Some of you know that I pick a word to guide and inspire me through the year, to serve as a focus or intention as I face each day. I started this practice back in 2005 or 2006 and have shared this story before. At that time, I was actively practicing yoga and in a class, Kathy, the owner of our studio, passed a basket with words. I chose one, openness, and I didn’t really like it. After all, the woman next to me picked love, which I thought was so much better. I asked to draw a new word and Kathy told me the word had picked me and I was to go with it. I put the paper with the word “Openness” on the computer where I could see it every day. I was not sure what would happen, but I just started seeing all kinds of things around me. I guess I was “open.”
Since that time I have had lots of different words to guide me through the year, including abundance, challenge, joy, consciousness and last year’s word “Trust.” I wanted to trust that I would make the right decisions, that I would not second-guess my decisions, that the chances I took would work out. And, yes, I could see a difference in how my choices played out.
For me, this was a better idea than making a New Year’s Resolution. So, why did I make the switch from resolutions to an intention? It came down to the kind of person I wanted to be, not all the stuff I wanted to do or have. Sure, I could have the same resolutions everyone else made: lose weight, get organized, exercise more, the list goes on. But that did not work because I was still “being” the same person. I had to make a choice to “be” a different person. That is what has made the difference, focusing on being.
So here we are, a week into 2015, and I have been thinking of my “word.” I started by listing a group of words I found appealing: bounty, mindfulness, connections, persistence, gratitude, harmony, possibilities, thrive, awareness, exploration. And, while they resonated, they did not resonate enough. Next, what I did was think about what it is I wanted in my life and my business, and the answer I kept coming back to was to fully experience what was in front of me, whether that was a person, an experience, an activity, a challenge. It was about being present; it was about being connected; it was about being committed; and it was much more. So I just ruminated on “fully experience.” Actually, you could say I slept on it. When I awoke on Monday morning, the word “engaged” just came to me. That was it. I wanted to be or feel engaged. I went to the dictionary and found the following definition: “to establish a meaningful contact or connection with.” Meaning and connection.
Have you picked a word to guide you for the year? If you have not, give it a chance. You just need to think of the quality or direction that you want your year to take. Need some help getting started. Think about what you might have resolved to do and ask yourself what quality is necessary for that? Or try a search online for character qualities and go from there. Lots of people immediately come up with a word that resonates with them. Others need a bit more time. My best advice is think of a word, mull it over, and if it keeps showing up, that’s the one.
Once you come up with your word or intention, what do you do with it? Here are three tips:
- Write it down where you can see it. I put mine on a sticky note and attach it to my computer where I’ll see it every day.
- Share it with someone else, especially if the person will hold you accountable. Over the years I have shared mine with some of my mastermind partners or family members, and we talked about why we chose the words we did.
- Do something that lets you take action on your intention.