What’s Your Word for this Year?
You may be wondering what this crazy person means by ‘What’s Your Word for this Year?’ and why is he asking me this?
Well, I may be crazy for sure, but it’s actually a great prompter that we frequently use in coaching to invite our client to zoom in on an area of focus for self-improvement. Bear with me while I explain…
Why the Right Words Matter So Much
World-renowned Coach and Author, Tony Robbins stated that “Nothing has any meaning except the meaning we give it” and words can be extremely powerful. Words and languages evolved to give us frames of reference for communication with each other, yet if you take one simple word as an example – the word ‘love’, and you ask a room full of people what that word means to them, you may be surprised at the number of different interpretations that you will hear in response. No wonder there is so much confusion, misunderstanding and even conflict in the world if we can’t even all agree on the meaning of one of the most important words in human conversation.
Our modern communications such as emails, texting and social media appear to have only added to the mix. Think about when you have innocently commented on something and you were amazed to find that the person who received your message responded angrily or became upset, which you didn’t intend at all. You may well remember times when you have misunderstood someone’s comment on one of your posts or received a message and taken offence, only to find that they didn’t mean it the way you heard it or read it.
The wrong words at the wrong time to the wrong person can truly result in the direst of consequences. Conversely, the right words at the right time to the right person or group of people can influence, inspire, empower or uplift them in more ways than you might even have imagined.
So, which better person to begin with inspiring is there than yourself?!
Your Inspirational and Aspirational Word
The end of a year and the beginning of a new one is for many of us a time for introspection, for reviewing our efforts and accomplishments of the year we leave behind us, and for setting new objectives and goals for the future ahead of us.
Now that we have discussed the power of words and how much they can shape our mood or our level of motivation, let’s consider how we can turn that to our advantage.
I challenge you to think about a word, a phrase, or even a sentence that has special meaning for you – don’t worry about how others may interpret it. This is your personal mantra – a word or words that will give you focus on the area that you want to work on. Write your choice down on paper, and I’d urge you to physically write it rather than type it, as the very act of scribing it in that way somehow makes it even more personal to you. If you’re an artist, feel free to draw it or embellish it as you see fit.
What’s the Difference Between This and New Year’s Resolutions?
Resolutions made in the emotion of the click over from one calendar event to the next are often made with good intention, but with no real level of commitment. We might wish to lose weight and get our body shape back into line, for example, but are we committed to the action that is required? We might say that we plan to go to the gym every day, but when we don’t immediately turn into the super fit god-like figure that we imagined, most people begin to lose interest and the motivation to push on through the changes that are required to achieve the result.
Choosing a personal mantra, a word or phrase that is meaningful to you and referring to it regularly can convey a whole framework of both inspiration and aspiration because you can apply it to many situations.
Perhaps my personal choice will explain it best. My inspirational and aspirational word for 2023 is ‘reenergise’. What this means to me and how I intend to draw upon it is like this:
- I will reenergise my body to build and maintain good health which will inspire me to reenergise my body’s level of fitness.
- I will reenergise my relationships by working on my personal development and my communications skills with family, friends, acquaintances, associates and even strangers.
- I will reenergise my entrepreneurial attitude towards my business ventures and I will aspire to learn new skillsets that are relevant to my objectives.
- I will reenergise my life plans, including reviewing and adding things to my ‘bucket list’.
I could continue, but I’m confident you get the idea and this message is not about me, it’s about you. When you find a word or a phrase that has meaning to you, you can use it and apply it to a host of situations.
A Few Useful Tips
When you come up with a word or phrase, try testing out how it sounds when applied to various situations or problems you may be facing. Does the word or words feel inspirational and aspirational to convey the importance of the action required by you, and more importantly how you will feel once you have achieved the goal to which your word is applied? It’s not just a word or a phrase, it’s a statement of intent to become better than you feel you are now in a particular area of your own behaviour and personality.
Trust your instincts on how it feels. If it’s not quite right, try experimenting with other words until you get an ‘Aha’ moment. You can always discuss it with your mentors or supportive friends who have earned the right to debate such matters with you.
I recommend writing the word down and carrying it with you, perhaps on a card in your purse or wallet. If you have a desk or work station, or somewhere that you will visit regularly, such as the toilet door or above your PC, stick that card and the word it carries right where you’ll see it and be reminded to become it.
I personally set a note with a pop up in my smart phone each day, so that I have to acknowledge being reminded of my word and its promise that I made to myself.
Good luck and feel free to message me if you’re stuck. Also feel free to implement changes that may improve your life and the lives of your loved ones. I wish you an awesome year ahead using the power of your word.