Word of the Year: Why?


I can’t remember where I first heard about having a word for the year. But it was a couple of years ago and I really liked the idea of it. I’m going to be honest, I don’t have any trouble finding or coming up with ideas for growing and improving my life. However, unless I am intentional about them, they just continue to swirl in my mind. Throughout the year, I love making my swirling ideas tangible and physical. The word of the year has helped me do this.

Others like philanthropist, Melinda Gates and mom blogger Crystal Paine have used this idea to help direct their intentions and actions for the year.

My Experience with a Word of the Year:

2017 was the first year that I had a word for the year. My word was “Understanding.” I chose this word as I was in the early beginnings of my coaching business. One of my core values in my coaching business and in relationships is to understand where people are coming from. It’s easy for me to take on the mindset of judger, but I knew that to show people the care I wanted to and to help people grow through my coaching my base had to be understanding.

Then in 2018, my word of the year was “Realistic.” I really needed this word. I had moved from being a staying at home mom dabbling in coaching to making it a full time job. What I could say “yes” to and be involved in was vastly different and this was hard for me. Because I am a “yes” girl. I hated to say “no” to people and I also just love being involved in all kinds of things. This word helped to remind me to be realistic about my resources of time and energy and how my use of them would impact my family

Making It a Part of Life:

There are different ways to make the word of the year a regular part of life. For me, I have mulled it over and been at a place where I understood what it meant for me. Then I would post it and bring it to mind often. That was all I needed to make it a part of everyday life. It represented my priorities for the year. It would pop up in my mind and I would be forced to think about that word as a value and try to evaluate whether I was using it as I needed to.

Some other ways to make a word of the year work for you are:

1)Think of a characteristic or principle that would connect you back to why you do what you do.

2)Define what it means- listing out how it will play out in everyday life

3)Make a plan for what you want it to look like in action each month

4)Recognize obstacles that may come up that might keep you from putting the word into practice

5)Do this with someone else to have the support and accountability needed to make it a part of life

The Results:

Let me share what happened as a result. One of the biggest complements I get is when a client says that it has been helpful to meet with me for sessions to have someone that is non-judgemental to work through struggles they are facing. I am only an effective tool for others if I seek to understand where they are coming from. Making that my word in 2016 launched me on that path. It doesn’t mean that I am perfect at it. I still struggle to make sure that is where I am coming from. However, through using the idea of word of the year I put that value at the forefront of my mind.

Last year, I was able to move to a place of reality when it came to my weekly activities. It looked really different then the year before and it was hard. I had to say it outloud several times, but I was able to be realistic and  say “no” to the things that were better for me to say “no” to and “yes” to my best yeses that reflected the budget of time and energy I had.

My word for 2019 is actually a phrase. It is “All In.” When I am spending time with God, my hubby, or my kids I want to be “all in” in that moment. I don’t want to be planning out other things or making lists. My word for my coaching practice is “Bold Care.” I am excited to see how these priorities guide my year!

So what about you, is there a focus or value you need to be intentional about this year? What is it?

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