What is your Word for the Year?
You might have noticed that having words or themes for the year is becoming a little bit more popular than setting New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions can be brilliant if they work for you and if you can stick with them. But while resolutions may be going strong in January, by March or April many people have got bored with them and they are long forgotten. So, it can be more helpful to have a word or some words for your year instead, to encourage you and spur you on. This video and the blog below explain how powerful words can be, and give you some ideas for choosing yours…
Why can words be good things? They can give you a clarity and focus for the year, so you know what you are aiming for, and the kind of character, the kind of person, that you want to be, and subconsciously, you work backwards from that. For example, if you want to live for a lifestyle of opportunity, then make ‘opportunity’ your word. Your behaviours, your habits, your thoughts, and your actions will lead towards that, you’ll gradually work backwards from that goal to the point where even your little day-to-day decisions will lead towards opportunity. So, a word or a few words can really help you to clarify what you want and give you focus.
And the more you think about your words, new pathways called ‘neuropaths’ develop in your brain. Put simply, neuropaths are like troughs in your brain that your thoughts go down, and the more you think about something, the more likely is that your thoughts will go down that same path again. So, if you introduce new words and think strongly about those words, then your brain will start going in a different direction, towards those words and those pathways.
Resolutions can be quite limiting; they can feel like rules. Whereas having a word can feel a bit more fluid or flexible. And unlike resolutions, a ‘word of the year’ doesn’t judge. If you don’t follow through with a resolution, you may feel bad or even guilty for not achieving it, whereas a word is more of a guide than something that will judge. It’s more of a value that you want to live by. And so it’s more likely that you’ll sick to things that ‘add up’ to this word or value, because a word can give you a little nudge in the right direction at every step of your decision-making.
A word can encompass lots of different areas of your life, perhaps even helping you to streamline or declutter, because if something doesn’t line up with your value and your purpose for that year, then you may find it easier to let it go. And a word, or words, can help you to work out what, in the bigger picture, is important for you, what lines up with your values, and what doesn’t.
So, it you don’t already have a ‘word of the year’, how do you find one that works for you? It also doesn’t matter when you choose a word; if you’ve missed the start of the year that’s ok, this can be helpful for any season. To get started, you could spend some perhaps time praying, worshiping, or reading the Bible, to see if any words or themes come through for you. Think about how different words make you feel. If you look at a list of words, which ones jump out, which ones make you feel positive? Which ones align with the kind of person you want to be this year?
It can be helpful to read or listen to a long list of words and see which ones resonate with you. Some ideas could be:
And there are so many more; if you search ‘word of the year’ online, you’ll find lots of lists to get you started. And as you read or listen, focus on words that you can really commit to, that truly align with your values for the year.
With a baby, it’s unusual to announce their name before they’re born, partly because you run the risk of people saying: “oh, interesting name,” or “that’s unusual” or “I wouldn’t have thought of that one”. Most people will reveal the name after they have clearly decided what are going to call their child. And it’s similar with these words; if you have chosen a word that really resonates with you, then stick to it! Don’t run it past people to see what they think, just announce it.
If you’ve tried this and have chosen a word or words for the year, we’d love to hear what they are – tell us in the comments!