A featured image of notes with last year's word of the year and this year's.
Life

Have you chosen a word of the year?

The popular new thing for the new year is choosing a word of the year. Have you chosen yours? Not sure how? Worried about picking the wrong word? It’s okay, I’ve been there, but here’s my top advice.

What is a word of the year?

I’m not exactly sure when this trend started but I remember seeing an abundance of posts about it last year around this time. Everyone was picking a word to guide them throughout the next year. It’s pretty common for people to make resolutions at the end of the year but this shakes things up a bit.

My experience

2019 was the first year I had a word of the year. I thought long and hard about what word to choose as 2018 neared an end. I finally came up with the perfect word. Forgiveness. 2018 had been a big year for me on my journey to self-love. It felt fitting that the following year was about forgiveness, not only for other people but for myself as well. The interesting thing was that, while this worked in so many ways, one of the biggest was that I somehow spoke it into existence. In every day life I reminded myself to be forgiving of those around me and myself. And I even stopped apologizing for the big things and asked, instead, for forgiveness. But the biggest turnaround was when I came face to face with someone from my past.

Speaking it into existence

I was working a retail job over the summer and someone whom I used to be very close with but had since had a falling out with came into the store. At first I tried to busy myself on the other side of the store, but I couldn’t go far. They spotted me and I was thrown into a conversation with them. By the end of the conversation I was shaking. All those feelings of being friends, the memories, the knowledge that things had changed drastically for both of us over the past year, it was a lot. On my drive home I just let my mind spiral.

The power of forgiveness

I had to actively remind myself of that word. Forgiveness. I chose it as my word to challenge myself. I wanted something that I knew I struggled with to be what guided my year. And in this moment I calmed my mind and got to the root of the problem. I had been forgiving people all year, myself included — and that was, perhaps, the most difficult. I knew I could do it. Afterall, forgiving doesn’t mean things change, it only means that you are letting go of any anger or frustration you feel and, in turn, freeing yourself from the weight of negative feelings. I searched my heart and realized what was holding me back. In this case forgiveness meant the end. If I forgave this person it would close that chapter in my mind and I didn’t know if I was ready for that. But I had to be. I knew, in order to be free, I had to forgive everything.

How should I choose a word?

I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot of pressure at first! There are a few different ways you can go about finding your word.

1) Picking one yourself

This is what most people would do. Think deeply about what you want 2020 to bring you. What do you want to accomplish? What do you hope to focus on? If you are a planner you’ll love this. It gives you the power to make a conscious decision about the next 365 days.

2) Manifest the word

If you are really into meditation (or even if you’re not) you can try manifesting your word. This is more of a subconscious tactic. Take a quiet moment of meditation and let your mind come to a word.

3) Come up with multiple words

Have you tried vision boarding? Well if you have this would be the perfect time to practice your skills. If not, why not start now? Who says you have to limit yourself to just one word? If there are several words that you want to embody in the coming year put them all on paper. Write them on an index card or sticky note or make word cloud art out of them. Do anything to make your word or words aesthetically pleasing and you’ll be more likely to follow it.

4) Let the word pick you

This is what happened to me! Over the summer I was filled with this mysterious feeling. I was inspired and motivated. One day at the gym it just came to me. I was on the treadmill and out of nowhere I got this word just stuck in my head. Power. It seemed so foreign to me because I’ve never felt particularly powerful, but part of this idea is to challenge myself and grow throughout the year. So if you’re feeling something you’ve never felt try to identify it and maybe make that your word of the year.

Looking back on 2020

But how can we look back if it hasn’t even started yet? Imagine with me for a moment. It’s December 31, 2020. You are spending the close of the year thinking about everything that has happened in the last 12 months. Envision what you want your life to look like at that point (within reason, whatever that looks like for you). Now consider what would have to happen to get you to that place. What steps would you have to take? What goals would you have to meet? What qualities do you have to possess? Write those down and pick one or several of those words, think about what really feels right. And there you have it!

If you’re still stuck

What happens if you just can’t get inspired? If you don’t like anything you come up with there are loads of word clouds out there that were created to inspire people to help them choose a word of the year. Just do a quick search about finding a word of the year and some sites even have quizzes you can take that can lead you in the right direction. And ask the people around you what words they are choosing, maybe you can piggy back off of them.

Whatever word you choose, remember to always keep it in mind and let it guide you to all the success you deserve this year!

My signature that says "XOXO Court"

I am a twenty-something college student studying English creative writing and journalism, just trying to figure out life one cake and mistake at a time all while doing what I love - writing!

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