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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer

Word for the Year

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

2021 Update: The following post was from 1/7/20. At the time, the year held a great deal of promise and anticipation. What I thought my word - NEXT - would bring was a new chapter of promise and growth. What NEXT ended up being was beyond any of our imaginations. My word did work however. While our collective 'next' was not contemplated in January, we were all forced to pivot, adapt, adjust. Our next was required of us and was profound.

I still believe in the Word of the Year exercise, so I am resharing last year's post as it was originally written. Personally, I am vacillating between SHIFT and CONNECT for 2021. In the end I may use CONNECT as an intention and SHIFT as a guide - to shift my thinking, approach and way of life. Shift is slight, not dramatic; it is being open to possibility, but feels subtle. I hope that you will share your word with me and with others who can help you stay accountable to where you want to go this year.

Original Post:

As you reflect on 2019, is there a word that sums up what you accomplished and how you will remember the year? My clients used words such as TRANSFORMATIVE or GROWTH. Others found their CONFIDENCE and VOICE. And still others assigned words such as ACCEPTANCE or STRENGTH.

What if instead of assigning a word in hindsight, you set your intention by picking a word now – at the beginning of the year. Could that single word help to guide you and drive you toward action; help push you outside of your comfort zone or seek your best self?

For years, I have chosen a word to help guide my year. Similar to a resolution, the word sets the stage for what I want to accomplish and how I want to ‘show up’.

You can go through the exercise in a few easy steps. It is a great activity to do with your team, friends, and family (including your kids):

Ask yourself what you want to accomplish this year and what words will help you get there. Brainstorm the words without editing the list (MyIntent has a great word finder tool and prompts to help you identify your word). Talk about each word and its merits – is it passive or active, will it change you, does it really capture what you are looking to achieve and how you want to be seen? Narrow down your list until you think you have your word.Sit with that word for a day or so and see if it inspires and motivates you. If not, try another word from the list. Share your word with others so they can check in with you throughout the year and see if it still resonates.

It is really remarkable how a word can sum up and help shape a year.

Full disclosure, my word for 2019 was NEXT. I knew it would be a transformative year for me and my family. I thought NEXT held anticipation, was a page-turner, and would keep me seeking what was just around the corner. In some ways the word was fulfilled, but I feel like there is more transition to come in 2020, so I am sticking with it and am excited to see what comes NEXT.

Happy New Year! And share your word when you have decided (or reach out and I can help guide you through the selection process).

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