Ah, the New Year. Full of new dreams, hopes, promises, and those ever-present and pesky New Year’s resolutions. Does anyone else feel a yearly pressure to make those or is that just me? I have always had a love-hate relationship with goals and goal-setting, but I discovered a new aspect of the process this year – choosing a word of the year. And I am in love with it.
Now, choosing a word of the year is something I have heard about in the past, but I have never done so for myself. But, this year I decided to try something new and different. I am quite excited about the whole thing, and I am even more excited about the word I chose! But, we will get to that.
Choosing a word of the year may seem, at first, to be more stressful than setting goals or intentions for the year. Seriously, a word that will define my entire year? I don’t think so! But, for me, choosing a word of the year ended up being a fairly simple thing, which I will get to in a moment. First, let me explain why a choosing a word of the year is so helpful.
Why choose a word of the year?
Mainly a word of the year gives you a basic focus for you to plan your year around. For example, if your word of the year is “save,” then that word will influence how you make your financial decisions. Whether or not you go out to eat can be determined by this word. What you choose to do as a family can be influenced by the fact that you want to save. Your word of the year can be as influential or uninfluential as you choose to make it.
Additionally, a word of the year can be a springboard for creating other goals. Your word of the year may be “explore,” so you set a goal of visiting one new place every month. That wasn’t so complicated was it? I heard someone on Tsh Oxenrider’s podcast describe a word of the year as a person’s compass, and that is how I am using it in my own life this year.
How to Choose a Word of the Year
In order to choose a word of the year, you need to get a little reflective about the past year (or further if you want to get really deep). Most importantly, be willing to pray about choosing a word of the year. God wants to hear from you in everything, including this. He may even have a word that he wants for you in the coming year. Don’t miss out on God’s plan because you didn’t pray.
Anyway, climbing off of the soap box. Ask yourself a few questions about the past year. What areas of life do you want to be more intentional about? Where did you succeed or fail during the past year? What places in your life do you need to improve in? Each of these questions will help give you ideas on your own word of the year. So, pause and reflect a bit. I’ll be waiting right here. Then, I’ll share my word of the year with you.
My Word of the Year
For 2018 my word is growth. I’ll be honest, I feel a little silly sharing this as my word of the year. It seems cliché and shallow. But, alas, I am a bit of a cliché person. So we are going to roll with it.
A ton happened in my life last year. Spoiler alert: I got married and moved out of my childhood home in December. I started my senior year of college. Also, I got serious about this blog. In December of 2016, I went on my first international mission trip (so it kind of counts). I went through just under a year-long engagement. My grandma passed away last August.
It’s been one heck of a year.
Honestly, I don’t remember the details of a lot of it. I know that in many ways I grew, but I don’t remember specific lessons I learned or ways my faith deepened. I really wish I did because being able to see how you’ve grown in the past can be a real encouragement and inspiration to keep moving forward.
So, I didn’t want that to happen again. Because 2018 is going to be another big, big year (or maybe every year of adulthood is big? You tell me.). I wanted to be more intentional about my growth, and I want to keep track of the lessons I learn. I also want to make sure that I am growing in a positive – and not negative – way, which did happen some last year.
Between that and some considerable prayer, growth seemed like the obvious choice.
After choosing a word of the year, I found several places to apply it to my daily life. To give you some inspiration on your own journey, I’ll go ahead and share that. I have a goal of reading more this year and spending more time intentionally studying my Bible. I created a “Lessons Learned” list that I heard about from Emily P. Freeman over on her podcast. I am also keeping track of what I learned here on the blog (You can check that out over at what I learned from slow eating, learning to stop and listen, and kingdom lessons I learned from cleaning.)
Those are fairly simple ideas, but, honestly, why make it complicated? Simple removes so much pressure.
I do truly hope that this post encouraged you and helped you decide if choosing a word of the year is right for you. If you need some help deciding or want to share your word of the year, feel free to shoot me an email or drop a comment down below!