I was never good with New Year’s Resolutions.
First, it was something you HAD to do. Because people would ask you ‘So, what’s your resolution for the new year?’. And if you didn’t have one, they’d look at you funny.
Second, because I found that they only lasted for so long. Like those many people you see in the gym in January and who disappear come February.
A resolution is like an action item on your To Do list. You can easily procrastinate. You can delegate. You can blame it on the weather or someone else.
In 2009 I took a coach. And she introduced me to the principle of choosing a WORD of the year instead of a resolution. Verb or noun. But just ONE word.
And it has made all the difference.
- A resolution addresses the DO level of your life. If I DO this (exercise), then I will HAVE that (a healthy body), and then I will BE that (confident).
- Choosing a word, turns the thing around and starts you on the BE level. It starts you from where you want to BE. So if you want to BE confident for example, your word of the year could be COURAGE.
- Awareness: once you have chosen your word, the whole world starts shifting. Not massively at first. But your word is with you all the time. It will pop up in everything you think or do. Whenever you shy away from something it will make you think ‘How would a courageous person handle this situation?’.
- Baby steps: a word is not a to do list. It doesn’t say ‘you have to go to the gym 3 times a week in order to achieve your goal’. It allows you to go at your own rhythm.
- Bigger and better: a word is a much broader topic and hence engulfs your whole life and not just the fitness part for example. So you start shifting little things, but in more than one area in your life.
In 2010, my Word of the Year was CREATE.
In 2011, it was CONNECT.
Both words Create and Connect have brought be to create my own non profit Create and Connect asbl. So you see that a word of the year can even become the name of your company!
When I chose the word CONNECT, it was all about connecting the dots, the people, the activities, under one hat. Alignment of all the things that I like. Alignment with my intention.
It was a very busy year. I did a lot of networking (i.e. connecting with other people) and realised that this really cost me too much time and energy (I still have a day job! and a family to take care of) and that I needed to focus more on the activities that I really wanted to concentrate on, that brought me joy.
So who says you can’t change things along the way? During that year, I changed course a little bit. I stopped networking to get clients for my employee volunteer programs. And I focused on setting up a retreat. The Create Your Life retreat has now taken many times successfully. And it was much more fun and cost me less energy.
Would I have set a New Year’s Resolution at the beginning of 2011 it would probably have been ‘Start my own Business’. It would probably have seen me running in all directions trying to achieve that. But it would have missed the point, the intention. It would have missed the change of direction during the year that was necessary.
So the Word of the Year has really served me very well over the last years. And I have come a long way. A word accompanies you during the year. It is with you every day, in every action. And that makes all the difference.
I have since chosen REAL, UP, LIGHT, RELEASE, LOVE, UNFOLD, RISE and OWN and FEEL
This is how it looks like when I go on the quest for my word…
I write down a lot of words the speak to me. Then I drill it down to what I really want to feel. If the word still doesn’t feel right, I look it up in the dictionary or thesaurus. And usually, the right word then whispers in my ear ‘pick me!’…
I have finally chosen SOFTEN for 2021. After FEEL, I felt the need for some peace and quiet, for calm and nourishment, for kindness and patience, for space and comfort, for tuning my life. But none of these words seemed to fit. So I sat with it some more and felt into it. And when I went running, SOFTEN came to me.
As always, it has multiple meanings and touches many areas in my life.
– Soften EVERYTHING. Soften into and around situations.
– Soften into my day in the morning, and into the end of the day at night.
– Soften my day and agenda by creating breathing space..
– Soften my actions and reactions in any given situation.
– Soften my goals, plans, workshops.
– Soften my step, my fitness.
– Soften my expectations and my perspective.
– Accept the softening of my body.
– Soften around my teenagers while they are becoming adults in these difficult times.
What will your word of the year 2021 be?
If you need help, Christine Kane has a wonderful Word of the Year Discovery Tool to create your word of the year (and it’s free too).
Feel free to announce your word of the year in the comments below or share your experience of past words.
Announcing it to the Universe makes it real!