Do you have a “Word of the Year?”

I’ve tried New Year’s resolutions in the past, but none have been particularly successful.

There’s something about the fresh start of a new year that inspires me, but it doesn’t take long for the SMART goal approach of resolutions (“I will make healthy food choices and work out 3x per week”) to leave me feeling like I’ve failed…again.

How might I bottle up that ambition and sprinkle it throughout the months to come without the angst and guilt?  

For the last few years, my answer has been to pick a single word to focus on. My word for 2020 is ELEVATE. Everything I did in 2019, I want to do better. This reminds me to step up my game in big ways and small, especially when I’m tempted to leave “good enough” alone.

It serves as a filter or lens to look through as I make decisions. Already I’m asking myself things like “is what I’m doing truly elevating this project?” And if my behavior isn’t matching up, I adjust. Of course, I still fall short sometimes, but somehow, it’s just not as demoralizing as waffling on a resolution.

Sound interesting? Good.

So how do you pick a word of the year? Sometimes, it just comes to you…but other years, a few prompts might help.

Ask yourself:

  • What is it that I’ve been missing last year that I’d like more of in my life?
  • What new habits or behaviors will I need to embrace to meet this year’s vision of success?
  • What would bring me peace?

More hands-on? Try these:

  • Write a list of all the words that come to mind. Are there any that resonate with you more than others?
  • Journal about your dreams for the coming year. Is there a certain theme that jumps out at you?
  • Reflect on it while engaged in some other activity – running, hiking, yoga, painting – and see what emerges.

Still need a bit of inspiration? Here are some ideas from A to Z (except for X because I literally cannot find a single relevant word for that letter!):

  • Abundance
  • Balance
  • Creativity, Cultivate, Considerate, Change
  • Determination, Discovery
  • Exuberance
  • Focus, Flexibility, Fortitude
  • Gratitude, Grit, Growth
  • Hope, Honesty, Honor, Humor
  • Initiative
  • Joy
  • Kindness
  • Love, Learning, Laughter
  • Magnanimity
  • Nice
  • Ownership, Oneness
  • Purpose, Peace
  • Quality, Quiet
  • Reflection, Relaxation, Resourcefulness
  • Serenity, Stability
  • Tranquility, Trust, Truth
  • Unity
  • Virtuous, Victory
  • Wisdom, Willingness, Willpower
  • Yearning, Yield
  • Zen

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!