The power of choosing a Word of the Year!

  • the power of choosing a word of the year

I was never good with New Year’s Resolutions.

First, it was something you HAD to do. Because people would ask you ‘So, what’s your resolution for the new year?’. And if you didn’t have one, they’d look at you funny.

Second, because I found that they only lasted for so long. Like those many people you see in the gym in January and who disappear come February.

A resolution is like an action item on your To Do list. You can easily procrastinate. You can delegate. You can blame it on the weather or someone else.

In 2009 I took a coach. And she introduced me to the principle of choosing a WORD of the year instead of a resolution. Verb or noun. But just ONE word.

And it has made all the difference.

Here’s why:

  1. A resolution addresses the DO level of your life. If I DO this (exercise), then I will HAVE that (a healthy body), and then I will BE that (confident).
  2. Choosing a word, turns the thing around and starts you on the BE level. It starts you from where you want to BE. So if you want to BE confident for example, your word of the year could be COURAGE.
  3. Awareness: once you have chosen your word, the whole world starts shifting. Not massively at first. But your word is with you all the time. It will pop up in everything you think or do. Whenever you shy away from something it will make you think ‘How would a courageous person handle this situation?’.
  4. Baby steps: a word is not a to do list. It doesn’t say ‘you have to go to the gym 3 times a week in order to achieve your goal’. It allows you to go at your own rhythm.
  5. Bigger and better: a word is a much broader topic and hence engulfs your whole life and not just the fitness part for example. So you start shifting little things, but in more than one area in your life.

In 2010, my Word of the Year was CREATE.

In 2011, it was CONNECT.

Both words Create and Connect have brought be to create my own non profit Create and Connect asbl. So you see that a word of the year can even become the name of your company!

When I chose the word CONNECT, it was all about connecting the dots, the people, the activities, under one hat. Alignment of all the things that I like. Alignment with my intention.

It was a very busy year. I did a lot of networking (i.e. connecting with other people) and realised that this really cost me too much time and energy (I still have a day job! and a family to take care of) and that I needed to focus more on the activities that I really wanted to concentrate on, that brought me joy.

So who says you can’t change things along the way? During that year, I changed course a little bit. I stopped networking to get clients for my employee volunteer programs. And I focused on setting up a retreat. The Create Your Life retreat has now taken many times successfully. And it was much more fun and cost me less energy.

Would I have set a New Year’s Resolution at the beginning of 2011 it would probably have been ‘Start my own Business’. It would probably have seen me running in all directions trying to achieve that. But it would have missed the point, the intention. It would have missed the change of direction during the year that was necessary.

So the Word of the Year has really served me very well over the last years. And I have come a long way. A word accompanies you during the year. It is with you every day, in every action. And that makes all the difference.

I have since chosen REAL, UP, LIGHT, RELEASE, LOVE and UNFOLD.

What will your word of the year 2018 be?

At first I had chosen BLOOM – because after unfolding, the flower blooms, right? But after sitting with it for a few days, it didn’t speak to me. And as the Universe works in mysterious way, that same afternoon I saw a picture on Instagram by Lara Cornell and I knew that my word for 2018 had to be RISE.

Because again, it has multiple meanings and touches many areas in my life.

  • Finally, after many years of fighting, hoping and suffering (a lost love and ideal picture of a family life), I am finally ready to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes.
  • Rise to the best level of myself.
  • Rise above the petty and don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Rise and shine every morning.
  • Make Create and Connect rise online through e-courses.
  • Planting the seeds of creativity all over the world and see them rise.
  • Help other people rise: get rid of masks, protection layers and fear.
  • Rise as I am: truthful, authentic and real, always.
  • Help my little family rise, each one creating their own horizon of happiness.
  • Let a new love rise.
  • Coach my boys in their vulnerability and help them rise to good and happy young men.
  • I was very inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem ‘And Still I Rise’ so I wanted to share it with you..

If you need help, Christine Kane has a wonderful Word of the Year Discovery Tool to create your word of the year (and it’s free too).

Feel free to announce your word of the year in the comments below or share your experience of past words.

Announcing it to the Universe makes it real!

Miranda van den Heuvel
2017-11-30T11:33:28+00:00December 1st, 2017|

18 Comments

  1. Caroline 02/12/2016 at 14:47 - Reply

    Love this every year!

    My words have been:
    2011 cherish
    2012 persistent
    2013 re-define
    2014 unfold
    2015 spread out
    2016 choose

    II usually get set on my word during my December break in the mountains. It is a very spiritual thing for me. I listen to my heart as I look back at my achievements of the year and where I want to head during the year to come. I had the chance to set back and ponder while in Japan in October. And I think I found my word.

    2017 free

    I want to be:
    free to be myself
    free to create
    free my soul and inner voices
    free to choose whatever
    free to go whereever
    simply FREE

  2. Lynsey 02/12/2016 at 15:36 - Reply

    My word for 2017 is Contentment. It’s going to be a tough year. I don’t want to spend it sad, I don’t want to aim for happiness, but contentment I can do.

  3. Paula 02/12/2016 at 22:48 - Reply

    Meaning – that’s my word for 2017. Meaning in little things and in general. Finding it and treasuring it.

  4. Lucy K 03/12/2016 at 00:04 - Reply

    With a big birthday coming up, I want to Celebrate in 2017. Celebrate being alive, celebrate all the small joys in life. And thanks to this year’s word, Connect, I have more people in my life to celebrate with

  5. lynn frank 03/12/2016 at 10:07 - Reply

    My word for 2017 is Quiet. Its meaning is emerging and evolving. I feel like I need to take some more time to be Quiet. Gentle with myself.

  6. Anay 03/12/2016 at 11:03 - Reply

    Create… that’s my world for the year, create my own space to create… fly in my creations and forget about anything else… create, create, create…

  7. Danielle 03/12/2016 at 12:02 - Reply

    Love – I want to love and everything like it is. I feel that I have spent a lot of time chasing and achieving things. Now I want to be in the moment and open my heart with what is. Love to you and your beautiful work.

  8. Ildy 03/12/2016 at 23:48 - Reply

    Mission – My word is mission for 2017. I want to help for kids and for woman to create from heart. Love to you

  9. Christiane 05/12/2016 at 07:17 - Reply

    My word will be balance, in all levels pf my life, also in order to spread it around me.
    I m totally agree with your idea,the word will be really more effective as a resolution
    It s nice to do a vsion board with the word 😉

  10. Masha 05/12/2016 at 10:36 - Reply

    Inspiration

  11. Stephanie O 07/12/2016 at 10:15 - Reply

    My word of the year for 2017 will be RENEW.

    I am working on losing 100+ lbs. Renewing my mind, my body, and my love for me. Renewing my relationships: God, husband, children, family and friends. A little reset! In with the new (strength and commitment) and out with the old (negative self talk & discouragement).

  12. Sirli 08/12/2016 at 22:49 - Reply

    COURAGE:
    – to be confident/have self-confidence
    – to be myself
    – to take the necessary steps to move forward
    – to trust my intuition
    – to take the first step towards my dream
    – to live my life like I want to live it

  13. JoJo Wecker 16/12/2016 at 17:35 - Reply

    Thank you Miranda for this wonderful opportunity, this is maybe just a little step but you gave the impulse and since i started choosing a word of the year , it changed
    my life !

    2014 , it was DECLUTTER –
    my life, my house – what a joy, it provided me Happiness !!
    2015 it was LIGHT –
    the end of the tunnel, finally – it gave me Hope and self convidence.
    2016 it was LOVE –
    and i found it everywhere – i got even married after haveing been a single mom for 11 years and being 51 years old on top of all)

    2017 my word of the year will be PEACE –
    for the family (2 sisters of 4 like fights),
    for the world (too much wars going on)
    for myself (to accept certain things and to allow myself to be happy anyway)
    it’ll be work but i am confident that it’ll will change things

  14. Miranda 18/12/2016 at 22:21 - Reply
  15. Caroline 02/12/2017 at 11:51 - Reply

    I agree the word of the year is very powerful. In 2017 mine was free and even if I had a word since 2011 I did not expect it to be THAT powerful. The process of freeing myself was a bit painful sometimes but yes it felt very good at the end!

    For 2018 I chose PLAY

    To play means ‘to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose’.

    I’d add ‘rather than commercial purpose’. I want to play especially with my art and my skills. I somehow forgot how that works.

  16. Judy Fisher 31/12/2017 at 03:56 - Reply

    My word for the New Year is faith

  17. […] This year I want to be more specific about my Word of the Year. There is plenty of material  out there on the Internet about a word of the year approach to bettering ourselves. Here is a neat excerpt from Create and Connect:  […]

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