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Why you should select one word to focus on all year

The word itself is not what is so powerful, but the time that you take to choose it. Through the process of selecting a word, you come face-to-face with your values and identify the things that will help move you forward to where you want to be.

Why you should select one word to focus on all year
[Photo: gemredding/iStock]

If you were searching social media at the beginning of the year, you may have seen people posting about their “one word”; the word that summed up their intention for the year and will serve to help them focus on what they want to achieve in the coming year.

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But can one word really help you manifest the things you desire? Certified Life Coach Megan Day says yes. Day spent the end of 2018 helping her small business clients to pick their “one word” through her year-in-review sessions. “Carefully selecting a word of the year helps you to gain clarity about the things you would like to create in your life and the way in which you want to live,” says Day.

Day guides her clients through selecting the one word that will motivate them through the coming year. “The word that you choose becomes a guidepost. It serves as a guide for your actions, your thoughts, your goals,” she says. This seems like a lot of pressure to place on one little word. Day says the word itself is not what is so powerful, but the time that you take to choose it. Through the process of selecting a word, you come face-to-face with your values and identify the things that will help move you forward to where you want to be.

If you don’t yet have a word for the year, it’s not too late! Here’s how you can set your word for the rest of the year.

Reflect upon the previous year

“The word that you select is not only forward thinking, it also helps to reflect upon the year that has passed and learn from your mistakes and things that didn’t go well,” says Day. When selecting your word, ask yourself what went well in the previous year and what didn’t go as well as you would have liked. Reflect upon any personal growth you’ve had over the past year. Who did you used to be? And who are you now?

Reviewing your year can help you to highlight the things that are missing in your current life. “Oftentimes, the words that we are drawn to are the words that we intuitively know we lack,” says Day. “Claiming that word helps us take ownership of these shortcomings and come up with an antidote for overcoming them, almost like taking on an alter ego.”

Make a list then narrow your choices

Write down as many powerful words as you can, without limiting yourself. Examples of power words may include Confidence, Trust, Delight, Impact.

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Once you have your list of words, go through them again carefully, crossing off all the ones that don’t automatically feel exciting, fulfilling, or energizing to you.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to three words, ask yourself what 10 things you can bring into your life if you live by this word all year long. The one word that feels the most motivating and is the easiest to list 10 things will be your word.

There’s no wrong word choice

Choosing your word for the year isn’t a right-or-wrong process, but is entirely personal to you. “It has to elicit a visceral response in you,” says Day. “When a word has the power to move you, it has the power to empower you.” Your word should keep you motivated, give you comfort, and keep you on track when times are challenging. Choosing the same word as a friend or as an influencer you follow online isn’t going to help you step into being your personal best if the word doesn’t speak to you personally.

Make your word visible

To help you make decisions throughout the year that are in alignment with the word you choose to serve as your guidepost, make sure to keep your word in a place that is visible. Write it on a sticky note and place it on your monitor or bathroom mirror. Journal on your word, exploring what the word means to you and what your life will be like if you live this word daily. Or take your word one step further and integrate it into a vision board: a visual collage of all the things you want to bring into your life.

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About the author

Lisa Evans is a freelance writer from Toronto who covers topics related to mental and physical health. She strives to help readers make small changes to their daily habits that have a profound and lasting impact on their productivity and overall job satisfaction

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