Words have power. They can change who you are, for the better or for the worse. If you want to improve your life, the right word can help make it happen. Trust me, I’ve been doing it for years. Six years ago, I started making one word a year my focus word, internalizing it and bringing it forward with my actions and behaviors. The result have been outstanding. It’s been one of those game changer exponential impact things that has changed every part of my life. It’s provided momentum, clarity and focus in my heart and mind.
It can do the same for you. Below, I’m going to give you a few examples of my focus words for the past four years. You don’t have to use the same ones. In fact, it’s better if you come up with the words on your own. Make them yours. Make them something you can grab onto and live by.
My Word of the Year
In 2013, my word of the year was Awareness. I changed this to Intentional the next year, then focus the following year. This year my word is reflection.
Choosing your word of the year isn’t difficult. However, you need to think about how that word is going to impact your life. Awareness was a word that helped me be more conscious of day-to-day actions and life. Intentional helped me pay attention to what I was doing all of the time. Using this word, I intentionally spent less time on social media and more time with my family and doing more productive activities. Focus helped as well, making it possible for me to move forward in my life without giving in to distractions.
With half of this year done, I’ve found that reflection has been a very powerful focus word. I’m going to talk about that in a later post.
Preparation for Finding Your Word of the Year
Before you find your word of the year, you need to be prepared for the task.
- Choose a quiet space to think. The environment should be conducive to brainstorming and reflection. If you have small kids running around or a loud neighbor, grab a headset and play some soft music.
- Writing is better than typing. Grab a piece of paper and a pen.
- Spend about 10 seconds just taking some deep breaths. Concentrate on your breathing during this time and relax. If it helps to have a candle or incense burning, go ahead and do. Don’t take more than 10 seconds, however. You don’t want to procrastinate during this time.
Finding Your Word of the Year
There are only a few steps to take to find your focus word of the year, and you only have to brainstorm for about a minute each. In fact, before you start, grab a timer or your smartphone and set the timer for one minute. A minute gives you plenty of time to do these steps, but prevents you from over-analyzing the questions or thinking too much.
During the minute, answer these questions:
What do you want less of?
What words do you want less of?
If you think of something immediately, great, but don’t stop brainstorming. Keep going until the end of the minute.
In step two, you must determine which of the words in step one represent your strength and your gifts. For some people this will be difficult, and that’s okay. Just keep going. No one has to see this. This is just for you. Forget being humble for a moment and just brag about yourself.
What is your superpower? Set the timer for one minute and write everything down on paper.
Start the timer again, grab your pen, and answer this question:
What do you want more of?
If there was one word that could symbolize how you want to make your life better, what would it be?
Step four involves the first three steps. During the minute you’ve set on your timer, go through the answers you’ve given. What words pop out at you? Which ones do you think would make the biggest impact on your life? Brainstorm this and write the words you’ve chosen down. Then, take a look at the words. Take another deep breath, then highlight the three most important ones to you, the ones that really stand out.
One more minute and you’ll have your word of the year. Set your timer, take a deep breath, then look at the three words you have chosen. Now, brainstorm and determine which of the three words means the most to you. Which really pops out at you? Once you find it, then you have your focus word of the year.
Using Your Word of the Year
So now that you have your word, how can you go about using it? How can you internalize it and really make it a part of your conscious and subconscious mind? Here are a few steps that will help:
- Keep it visible. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. Keep a notepad by your bed and write it down a few times each morning when you wake up.
- Write it down at night too, once before you go to bed. This is a powerful time to focus on your word, as it’s scientifically proven that your subconscious and conscious mind interact and engage in your activities throughout the day. Writing it down before bed keeps your mind focused while you sleep.
- Write it down in places around your house or at work. If you write it on a sticky note, you can place it almost anywhere- the side of your coffee creamer in the fridge, the top corner of your laptop at work or even your bathroom mirror.
- Repeat it over and over again while exercising or meditating.
- Say the word as a mantra while you are waking up for the day or going to sleep at night.
Changing your life is possible- with the right words. Choose your word of the year by following these steps. Don’t keep this a secret either. Share this post and video with your friends and family so they can find their word of the year as well.
Thank you for your Vertical Lesson Video! My word for this year is “Appreciation.” I appreciate receiving your video and this will remind me this year to focus more on appreciating people around me, appreciating my family, my job, my friends and just appreciating life itself.
Thank you Manley!
Hi Sarah! That is a great word of the year! Love it! Appreciation and gratitude have become a big part of my daily routines for the last 3 years. Have you heard of the 5 Minute Journal or the Best Self Journals? Both incorporate gratitude into the daily ritual and reflection. I’ve used the written and app version of the 5 Minute Journal, and I am currently getting tremendous results with the Best Self journal.
The Five Minute Journal: https://www.intelligentchange.com/products/the-five-minute-journal
The Best Self Journal: https://bestself.co
Manley, thank you for this video! I’ve enjoyed your in person presentations in Washington DC and Maryland. Appreciate this video and will share at work. We are in a new beginning as we embark on a new program for our team. Thank you again!
I need two words: persistent and present. I need each one to reinforce the other. And both are necessary for And I do the 5 Minute Journal Process morning and night. I do the usual journaling, too, but the 5-Minute process helps me to consistently prepare for the day and also to reflect on the day. And thank you for recommending Michael A. Singer. I’ll need to get “belayed” for reading! 😉
Persistent and Present – love it Genie! Those are GREAT words to focus on!
Thanks for your support and kind words, and wishing you Momentum and many summits with your new team endeavor.
The word of the year for a team can be very helpful too. Thanks for sharing with your colleagues!
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