What is it about the New Year that compels so many of us to craft resolutions, make plans to transform our lives. Yet research shows that resolutions often don’t last.

More and more, people have been turning to the concept of choosing one word for the year. A guiding word that can serve as a beacon for the months to come.

Way back in 2011, my life was about to radically change as my husband and I had sold our business and I was literally stepping into the unknown, a truly blank canvas that was both exhilarating and terrifying.

In my quest to find ways to navigate this new terrain, I stumbled across Ali Edwards’ One Little Word Program. A blogging and scrapbooking teacher, Ali had devised a simple way to create focus and fun through creativity for 12 months. Each month she offered prompts for journalling and creativity to explore your chosen word, with a view to keeping it in focus over the year. It wasn’t time consuming but it was fun.

The very first word that I chose for 2011 was “play”. After slogging away in our business for the last 15 years, giving it our love and tears, I was aching to have fun again. Connecting with Ali’s monthly suggestions saw me find ways to weave playfulness into my new life.

Breathing meaning into your word

Since then, I have chosen a word every year and rather than do a monthly dive into my word, I have created a Pinterest board to inspire and enthuse, guide and inform my word. Some years, I have chosen my word and then let it set and forget, other years I have done a periodic check-in to see what is happening in my life around my word.

Over the years, my words have included embrace, emerge, shine, light, create, clearing, success, expression, flourish, nourish, and resilience.

But this year, I have decided to create monthly prompts for myself to stay connected to my word. It’s not necessary but I would like to experiment with staying more connected with my word in 2024.

This year My Word is “Space”. Initially inspired by the need to declutter my home of 30 years but also to invigorate parts of my life that I want to explore: my creative space, negative space in photography, open space and nature connection, to name a few.

For many you, this may be a very familiar experience, perhaps like me you too have been creating your own word for the year. For others it may be a new idea.

So here are some ideas to help you consider and choose your word for 2024.

Choosing Your Word

Here are some questions to help you reflect and consider your word for 2024

  1. What is calling you? Like me, have you been aching to do something that is a challenge or a change. Or perhaps you have unfinished business from 2023.
  2. What are you dreaming of? If there were no limits, what would you do?
  3. What energy or emotion do you want to embody in 2024? Are you seeking an action word, that propels you forward in the external world or a passive word that allows you to deepen your inner connection.
  4. What do you want more of? Are you feeling a lack in your life? Or are you on a quest for change?
  5. What do you want less of? What do wish to let go and forgive?
  6. What is holding you back? What is getting in the way of you living a full life?

Some possible words to consider

Adventure, Emerge, Embrace, Heal, Reflection, Create, Space, Believe, Magic, Balance, Faith, Grace, Challenge, Nourish, Nurture, Explore, Recover, Thrive, Stay, Shine, Light, Celebrate, Manifest, Abundance, Trust, Vision, Connection, Pause, Imperfect, Intention, Conquer, Joy, Simplicity, Passion, Mindful, Surrender, Leap, Commitment, Brave, Begin, Resolve, Play, Gratitude, Freedom, Fly, Savour, Remember, Cherish, Present, Healthy, Colour, Resilience, Learning.

A process for Choosing Your Word

If one word is constantly showing up for you in this journalling process, it is likely you have found your word. But if you are still unsure and it can feel hard to choose when you first do this process, I suggest these steps.

  1. Write down up to 10 possible words. Look at the list above as well as your journalling to the questions.
  2. Write each word on a card.
  3. Then contemplate each word and allow them to sit with you.
  4. Connect with your body and feel the energy of the word.
  5. If the word feels strong allow it stay facing up. If it is not strong turn it over.
  6. With the remaining words, consider the emotions come up for you when you tune into each word.
  7. Keep going through the process until you are left with three words.
  8. Choose the main word and, if you wish, keep the others as supporting words.

Making meaning of your word.

  1. Look up the definition of your word(s) in the dictionary
  2. Consider all the ways the word may impact your life (health, finance, relationships, spirituality, career, home, social life, hobbies, travel) I like to create a mind map of possibility, without judgement, just as an exploration.
  3. Create a Pinterest board of quotes, images, inspiration about your word.
  4. Write your Word on a sheet of art paper and decorate it – paint, collage, words and images.
  5. Take a photo and save it as a screen saver for your phone or computer.

Each month, I will suggest a prompt, a kind of check-in for you to see how the word in showing up in your life. May your word becomes a steady companion, guiding light as you travel through the twists and turns with purpose and intention.

Whether it’s resilience, gratitude, or balance, the power of a single word has the potential to transform your life in profound ways. So, as you step into the new year, consider the impact of choosing a word that resonates with your aspirations and watch as it weaves its way into the fabric of your daily life, inspiring positive change and personal growth.

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