This is my third year picking a Word of the Year. If you haven’t heard about this idea before, basically you pick a word as a touchstone for the year. Instead of making resolutions, you let the word guide you.
Honestly, when I first heard about it, I thought the idea was kinda crazy. I’m not as intentional about picking a word as many people are. Look on the internet and you’ll find plenty of people describing a process for picking a word. Think about who you want to be, make a list, etc, etc. I have never done a process like that. I don’t do any of that. Every year, sometime in the late fall, a word has just sort of bubbled up into my consciousness. I roll it around in my head for a few days and see what comes up as I think about it. Every year, the word that has bubbled up has felt right. In addition, each year, something has happened to affirm that the word was the right one for me.
What does it mean to let the word guide you? Again, there’s a variety of approaches. Some people are very formal, meditating on and journaling about the word. I’m less formal. In 2016, the first year I picked a word, my word was CREATE. During the time I was contemplating whether this was the right word, I got an order in the mail that included a bookmark as a little bonus item. The bookmark has a bright yellow background and the word CREATE in big block letters. I stuck that bookmark to my office door so I would see it multiple times a day. I didn’t do anything else in terms of meditating on the word, but it was right in front of me every day. I was incredibly productive in my creative pursuits in 2016, more than I had ever been.
Last year the word that came up was FINISH. It was an interesting word, that played out in unexpected ways throughout the year. I didn’t have a good way of connecting with the word though, and there were entire months when I didn’t consciously think about it at all.
My word for 2018 is MOVE. On New Year’s Eve, I got an affirmation that this was the right word for the year. My fortune cookie told me, “It’s time to get moving. Your spirits will lift accordingly.” I’ve actually taped that fortune to my computer monitor so I will see it every day.
MOVE is such a dynamic word that can be interpreted in many ways. Move my body by exercising, moving forward, moving on, moving to a new home (I’ve really wanted to move for several years, but circumstances have meant staying put was a wiser choice). It’s an encouraging word for me. Due to various circumstances, I’ve felt rather stagnant for a while. I’m excited about the idea of getting MOVING and out of this stagnant place.
It’s only the second day of the year, but so far I’ve found that I’m regularly asking myself, “How can I move right now?” Is there a task I can do to move a project forward? Can I do a little exercise? What would it mean to move right this minute? I’m looking forward to seeing where all this moving takes me!