As the New Year approaches, it’s time to reflect on the past year, celebrate achievements and give thought to the year ahead. It is the time of the year when many people think about setting New Year resolutions which they quickly dismiss a few days or weeks later. Dismissed as little forethought went into it. Rather than setting resolutions, why not choose one focus word for the year. Choosing just ONE word can help you determine your priorities for the year and provide you a filter into the actions you take throughout the year.
I believe in setting goals. In fact, I like to set goals in 8 areas of my life. However, I have also learnt about the power of having ONE FOCUS WORD. I attended a goal-setting workshop where a coach said one word is all it takes to help you focus on your goals. The coach explained how to choose a word for the year, breaking it down into a few simple steps.
- Use your word
Why choose one focus word for the year?
It was during a goal-setting workshop at Kikki K that I first heard about having a focus word for the year. As a group, we were individually choosing personal core values. About five core values each. I remember choosing family, freedom, community, balance and achievement. There were many values to choose from, and making a quick choice was not wise. It is best to choose your words and really think about them and what they mean to you.
You have multiple personal values. One of your core values will become your main focus word, Your power word for the year.
The power of choosing one focus word is to use the word as a lens. A word that guides you in your actions. A word that keeps you true to your overarching core value.
The benefits of just one word.
When you have one focus word you obtain clarity in decision-making. You grow personally through the actions you take by having one focus.
There are multiple differences between setting New Year resolutions vs goals especially if using a one-word focus.
- One word helps with a vision, a direction. In contrast, New Year’s resolutions are more of a promise to yourself to change something.
- A resolution looks a the negative aspect. One word provides a lens through which to visualize the future through. It is a positive action.
- Your one focus word is the word you pass your intended actions through to decide if the action is moving your away or towards your goals.
How to choose your one word for the year.
The first step in choosing your main focus word is to identify the person you would like to become. The best way to do that is to reflect on the past year.
Reflection: Reflect on the past year.
The first step is to reflect on the past year. Reflect on your achievements, what worked, and what didn’t work. Think about your goals, what you achieved, what you are still striving for and what you feel you no longer align with. As we get older, our values may change, and as we grow through personal growth, our goals and values may change too.
Reflect on what you would like to achieve this coming year in different areas of your life. Use the Wheel of Life to guide you through the different areas of your life.
Step 1 – Reflection
- How would you describe your past year?
- What are you proud of?
- If one word would describe the highlights of your year, what would it be?
- What sort of changes are you looking to make in your life throughout 2023?
- Write down a few words to summarise your year and the changes you wish to make in 2023.
Writing: Write down your goals,
Write a list of the goals you would like to achieve in 2023 in different areas of your life.
Next, review your list and look for a common theme.
Note down a few words that could relate to the goals you wish to achieve. Refer to the 40 words of the year list to help you work out interrelated words and guidance on choosing your word of the year.
Step 2 – Writing
- What are the characteristics of the person you wish to become?
- To level up, what qualities does the person you need to become have?
- Write down some of those qualities.
Highlight the core values in your lists and choose one word for your year.
Visualisation: Visualise the word.
Once you have a list of words, narrow down the list.
Step 3 – Visualisation
To help you narrow down the list, visualise the word in relation to your goals in all areas of your life.
Example: If your word is ‘Healthy’ – visualize how healthy relates to;
Wellbeing, mind and body
Family and home
Spiritual and Ethical
At first, it may seem strange to connect your one word to the different spheres of your life, but with practice, you will see how the word connects and can be a focus word of the year. Below is how ‘healthy’ connected for me. Try your word to see how it connects with you.
Goal: To love myself and have ongoing healthy relationships with self, family and friends.
Wellbeing, mind and body;
Goal: To create healthy habits, including eating more vegetarian meals for healthy eating. Practice mindfulness daily and attend aerobatics regularly for a healthy mind and body.
Goal: To create healthy spaces for mindfulness and meditation. Practice mindfulness, visualization and meditation daily.
Family and home;
Goal: To give thanks daily to my wonderful family and the home we have created.
Goal: To finish my studies and work in a job I love in a healthy environment.
Goal: To pay off my debt by the year’s end. Paying off debt helps with stress and living, thus leading to a healthy life.
Goal: To bring positivity to people in the community through kindness. Creating healthy connections.
Tip: If a balanced life is what you’re after, choose a word that could apply to all areas of your life.
Keep your one word in focus.
Throughout 2023 keep your one word in mind. It is important to see it and use your one word daily.
Step 4 – Use your word daily.
Write your one word down where you see it every day and as you take action towards your goals, relate the actions you take to the word.
Think, does this one action bring me closer to my goals and am I in integrity with my core values? How do I feel when this action is seen through the lens of my power word?
Ideas on how to use your power word.
- Create a vision board and display your chosen word on your Vision board.
- Write your word of the year in your diary.
- Write about your word and how it relates to your goals in your journal.
- Make notes with your chosen word that remind you to take action towards your goals.
- Write affirmations with your goals and chosen word. A Little Spark of Joy shares 30 Manifestation mantras to help you manifest your dreams.
- Visualise your word in relation to your daily goals.
The more you see and use your word, the more you bring into your awareness the importance of the word and your goals. Just the ONE word you choose for the year can help you take action towards your goals.
My focus word is a lens that helps guide my actions, Your focus word is a lens which helps guide your actions, the actions that can move you closer to your goals.
How to focus on your goals using your one word.
Every goal is achieved by taking daily steps towards it. This requires creating new positive habits, that help lead you towards your goal. As you go about your day, think about your chosen word.
If, for example, your goal is to lose weight and you go out for lunch with friends. As you look at the menu to choose what to eat, think about your word and your choice. Does it lead you closer or further away from your goal?
If your goal is to work from home, though you do not make time to take action on your home business. Think about how this brings you closer or further away from your goal. What steps do you need to take to achieve your goal? Is you are taking action with your focus word in mind, is it helping you make wise decisions that empower you to achieve your goals?
The core values list can help you with choosing your word for the year. Get the Core Values workbook below.
My One Word for the New Year.
In 2019 some words on reflection for me are consistent, reliable, and supportive. The changes I was looking at in 2020 are healthy changes.
For 2020 my one word was health. Health is a word I can apply to many areas of my life. In my article on work life balance, I talk about the wheel of life and balancing different spheres of life.
Healthy lifestyle, healthy finance, healthy relationships, healthy mind.
Word of the year for 2020
2020 One Word: Healthy
What healthy means to me. Healthy means living each day in gratitude, being aware of the choices I make, and ensuring they lead to a healthier lifestyle. I want to strengthen and create healthy connections with family, friends and people who inspire me and who I may inspire. Healthy means creating a healthy, meaningful abundant lifestyle.
Word of the year for 2021
2021 One Word: Action
What action means to me. Action means taking meaningful action towards my goals and my ideal life. It is asking myself, ‘What can I do today to feel amazing and bring me closer to my goals?‘, or What can I do today to that helps me move to the tomorrow I envision.’ The only way to create the life I imagine is to take action while enjoying life.
Word of the year for 2022
2022 One Word: Reconnect
Why I choose reconnect: The world has had a few chaotic years, and I like possibly you and many other people, have felt disconnected in some way or another. Disconnected from family, friends, goals, and self, even disconnected from our work colleagues, systems and processes as working from home became the norm.
What reconnects means to me. Reconnect means reconnecting with myself, my family, and my friends. It is reconnecting to my goals and the goals of my family, friends, and community. It is living life now, living in the present. Reconnect is connecting through friendships, hobbies, and interests. The word reconnect links to my interest and future studies in reducing social isolation.
Word of the year for 2023.
2023 One Word for the year: Growth
Why I chose growth: I’ve chosen GROWTH as my word of the year for 2023. There have been many lessons over the years each guiding and enabling growth. Growth to me is about awareness and understanding of myself and my surroundings which nurtures growth. I feel 2023 is a year of growth in all areas of life.
What GROWTH means to me. Growth means innovation, learning and developing oneself. Growth acknowledges both acquired skills and knowledge as well as the learning required to step out of the comfort zone and find a way through the challenges. I know there will be plenty of growth in 2023.
Choosing one focus word for the Year can really help you clarify your core values and help you with achieving your goals.
Your turn now. Choose your one word for the New Year.
When you have your One Word for 2023. Decide what it means to you. Share in the comments below.