of the great reset. A time when we as a collective species all got to rethink our world together. We’re making choices even as I write this about who we will all become.
I can’t control the world.
I can only control me.
And that starts by controlling who I BECOME.
With this new year brought new trials and triumphs. It’s pushed me in ways I never could have imagined even twelve short months ago.
The world is changing. That is all but obvious now. And we’re never going back to anything close to what we’ve had before.
And that’s okay.
A new world. New energy.
Yet so many of us are trying to find that old sense of balance – old energy – when in fact it’s disappeared forever.
I’ve been moving within for months now, relying on my inner strength to pull through and persevere. It’s taken every last ounce I’ve had in some cases.
But that’s the wonderful thing about being human. We’re not heroes or superhumans. We’re put here to test us, to be all we can be.
I only react to what happens directly to me. I take each day one day at a time. That’s the best I can be. It’s the most I can ever do. And I’m okay with that.
It’s taught me things I never knew about myself. It’s helped me BECOME who I am today.
A strong, self-assured, self-resilient human who is ready to guide in ways I’ve never done before.
Which leads me to 2022.
My Word of the Year 2022
I believe things present themselves when you’re ready for them.
All through the year, I faced challenges I could never have predicted. Caregiving challenges. Family issues. Business changes.
I won’t even mention politics, cancel culture, and the pure hatred that exists in the world.
But it’s all there. And all of it has impacted me in profound ways.
I’ve said goodbye to so many people in my life this year. And it’s been hard.
My life has changed.
But as I’ve thought about this past year, I realize the one thing that is constant in my life, the one thing I’ve learned to rely on more than anything is my inner energy. The source of what’s been keeping my head up and chin held high, even on the roughest days.
Energy – A person’s physical and mental powers, typically as applied to a particular task or activity. The strength and vitality required for sustained physical and mental activity. The ability to be active – the physical or mental strength that allows you to do things.
I believe right now, the world is moving toward a powerful source of energy. The divine feminine is coming to light in magical ways. I’m not the only one who feels this presence.
This is about bringing back a nurturing feeling for everyone on earth. It’s time to let masculine energy – the fight, fight, fight attitude that’s held us for far too long – disappear.
Energy. I see it in the people I choose to follow.
Danielle LaPorte says: LIFE. It’s all energy. You know this. When we give energy away willingly, intentionally, with positivity, we get stronger. We become truer, purer, bigger. Power-full.
Kathy Smith says about finding infinite energy: There’s never such a thing as status quo … it doesn’t exist! You’re either going up, or you’re coming down. You’re choosing to build your capacities, or you’re watching them slowly decline.
Alicia Keys says: This may come as a shock to some folks in the West, because we haven’t been taught that we carry both masculine and feminine energies. We assume that if we identify as men then we have “masculine” energy; if we identify as women, we have “feminine” energy. But energy is different from gender identity; energy transcends what we experience in the physical and goes beyond that. For people of every gender identity, there is a dance between the masculine and feminine energies within. The goal is to find balance among these energies.
My word for 2022 is about finding the balance within.
It’s about focusing my ENERGY on what I want, not on what I don’t want.
It’s about feeding my soul.
And sharing it with the world …
Tips for selecting your Word of the Year
Want to give this a try yourself? Here are a few steps to help guide you in choosing your own word of the year.
Step One: Reflect
Start by reflecting on the year you’ve just faced. Ask yourself these questions:
- What did I learn?
- What do I want more of in my life?
- What do I want to eliminate from my life?
- What feelings do I want to hold in my heart this year?
- At the end of the day, I feel _.
- What would make me happy by this time next year?
You’ll start to see patterns as you take heart of each question.
Step Two: Visualize
As I’m selecting my own word each year, I think about what I need more of in my life. I imagine my perfect day, and figure out what the most important thing is for me, right now. I also think of how I interact with the rest of the world – what do I want to bring forward in my own life, that will make me a better participant in this thing we call life?
I recommend sitting in silence, meditating, or going for a walk to ruminate on this idea. The more you do this, the more you’ll find one word or feeling popping into your mind more often than others.
Step Three: Brainstorm
As the calendar rolls to December, I begin thinking about words and jotting them down in my notes. You can also spend ten minutes or so creating a list of words that come to mind. Here are some examples:
Step Four: Refine
As I add certain words, it may cause me to cross others off the list. Eventually, I’ll come down to three or four that feel right to me. They create the right feeling for what I’m hoping to achieve.
Let them sit for a few days. Process them. Usually one word rises to the top. Go with your gut. If you keep thinking about one word as you move throughout your day, that’s probably the right choice for you. It’s what you need most in your life right now.
Step Five: Commit
Just like New Year’s resolutions, if it isn’t in your heart to commit, you probably won’t succeed.
The way to make this a part of your life is to keep your word in your life.
Put it on your desktop. Wear it on your wrist. Make it your screen saver.
Get creative with how you bring your word to the tip of your tongue. Focus on it, and let it guide you to a brand new year.