As many of you know, every year, instead of creating a list of resolutions to make (and then shortly thereafter break) each January, I find a word of the year to focus on. I’ve been doing it maybe five or six years now – it’s not my original idea by any means; I’ve seen lots of people who embrace this tradition. It’s a powerful one so I encourage you to try it.
One of the reasons I like the word of the year concept so much is that it’s not much to remember. I really don’t have space in my brain for a new list of things to be mindful about every year. So I give myself one word. It becomes my mantra, my meditation, my touchstone. And even then, sometimes I go weeks without thinking about my word. But when I come back to it, I always find I have a deeper understanding of how that particular word plays out in its many forms in my life.
Some years, I know my word weeks before the new year. It just comes to me in a flash of insight. Other years, I think I know what my word is going to be but just before the deadline another word comes bursting on the scene. And then there are years like this one. At first, I had a number of words rattling around in my head as possible contenders but it took some work to finally choose just one.
Here was my process this year. I pulled out my handy-dandy giant dry erase board (one of which everyone should own, in my opinion) and started writing down a few of the words I’d been considering. Then, I added words that were similar in theme to those words and even got on Thesaurus.com and ran a couple of searches.
After I felt like I had added enough words, I walked away from my list. Then I spent a few hours just listening to the conversations inside my head – certain words kept coming up over and over again, until there was one that I heard above all the rest.
So in honor of 2014, here’s my word of the year:
“Acts of bravery don’t always take place on battlefields. They can take place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations, and yes, your soul by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.”
― Anna Quindlen
What’s your word? Let me know in the comments.