3 Questions to Discover your Word of the Year

Do you have a word or theme for 2016?  For the past few years, picking a word as your guiding light for then year has been all the rage online, so I’m sure this isn’t a new idea for most of you.

As a goal setter and someone that loves to look inward as a means to challenge and inspire myself, I LOVE the idea of having a word to represent my year.

It gives me the chance to really envision my year and helps me stay the course when facing challenges (both externally and internally!) throughout the year.


Why Have a Word for the Year?

We are all on a life-long journey.  While the journey of life is ultimately the same for everyone (birth, childhood, early adulthood, adulthood, old age, death), how we design our journey and live our journey is unique to each person. 

We are also at different places in our journey.  Some people are in challenging, painful, growing stages.  While, others are coasting along in a relatively stable, happy, supportive place.  But, just like any road you may drive down on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, it twists and turns and inevitably you hit a pothole here and there.  Our lives are constantly changing and we never stay in the same place (nor should we!).

Wherever you are right now…you’re in the right place for you.  Don’t fight it, but learn from it and get as much out of it as you can!

How does all of this relate to a word for the year, you might be asking?

Well…it helps you evaluate where you are right now, where you want to be by the end of this year, and how you’re going to get there.  Your word will reflect the small part of your overall journey that will happen this year.  It helps give you focus.  When you hit that pothole, you can pull out your word and get right back on your path.  It doesn’t have to stop you.  Think of it as your AAA card, only instead of calling someone else for help, you’re calling on yourself.


My Word for 2016

Before we get into how you choose your own word, let me pause and tell you my word for this year and why I picked that specific word.  

I knew coming into 2016 that this would be a year of change for me (at least that’s the plan!).  For the most part, I’ll be laying the groundwork for all the changes I ultimately want to make, but this is the important part.  If I fail to do the upfront heavy lifting, nothing in my life will change.

As we all know, change can bring in a healthy dose of fear and fear seeks to protect us and can halt us in our steps.  I’m not planning to let that happen.  I know that in order to make the changes I need and want to make, I will need to face my fears, stand up to them, and walk right through them.  

          Related Topic:  Why Fear is a Good Thing!

As I face these challenges and new opportunities, I will need to be brave over and over again this year.

My word for 2016 is BRAVE.

I’ve picked words for years in the past, but never have I felt as much connection and ownership to one as I do with brave.  

I have it in me and I want to end 2016 shocked at what I accomplish since it will be above and beyond what I’ve ever considered possible for myself.  I’ve put a few things in place to make sure I hold true to my word and I don’t back down, but having my own word will be a big motivator for me.


Choosing Your Own Word for 2016

If you don’t already have your own word for 2016, don’t feel it’s too late because we’re a week into the year already.  It’s NEVER too late!

I’ve created a worksheet that you can use to come up with your own word and you can download that at the end of this post.  

Download these worksheets to discover your own Word of the Year!

Download these worksheets to discover your own Word of the Year!

But, let me walk you through the steps and explain a bit about what you need to consider in order to find the perfect word for you.

For some, your word may come to you naturally and if that’s the case, awesome!  Run with it and own it this year!

But, if you’re struggling to come up with a word that seems to fit, consider the following...

What do you want to accomplish this year? 

First, consider what it is that you want to achieve this year.   Look ahead to the end of this year and what will that look like?  

Will you have a new job that makes you happier?  Will you be in a new relationship?  Maybe you’ll be newly divorced and ready to embark upon a new life?  

It doesn’t necessarily have to be major changes either.  Perhaps you don’t want to change jobs or leave a relationship. Perhaps you’re happy with where you are now, but you want to grow your spiritual side, or take time to travel this year, or save money, or whatever else would allow your current happiness to grow deeper.

Spending some time reflecting on this will allow you to consider what you need to do in order to make this happen.

What are some things you’d like to feel this year? 

This may seem to be a strange question, but think about it for a minute.  What are some things you’d like to feel this year?  

Perhaps you’d like to feel a sense of peace around your finances and not feel tense when your bills roll in.  Perhaps you’d like to feel your heart skip a beat when someone special tells you they love you for the first time.  Perhaps you’d like to feel your senses come alive when you jump out of a plane after getting the nerve to finally go sky diving.

Don’t think about things or activities or people when considering this…really think about all the various feelings you’d like to experience this year.

What do you need to do to get there? 

Based on your answers from both of these questions, what are some things you need to do to get there and make these happen this year?  

Maybe you need to be curious, or playful, or focused, or brave, or courageous, or steady.  Maybe you see a trend in needing to find more pleasure in your life, or serenity, or peace.  Perhaps you need to challenge yourself, or practice more self-love, or just slow down.

Your word could take on many forms.  Brainstorm and toss a lot out there and then let it sit for a day or two.  Try a few on for size and see how it feels.  When you find the right one, you’ll know it.  

You may need two words (“peace” is my secondary word for this year).  Or, perhaps midway through the year, you may find you need to change your word since your circumstances have changed or you’ve made big things happen.  That’s fine!  There’s no right or wrong here…whatever you choose is right for you.

What do I do with my Word?

Now that you have your word, you might be wondering what to do with it?  Other than owning it, living it, and embracing it, you may not need to do anything else with it.

But, a lot of folks, myself included, like to see their word.  I created a vision board based on my word and extended it out to include five ways of being (i.e. ways that I can live to make sure my word shows up in my life).

My vision board for 2016!

My vision board for 2016!

Not only will I print and frame my vision board, I created a smaller version for my phone’s screensaver so I always see it...every single day.

You can write it on a sticky note and put it on your mirror so you see it every morning and night.  You could create an art print with your word and put it on your wall.

Many retailers online sell word art jewelry or you could have it engraved.  Etsy is a wonderful source for those types of products.  

What you do with your word is entirely up to you.  Maybe you keep it private where no one but you sees it, or maybe you shout out and make it very visible so you and everyone else you know is aware.

Again, there is no right or wrong here.  The only right thing is to do what feels right to you.

The main thing is to live it and use it throughout the year!   Use it when you’re scared, not sure of your next step, confused, frustrated, etc.  Think of your word and how you would act to get where you want to go. 

Your word is your guiding light, so let it shine out from you in everything you do this year and I promise you’ll get where you want to go and where you’re supposed to be on your journey.



Before you go, be sure to download the worksheets so you can discover your own Word of the Year!

What is your word for 2016? Why is this your guiding light for the year? I’d love to hear, so tell me in the comments below!

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