Do you WotY?

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2022 is coming to a close…


and it’s that time of year when I start reflecting on how things have gone the past almost-12 months, and start dreaming about what I want to create in the coming year.


I gave up making New Year’s Resolutions a long, LONG time ago. Did you know that nearly 80% of folks who make a resolution end up abandoning it by FEBRUARY?! What’s the point?


I’ve learned that there is an alternative to setting an unrealistic “resolution” for myself. I do much better with pouring my energy into a focus point for what I want to bring into my life, and this is where my Word of the Year practice comes in.


What is a Word of the Year?


I first heard about choosing a Word of the Year (sometimes shortened to WotY) from Christine Kane. I’m not sure if it was on her blog or at her retreat that I attended, but I was (and still am!) smitten with her and honestly would have tried just about anything she suggested would make my life better! 


Basically, instead of handcuffing yourself to a resolution, you choose ONE word as your focus for the year. A guiding word. A word to inspire you to be a better version of yourself in your day-to-day life. A word that helps shape the life you are creating. Sounds magical, right?


My first word was “create” in 2008. I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember many details of how it shaped my life that year, but I remember making a collage with my word on it, and hanging it somewhere I’d see it every day. And it must have gone okay, because I chose a word for 2009, too (Allow) and 2010 (Breathe) and on and on (other words that have guided me include: Love, Gratitude, Surrender, Feel, Heal, Magic, Ease, Embrace and Connection.)


This is the first time I’ve felt called to choose a word of the year since my son, Torin, died in 2020 (Fierce was my word that year, and though it didn’t get much attention, it planted seeds that I’m just now seeing germinate this year.)


So I thought I’d share a little bit of my process with you, in case you’re curious. Or if you’ve decided that you’re definitely going to pick a word for 2023. All are welcome 😉


How to choose your Word of the Year


1. Trust your intuition! 


My hunch is, if you sit down with a pen and paper (or your phone’s Notes app) and think about what you want more of in your life, a few word possibilities will come to mind. It’s also okay to think about what you DON’T want more of in your life, and then flip it to the positive–our word of the year is not there to scold or judge us, it’s a beacon, calling us to a more authentic version of ourselves.


2. Do a quick online search: “Word of the Year Ideas”


Plenty of folks have made cute graphics with lists of inspiring words. Use these lists by reading down them and seeing what moves you. This could be a “YES!!”, curiosity, or a “HELL NO!” feeling. The word Simplify, for instance, has brought all three of those feelings for me at different times in my life. A word can stretch you (so it might be a little scary to contemplate at first) or feel like a homecoming. Only you know what you need from your guiding word this year.


3. Once you have a list, narrow the choices down to 3-5


If you are like me (multi-passionate, and I *love* words) you might have so many words that your sheet’s as long as Santa’s 2022 naughty list. So we need to get that bad boy down to five words at the most. There are future years for all those other words, I promise! 


Think about what you REALLY want to focus on cultivating this year. My favorite words have been those that have multiple meanings for me, so they affect change in multiple areas of my life.


4. Walk away from your list and come back to it in a few days!


When you get to the point where you have narrowed down your list to 3-5 words, it’s time to let your Inner Wisdom “work” on it awhile. You have set the intention that you want to choose a guiding word for 2023, and the next step is to release it to your subconscious. During the next few days, your job is to simply notice what happens–do you suddenly see one of those words EVERYWHERE? Does a new challenge arise that makes you think of one of your word options? 


5. Come back to your list and see if one of the words has risen to the top.


Now that they’ve simmered on the back burner for a few days, has one of the words shown itself to be your word? If not, talk to a friend about the choices and see if having that conversation helps you narrow it down. Pick one and try it on for a few days. 


There are no rules… and there are no wrong choices! I know folks who change their word mid-year if it doesn’t feel right. The point of choosing a guiding word for your year is not choosing the perfect word! The point is being intentional about what you’d like to invite more of into your life. Have fun with this, and let me know what word you choose!