How to Pick a Meaningful Word for the Rest of the Year
In my last episode, I talked about what you can do to restart the year off right. Today I want to talk about how to pick a meaningful word for the rest of the year.
You probably already picked a word for the year. However, you might want to revisit that word and make sure it's still serving you in the current environment. Maybe you haven't picked a word yet. I'll share my process for picking a word. Having a word of the year is like a rallying cry because it's something that will help rally you and motivate you to do the things that you need to do.
The process for picking a word of the year
Picking a word of the year is a process. The process is:
- Review your last season. As some questions:
- What are some characteristics that I exhibited or wasn't thrilled with?
- What are some characteristics that I wish I had exhibited more of?
- If you picked a word last year, make sure to review it.
- Reevaluate your word and see if it serves you well.
I was very reactive in 2019, and I became extremely reactive during the pandemic. I felt like I had lost a lot of control. You react to the things that are coming at you instead of being proactive. You wish you had more control, especially in all aspects of your business.
As a businesswoman, you feel you have no control because everything is being pushed at you. Homeschooling, business closures, new stay-at-home order, grocery stores closing earlier… many things are being pushed at you.
Why you should pick a meaningful word for the year
The Northeast is much more crazy and hectic than the Midwest or the South. One of the reasons is because everything closes really early here. There aren’t many 24-hour Walmarts in New England. Stores close at nine and you have less time to get things done. You're running around like crazy people because the stores are open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, but you have to be at work at 8:00 AM. You get out of work, and by the time you pick up your kids, it's 6:00 PM. You don't have a lot of time.
And now with the pandemic, restaurants have to close at eight. Restaurants and grocery stores are closing at eight, which means everything becomes more hectic.
You’ve got 24 hours in a day, and in those 24 hours, you need to homeschool your kid. You need to work, go grocery shopping, or have groceries ordered, which in itself has its own difficulty. Trying to hunt down the supplies that you need, trying to do all the things, everything just takes longer. And it just feels like everything is compressed in.
I want you to think about how you responded and how you reacted. What do you wish there was more of in that space instead?
For me, I don't want to be reactive. I want to be proactive. I want to take control of my schedule. So I thought about changing my word to “Control”, but I didn't like the connotation. Originally when I set my word of the year back in December, my word was “intentional.” I wanted to be more intentional. But, I felt I needed something stronger than that, but not as strong as “control.”
My word of the year
My word became “command.” I want to take command of my schedule. I want to take command of my life. I want to take command of my self-care. “Command” really seemed much more appropriate for me.
That's my word. I've been using this word since February. When my alarm goes off in the morning, it says “command.” It’s powerful. When I go to a new word for 2021, I think my alarm is still going to say “command” because there's something about seeing that when my alarm goes off, I see “command” and I get up, and I get out of bed. It’s a reminder… take command of your day. Are you going to sit here in bed or are you going to take command of your day?
Why picking a meaningful word of the year is helpful
Your word of the year can be really helpful when you feel like you’re about to go back into that rut of letting things happen to you… like over-checking your email and responding to what other people need before doing what you know you need to do. Your word helps a lot.
Pick a word that will help you become the person that you want to be. That's really what you're looking for in your word for the rest of the year. If you haven't done this little exercise, I really encourage you to do it.
How to pick a meaningful word for the rest of the year
Review last year, or review this year so far. When you do that review, think about things that bothered you in that time period. For me, I was really reactive and I didn't want to be reactive. I wanted to be proactive.
Ask yourself which characteristics you wish you exhibited more of. That's probably where you're going to find your word. It really helps to write it all down. As you write things down, you're going to find that something is going to jump out at you.
You can pick a word and live with it for a little bit to see if it is serving you the way you want it to, or if it needs a little bit more oomph. Thesauruses are really good to help you find the right word if it doesn't feel like your word is really doing it for you.
That's how “intentional” was for me. It wasn’t quite right. “Intentional” for me meant that I was going to be more intentional. So I would think more about taking that walk. I would be more intentional about my schedule.
“Command” was a little bit more for me. It was stronger, and it applied to more buckets. I'm going to take command of my health. I'm going to take command of my self-care. I’m going to take command of my schedule. I'm going to take command of my email. I'm even going to take command of getting out of bed in the morning. I think it was just much more appropriate for me to use that word. “Command” is my word of 2020. I think it has served me fairly well.
How to use your word of the year
Once you set your word, you want to make sure that you can see it all over. My word is on my alarm when I wake up in the morning. You might want to have a couple of alarms during the day that goes off, just to remind yourself to take a look at it and remind yourself to refocus on it. It's like when you set goals. If you set goals and you put them in a drawer and you never look at them again, they're not going to be helpful.
Whatever your word is, you need to have it in important places so you can see it often. Write it down on a stick note or several and put one in your office, one on your computer, one on your bathroom mirror. Put it in where you feel it is going to help you be the person you want to be, where it's going to help remind you that this is a recentering word for you.
I hope that that's helpful. I'd love to know what your word is. You can leave it in the comments below, or share it with us on social media.