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What's Your New Word for the New Year?

As we round the bend toward the new year, many of us are scrambling to decide what we want to accomplish in the coming 12 months. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I believe that New Year's resolutions have been given a bad wrap. They're fun, they inspire us, and they invite us to try on new behaviors. They're just done incorrectly!

If resolutions aren't for you, alternatives abound that still spark joy, fun, and inspiration. For the past few years, I have chosen a word to serve as my anchor for the next 12 months. More than a resolution, it's like a spirit guide! Now, before you decide I'm going all "woo woo" on you, just consider the power of words!

Let's use the word "spirit," for example! What do you think of when you say it/read it? What images do you see in your mind's eye? On my refrigerator at home, I have a picture of myself standing on a rock with my arms up toward to the sky, chest open, my face beaming at the sun. That's what spirit looks like to me. I also imagine a feeling of lightness and buoyancy! If "spirit" became my word for the year, it would be my guide for being a certain way!

Words have always felt magical and meaningful to me. Naming my business was no small feat. I have lists upon lists of words that conjure certain emotions, vivid imagery, and that connect to more words that create a feeling inside of me. Some words move me, some stall me, some feel contracted and sticky, while others feel spacious, invigorating, and untangled.

Choosing a word that will be my key to development in the forthcoming year feels exciting and important. Each of the previous words I chose did not come easily. Perhaps for some who indulge this practice, their words shine brightly, like beacons, clear and crisp. Personally, I've needed to reflect upon a few questions to achieve clarity and find a word that really resonates. The process itself has become a spirited endeavor, that allows me to noodle and marinate, and it often begins at least a month before the ball will drop!

The process:

If you're like me, you view many of your life experiences as holding buried treasure. A lesson, a learning, an insight, a gratitude, a recognition, a curiosity, an invitation!

You also likely have something-- a behavior, a way of being, a way of thinking-- that you would like to lean more into or give less attention and energy to. My previous word, "soften," felt both necessary and challenging. It had been pointed out to me, and I had noticed and felt that I had a tendency to harden up, retreat, shut down, build a wall, and say "no" quite often, usually to unusual, uncertain or new experiences, many that were social, and especially those that did not fit my planned routine. While a part of me understood it and felt compassion for what I knew it was protecting, another part of me wanted to release the tension I felt ratchet up inside of me. With this insight, in walked my word. I wanted to be... softer.

The words we choose can serve as reminders, mantras, stabilizers. They can be grounding, settling, and relieving. Especially during times of difficulty, my words have often felt like a life preserver. There to support me with staying afloat. Often, my one word has been available to me when it seems like nothing else is.

Your word can be the same for you-- an inner resource!

Here are a few questions you can sit with to begin the practice of discovering your word.

  1. What have I felt compelled to lean more into?

  2. What do I consistently think about leaving behind or letting go of?

  3. Where in my life would I benefit from a release of something?

  4. Where do I notice barriers or blocks?

  5. If I felt a sense of ease with something that feels sticky, what capacity would shift me into that space?

  6. What would I appreciate more of in my life? Less of?

  7. How do I aspire to be as a human, partner, son/daughter, sister/brother, or in ____ role?

  8. What are the energies/attitudes/behaviors that I witness in others that move me?

A client of mine shared that she was sitting with the word "relinquish" for the coming year. For her, it represented a releasing and loosening of a behavior that has felt grippy. For her, using it intentionally would shift the tone of some important relationships and allow her to move through the world with less worry and more trust.

Notice the active nature of her word. Yours might turn out to be a verb too. On the other hand, it could appropriately be a static word, but both creative and energetic. "Relinquish" is a prompt to do something. In a similar vein, another of my client's chose "explore."

The word I'm considering is a prompt to be something. I've not officially chosen it yet, but see if you can tell the difference with this word: "refuge." Refuge is a noun. For me, it means a space of grounded presence, and as I imagine applying it in my life, I can feel how it would influence so many of my interactions with others, who and how I am in my relationship with myself, the energy I embody anywhere I go!

The word you choose might be an adjective, a descriptive word, like open, curious, or playful. Interestingly, each of these can prompt actions, as well as conjure a felt sense!

As I mentioned before, your word can be a guiding light. Resolutions or not, your word can lead you down a certain path and illuminate your way.

What way and word will you choose?

I would love to hear what words you are considering for next year. As you experience the moments of your life, take note inside yourself of how different words fit who and how you aspire to be, the energy you would like to embody in the world on a more consistent basis, and what you'd like to lean more into.

Much love in the coming year, my friends! I'd love to be a part of your journey if you feel called to lean into a coaching experience that will help you honor every part of yourself! Please reach out. You know where to find me: 🙌


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