Oh, my word!

Setting up for New Year success in one word

It’s finally time to wrap up my December fitness streak (at least 10 minutes of deliberate exercise every day). As I am posting on the penultimate (one of my favorite words!) day of the month – and year – I am happy to report that I have kept the streak alive. IMG_2030 Now, I turn to setting goals and intentions for the new year, as many of you are doing now. I am one of those Pollyanna weirdos who loves New Year’s Day. Sure, it’s just another day, a fabricated holiday that marks nothing more than turning a page on the calendar. But the prospect of a fresh start and a new plan gets me every time. I appreciate the opportunity to reassess and redirect. That’s where my word comes in. Part of my process for the past few years has been to choose a word to focus on throughout the year. Here are some tips for how you can choose a word and make it part of your plan for the year: Choosing Your Word If you do yoga, the instructor will often ask you at the beginning of the practice to set an intention for the practice, that you can return to throughout the practice for that day. Think of your word as the annual version of that concept. To give you some ideas, my words have been time, live, change, persevere, and outside. My word is generally an aspiration I would like to achieve and include in my life that year. For example, I selected time the year after my first child was born, to remind myself that it is limited and I should use it well. Your word can evolve. This year, outside first meant “outside my comfort zone,” and eventually came to also mean the actual outdoors. That said, choose whatever moves you, that you believe you will return to throughout the year. Verb, noun, there are no rules. Make up a word if you want. What do I do with a word? As with choosing your word, the only rule is that there are no rules. At the very least, I would put your word on a piece of paper in a place you can see it. You can get jewelry engraved with your word, or some kind of word art. If your word is physically visible, you are more likely to remember why you chose it and what you hope it will spark. If you want to be a bit more deliberate, spend a few minutes on the first of each month journaling about your word. Some ideas to get you started are:

  • How did my word influence my fitness journey (or other priorities) last month?
  • What are some unexpected ways my word showed up in everyday life?
  • How has my understanding of my word changed in the past month?
  • How can I use my word in the coming month to help me reach my goals?

The first time I ever heard of the concept of choosing a word for the year was in my other hobby, scrapbooking (you know, because I have waaaaaaay too much free time on my hands…), through Ali Edwards’ One Little Word class. If you want to go for a deep dive with your word, try giving it a shot. She provides monthly challenges to creatively help you make your word part of your life. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to be into papercrafting to take this class.) How does my word fit with my goals and resolutions? Your word is not magic. Unfortunately, choosing skinny will not make that baby weight melt away. At least not without some other plans and goals, and the most important component, action. Just having a one-word intention can help to keep you on track, but I have found my word to be most effective when it is just one part of my goal-setting for the year. Make sure it aligns with the specific, measurable goals you want to achieve, and then your word can be shorthand for those when you need a reminder. My word for the new year is… Reach! To me, this can mean the act of reaching for something or out to someone (a hard lesson for a solid introvert like me). Or “it’s a reach,” for something just a bit beyond my norm. This seems appropriate, since I have committed to my first Olympic tri since I became a mom, and only my second ever at that distance. I’m hoping this will help me to stretch just a bit beyond myself. So what is your word? Please share in the comments, and let it be a first step to achieving your goals for the year.

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