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This post was originally written in January 2017 and republished in 2022.
Ready to make changes in 2023?
A few years ago we ditched the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, and began choosing one word to focus on that year instead. This method is called The Word of the Year. Have you heard of it? I first read about the concept from a blog post I read at the end of 2013. Sadly, I can’t remember which blog but I remember she wrote the post based on a book she had read, One Word that will change your life.
I don’t know about you but I love the idea of choosing a Word of the Year vs. New Year’s Resolution because it helps bring intention, focus, and clarity to what we want to create in our lives.
Struggling to pick a word? No worries, I’m here to help you along the way! I’ve come up with a process to help me choose my word each year and today I’m sharing those steps with you. You can also watch the video below:
5 Steps to help you choose your Word of the Year (WOTY)
This isn’t about crossing another goal off your list. It’s about creating a word or mantra to help guide your daily actions and grow mentally, physically, or spiritually (maybe even all of the above!). It’s about giving your soul what it needs. Here are a few easy steps to help guide you in choosing your 2023 word of the year.
Step 1: Reflect
The first thing I want you to do is to reflect on this past year and ask yourself these questions. Jot down whatever pops into your head without self-editing.
- What could I use more of in my life?
- What could I use less of in my life?
- What characteristics would I like to have?
- By the end of the day, I feel (fill in the blank).
- How do I want to feel?
Once you review your responses you’ll have a better sense of the direction you’d like to go, or what you feel may be lacking in your life.
Step 2: Visualize
Visualize what the perfect day would feel like, the emphasis here is “Feel”. Think about how you want your morning routine to feel, how you want to feel at work or throughout the day, and how you want to feel right before you go to bed.
I also recommend meditating or sitting in silence for a couple of minutes and asking yourself “What word do I want to focus on in 2023?”. This is simple but effective.
I think this exercise works best when you’re in a relaxed state. If you’re having trouble maybe try it before you go to sleep or first thing in the morning. You could also turn on an aromatherapy diffuser, light a candle, smudge the space first, or put some calming music on in the background. You’d be amazed how being still can help your intuition shine through, and bring your word to the forefront.
Step 3: Create a List
Spend 10 minutes creating a list of the words that come to mind, no self-editing! Need some help? Here are some examples to get you started, but your word can be anything you want it to be:
Step 4: Review & Refine
Review your list and narrow down your favorites. I’d circle or highlight 3 words.
Chances are you’ll see a theme going on between the words you wrote down. Do any of the words jump out at you, make you feel excited, nervous, scared, uncomfortable, or at ease? Sometimes the words that scare us most can mean we’re on the right track because change isn’t always easy. At the same time, I think finding your word can also bring peace and empowerment.
Think about the words, try them on, and see what feels right. No need to over-analyze this process, trust your gut instead. Gently review your list and let the words pick you.
Step 5: Ask Yourself this VERY important question
Now that you narrowed down your list to three words, there’s just one more question to ask:
Are you interested, or are you committed?
I heard this question in a video I watched where John Assaraf talked about one of his mentors, who at the time was asking him questions to determine whether or not he would take a chance and hire him.
So tell me, are you interested in your word, or are you committed?
If you’re merely “interested” then chances are you’ll make excuses as to why you’re not putting forth the effort to actually make changes. But if you’re “Committed” to your word, you’ll do whatever it takes to implement that word and bring more of it into your life.
If necessary, allow yourself a day or two, even a week to really think about this.
What’s your 2023 Word of the Year?
Which word can you say you’re 100% committed to? Choose that one!
…. Or choose 3, like I did back in 2021, haha. (Though I went back to one word in 2022 and plan to do so again this year.)
Choose the word you want to improve upon or learn more about. The word will guide you throughout the year and even if you forget about it from time to time, subconsciously you’ll discover resources or tools to bring it into your life more than the year before. I also use the word as a mantra or affirmation during part of my daily meditation.
Don’t forget to jot down your WOTY in your calendar, planner, or journal. I write my word of the year in my journal (and my phone notes) and include a few sentences underneath it about how I can cultivate it into my life.
You can write it on a post-it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror, computer, or anywhere else you’ll see it regularly.
Update: You can read about my 2023 Word of the Year here.
If you’re curious, here are the words I’ve chosen in previous years:
2021: Breathe, Vitality, Confidence
2020: Wabi-sabi, Slow, Action
I hope this post helped you choose your 2023 word of the year!