What Did Your Word-of-the-Year Teach You?

Written by Christine Kane

Word of the Year - Path of happyThis is the time of year when I get emails and Facebook notes from people who downloaded my Word of the Year Discovery Tool last year at this time.  They’re writing to share the breakthroughs that happened to them as they let a single word “guide” them throughout the past 365 days.

This practice of choosing a word-of-the-year (rather than making resolutions) is something I wrote about in a blog post back in 2006. The post went mildly viral.  Since then, all kinds of articles have been written about it, jewelry artists create custom-made word jewelry for people who want to wear their word, and Facebook is alive and kicking with discussions about it.  (My Platinum mastermind has already started talking in our private forum about their word for next year.)

I now believe that choosing a word for the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our own upleveling. Our word calls us out, rather than driving us to work harder.

In the world of business ownership and entrepreneurship, the idea of intention all too often revolves around ego-driven achievement. So it goes like this:

If you have a goal, you name that goal. You go for that goal. You make it happen. You reach that goal. You get the reward. Then you make another goal.  You are almost always going for “more” or “better” or “faster.”

And yes, this is a completely valid way to do things.  And it works, too! Hell, it’s what makes many businesses successful!

However, the thing about goals and intentions when created from such a hardcore place of drive is that often, what we say we want is actually coming from a place of lack or shame or fear.  So, yes, we can make lots of stuff happen, but the true thing we desire – our own freedom – doesn’t ever happen.

Word of the Year TagsAnd this is what strikes me about these messages from people who chose a word based on my coaching in that little tool I created.  They are most excited about the strength and freedom that unfolded within.  Not just the results they created.  Almost always, they report that they had a little bit of resistance to their word at first. Or they were surprised at their word. Or they wanted a “cooler” word. Or a “bigger” word.  But the word they ended up choosing was the perfect word for their true upleveling.

When we step back and just allow, our word of the year seems to simply choose us.

This is not to say that you can’t go forth and achieve and get things done and be your big badass self.  (In fact, action is required!)  But it is to say that setting an intention is often much more fun when there’s mystery involved.  When you open up to a word that will truly guide you, you’re doing much more than playing some kitschy little new year’s game. You are letting your soul show you the way to your own wild open-hearted custom-made path of happy.

So, I’d rather hear from you than me on this topic.  If you’ve ever chosen a word of the year, what was your experience during that year? What happened? What didn’t happen? And most important, how did it open you up?  Share away and let’s inspire some peeps!

Oh, and if you want to grab my Word-Of-The-Year Discovery Tool, it’s here for the taking.

If you've ever believed it was impossible to be totally authentic AND make lots of money in your business - then you're not alone. Purposeful entrepreneurs want it REAL - and I promise to deliver! Get my FREE VIDEO, and I will walk you step-by-step through my own Uplevel Fast Track Formula for making money... on your own terms and in your own way. Enter your email and let's get started!

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{59 comments ... read them below or add one}

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{59 comments ... read them below or add one}

Bob Wingate December 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

Christine, you definitely have a gift for clarity and communication.
It just occurred to me- I’ve been saying that ‘I want this but I can’t afford it’ -at least not right now. I just realized that what I really cannot afford is myself.
I am not OPERATING as I should, and so I keep creating more barriers instead of bridges. Hope 2014 will see a change in that & more breakthroughs.
I definitely believe in purpose and I believe that I met you & came across your program for a reason. Thank you. Bob : )

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

What I love here, Bob, is your willingness to see the truth, and to be vulnerable about sharing it. So, my encouragement is to let go of “hope,” and step in to “know.” What will it look like if you could get out of your way? Is there a question you could ask anytime you THINK you might be making excuses so that you could slowly break that pattern?

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Jodi Fitzpatrick December 18, 2013 at 10:27 am

My 2013 word was “Focus.”

Started by hiring a coach. Ironically almost got the very Elaine Bailey above! But I was afraid to invest. I did get a lesser coach. I began to dread the calls and quit.

Still, “focus”, ( the F-word, as I began to call it), once invoked, would not quit. Synchronous events occured to bring me to my knees to realize the direction I had doggedly pursued for three years did not fit my nature. My body developed a nice fat injury so I had to stope Everything and pay attention. Other synchronous events occured to point me another way. “Focus” did indeed occur this year, just in an unforeseen way.

Have downloaded the Uplevel Academy application but have questions whether my new path and now-acknowledged introverted nature is a good fit for the program. I will email your staff. Meanwhile, waiting for Word 2014 to make its it’s way from The Mystery to me.

Thank you, Christine, for your “kitschy little New Year’s game”;-)

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Jodi –

Yes, it does sound like you got some lessons here. Here’s a question: Was “Focus” a SHOULD? or a “calling?” i ask because sometimes, instead of choosing a word to guide us, we subtly choose a weapon based on what we think we SHOULD do. I’m not saying that’s what you did here… but it’s a good question to ask yourself. The thing about being an entrepreneur is that we are (as Kathy Kolbe says) quickstarts. This means that focus may be a bit of a problem – because we are IDEA people, not great FOLLOW THROUGH people. :)

So, with all that said, take some compassionate time to sit and quietly ask what word would be for your highest good in 2014. :)

As for Uplevel Academy? We have LOTS of introverts. More than you can imagine. So, I would say to turn in the app and at least set up an appt. It would let you explore the process at least. (We do not pressure at all.) And then, again, check in with yourself and see if this feels like the highest and best path for your 2014! I’d love to support you in your growth!

[Reply]

Jodi Fitzpatrick Reply:

Hah! Nothing gets by you Christine!

“Focus” was a should word to beat myself with. The real word that I kept shutting down was “soft.” Whadda ya mean, Universe? How can I be successful with a word like “soft?”:-))))

My best most intuitive friend asked me a similar question at the time, but I successfully maintained my denial.:-)

And I think you got me on another one. I’m using “I’ve finally made peace with myself as an introvert, all that marketing and group stuff won’t work for me” as a “reason” or as you say, an excuse “in drag.” (Dog, I love that!).

Thank you for being YOU and Uplevel:-)))))

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Monique Lusse Reply:

Hey Jodi,

Wanted to reach out to you as one introvert to another. When I took the Myers-Briggs, I scored so far on the left there wasn’t but a couple of points left to go! And I identify as a “highly sensitive person” to boot!

Two years ago when I signed up for the first CK program I had the same thoughts, “all that marketing and group stuff won’t work for me.” I just wanna say that now, two years on (Uplevel Your Life, Uplevel Your Business and Uplevel Academy) it so does. I know my value and I own my worth. There is a way to be yourself AND to be of service. And I learned how in CK’s programs.

And I love that the word that’s coming to you is “soft.”

All the best,
Monique

[Reply]

Jodi Fitzpatrick Reply:

Monique,

I appreciate so much your sharing your experience and encouragement. This culture can be a challenging place for our types. Nice to know that the Uplevel programs are supportive of this kind of nature.

Thank you!

Jodi

Caroline Reply:

Wow, my word last year was “focus” too, and it didn’t resonate nearly as much as the year before when I was “blossom.” I really did feel like I BECAME Blossom. In fact, some of my friends that I shared that with still call me that. I think focus was too much like work and less like creative energy. The word that keeps coming to me this year is “well.”
And I love the word “soft!”

Anne December 18, 2013 at 10:38 am

Hi Christine,
My word for 2013 was ‘health’.
Although I didn’t pay much attention to the intention in the first few months of the year, leaving my very demanding job in February was the first step this year to better physical and mental health. I scheduled ankle reconstruction surgery that I had been putting off for years (knowing it would take a year to recover). We started eating healthier and I lost 25lbs before the surgery in July. I am now well on my way to having a more fully-functional ankle and we are continuing to find it relatively straightforward to eat healthier. And in September, though this might not have seemed part of a plan for increased health, my partner was diagnosed with a brain tumor after she had a seizure while out walking the dog. However, it was quickly diagnosed, it was benign and totally removable, and literally less than a month after the seizure she was recovered enough from brain surgery to go back to work! Amazing.
While I’m not sure what I believe in terms of the universe aligning with personal intention, I do know that having the word ‘health’ in the back of my mind, allowed the year’s events to unfold in ways that supported that intention. Now, health will be a foundation on which other intentions can rest rather than a goal by itself.
Hmm….now what about NEXT year’s word?!

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Anne – Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. It sounds like not just the WORD, but the ENERGY of health was guiding you along.

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Sarah Schwab December 18, 2013 at 10:50 am

Christine, I love your Word-of-the-Year concept! I did it last year at this time, and my word for 2013 was “Courage.” It was so transformational for me. Every time I faced a difficult choice, or a scary opportunity, I thought to myself – this is my year of Courage – Let’s Do This! And I Did! By identifying the word, I feel like it actually gave me Courage, or made me more Courageous.

Now I need to spend some time thinking about my word for 2014!

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Awesome Sarah! That’s exactly how it works. It’s like this quiet lighthouse in the background guiding you along.

And don’t THINK about your 2014 word. Just allow it. Let your mind get floaty and see what comes. Mine tends to come in unlikely moments – like during a yoga class or something.

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Wendy December 18, 2013 at 10:58 am

My 2013 word is “SERVE”. I changed my mindset about how I should build my business and how to approach my life and decided to make it all about others this year.

I created content and didn’t try to sell anything…
I went above and beyond for friends and family even when I didn’t want to…

I think I’ve had good results however I don’t believe I served myself well. I’ve got to do better at doing “me”.

In 2014 I’ll let the word “ACTION” drive me. I’m excited to see where it will take me!

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Wendy – Great observations around the concept of service. Always remember that you need to be full up in addition to giving to others. So, here’s a question… are you going to let ACTION “drive” you??? Or can it “guide” you? Or – better yet – “SERVE” you? :)

[Reply]

Alyson Stanfield December 18, 2013 at 11:15 am

My word for 2013 was “simplify” and it worked like a charm. Every time a team member came up with a complicated solution, I’d ask her to simplify. It drove me in my home and, mostly, my business systems.

I messed up at the end of the year when I created a complicated Sale online, but I learned not to do that again. Simple is always best.

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Alyson – Ooo. I love this. It’s so easy to get all caught up in complexity – especially with our offers. (Have you read or listened to the book Insanely Simple? HIGHLY recommend.)

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Susan December 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi Christine,

The word concept is so powerful. Last year I was in a space of reacting to the situations and people around me. Those were my first priority and as you can imagine I felt like things were spinning out of control. So my word for 2013 was simply “intention”. It’s been amazing. I turned down a wonderful job opportunity because the product space wasn’t where my heart was. Today I’m meeting a friend for coffee rather than scrambling to finish a project that was changed at the last minute. I did spend time last night doing my best to meet their requests, but it’s not worth it to me to sacrifice my relationships. It’s nice to have boundaries and live from a place of ‘this is important to me’.

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Susan – It sounds like you’re really living from a space of “what really matters.” That’s a great place to live from. (And you’ll notice that it all gets done much easier when you put it into priority like that, right?)

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Susan Reply:

Absolutely! Life is a whole lot easier and much more fun. Not only were my clients thrilled with the progress I made last night (they were literally bouncing with energy), it turns out my friend that I met with has a cousin who is working with a major player in the product space I want to go into. I’m so looking forward to tonight’s nightly ritual of documenting my gifts for the day…and it’s only 11:00 am!

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Anna December 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I learned a similar technique from a sufi teacher and have been practicing that for some years and love the results. The way we were taught you ‘harvest’ also in one word what it brougt you on the end of the set period (31 of december in this case) by asking yourself ‘what is new?’ And then let this question sink in, when you find your awnser it is always something unexpected and very joyfull! Also very powerfull to do with a friend. So thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us, I wish everybody lots of fun and inspiration.

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Erica Quam December 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm

interestingly, i chose the word “yoga” last year. i am a yoga teacher, i was preparing for assessment…AND i chose the word to bring more integration into my life instead of being spread out and wearing separate hats for the different areas in my life. i had left my job a little over two years ago and started my business and before that was grasping at anything that i could do to bring in income. now i have integrated my yoga philosophy with the programs that i’m creating and i am seeing overlap in all areas of my life. my yoga practice has deepened and instead of creating things for my business from a place of lack and fear in a frantic way, i am grounded, confident, and clear. i’ve used this tool since that first blog you put out in 2006. i used it with my team (when I coached swimming at Washington State University) for years and have sent many other coaches to your website to grab it tool! thank you for sharing this amazing resource!

[Reply]

Jack Kinley December 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

My word this year was “partner.” It had a lot of gravity at the beginning of the year, but took on a life all its own once I opened my mind to what it meant to truly partner with others to live a fuller happier life. Did it help me to create a 40%+ boost in gross revenues this year? You bet! Did it help me step out of my business to be there for my parents when my Dad had quadruple bypass during my busiest time of year? Indeed it did! Is this the reason I’m getting married in March, after thirteen years with my “partner?” Maybe it is.

This is such a great tool for re-aligning with what you want out of your life. I think it took me about thirty minutes to zero in on the word “partner” when I did this exercise last year. It may have taken me another hour to come clean with myself and fess up that I really did NEED to make that my word. Because, as you know, “I can do it all myself.”

It has been an amazing year. And while it doesn’t all boil down to choosing a “word” it does trace back to it and to allowing that word and that INTENTION to shape me and guide me to new possibilities! Thanks for so generously sharing this tool with us, Christine. Can’t wait to sit down and let the 2014 word come to me very soon! :)

[Reply]

Katherine Reply:

I love this! I had decided on Partner for 2014!

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Barbara FIsher December 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I have chosen a Word the past three years – 2011: Abundance; 2012: Courage; 2013: YES. Not sure what I will choose for 2014. 2013 was unfortunately filled with a lot of NO’s and not a lot of YES. Though I realize my word works from the inside out, it was a tough year. I was knocked down a lot, picked myself up and got on with it. I am determined to make 2014 better.

[Reply]

Wendy Pitts Reeves Reply:

Barbara- Sometimes when you say “Yes!” to the Universe it has a way of checking your commitment, kind of a “Are your SURE about this? Is it really what you want?” I call it the “breakdown before the breakthrough”, a crazy time where everything falls apart JUST when you finally figured out where you wanted to go. Hold steady. Keep saying Yes. Amazing things will happen. And may 2014 be a breakthrough kind of year for you!

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Maria December 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Thank you for the idea, Christine! The word TRUST worked for me in 2013. And it showed me in many ways that my interior design practice is all about …trust. I have to gain trust and to rely on people myself. I deal with very personal issues, those are impossible to discuss without a real big trust. You know, my best projects followed by great friendships happened this year due to the mutual trust between my clients and me. Moreover, the most painful self-discovery of the year gave me an intention to put more trust in my marriage. What a reward I got!
It didn’t take long to find the word for 2014. BALANCE. I need to replace building site with salsa class. I need to spend more time with my family than with tiles and wallpapers. I need more sleep instead of drawing. 2014, I’m coming!

By the way, what was your word, Christine? Just curious…

[Reply]

Anne December 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Ha! I have it!
I wasn’t even thinking about my next word of the year today (except to respond about last year’s word this morning), but while I was just organizing my travel receipts – a task I had been putting it off because, well, it’s a bit boring – it just came to me. I had put some music on and was chair dancing while I was doing my travel accounting (as you do). And it occurred to me that my word for 2014 is….FUN!
2013 has been a relatively ‘heavy’ year (see above comment!), and this coming year, while I create the next phase of my work-life, I can ENJOY IT, even if I am sorting travel receipts and preparing stuff for my tax guy! It’s totally right. FUN. I am now really looking forward to 2014 :-)

[Reply]

Julie Thompson December 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Thank you, Christine! I just love this whole concept, and have followed your lead in choosing a word for the year since 2009. Each year with practice, the concept, application and growth and INTENTION become stronger and more focused.

My word for 2013 was a big one – Transcend. This year ended up being all about tying up loose ends, letting go of ideas, activities, and other matters that were no longer a good fit. An interesting tactic I tried this year showed me just how powerful a compass and teacher one’s word can be. At the start of the year I journaled about the word, where I anticipated it might lead me, what the word seemed to mean to me at the time, and upcoming things on the calendar that seemed to apply or would be influenced by the word. In the summer, I revisited that journal entry and then wrote about what had transpired thus far. It was shocking to see where the word had led me, several things were far from being anticipated. I’m preparing to do a year’s end analysis and see how it all stacks up to the anticipation at the beginning of the year. Yes, serious geekery, but what it might reveal should be quite interesting.

Next year’s word found ME by this past October. It just screamed out that it is the word for 2014 – Adventure! Throughout the last quarter, opportunities for the coming year began popping up… art business opportunities that potentially will put me in Brazil, Scotland, and Hawaii in the coming year. Will I be able to act on all three? I surely hope so! C’mon, 2014, I can’t wait to get started! :D

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Pam Pappas December 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Hi Christine –

I love the way you put things. This year (2013) my word(s) have been “Letting Go.” They simply came to me when I got quiet and allowed them to. And this year I have lost 40 pounds (so far) plus a ton of pain. More weight loss is coming for 2014, and the new word will declare itself soon, I’m sure.

Thanks again for all you do!
Pam

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Katherine December 18, 2013 at 6:28 pm

My word was “create.” And it definitely was like a lighthouse for me. It helped me remember to consume less and create more – in my business, my personal life, art-wise, etc. I am ending the year with “proof” of what I did and was, and am very happy about it.

And for 2014 I’m choosing “partner” both the noun and the verb.

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Jeanne B December 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I don’t decide on a word, I let it pick me. When I first learned of this WOTY thing, in one of my typically OCD moods, I typed a list of a good 100+ words (or more–I never counted) as they came to me, then cut them up, folded them, and stuffed them in a baggie.

Every year at midnight New Year’s Eve, I center myself, give the bag a good shake, reach in, and pull out the word. (The ones chosen previously are retired.)

I know that on previous occasions, I pulled “balance”, “clarity” and “purge”, but I can’t find evidence of last year’s word. (It was busy. I was working two jobs. I may have forgotten!) Each time, the lessons came in unexpected ways.

I’ll be choosing a word from the baggie again this year… it should be interesting.

[Reply]

Kathy Troidle Jackson December 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Christine – I have been doing the Word of the Year since the beginning with you and so many unbelievable things have been realized. I am here to tell you all, it works! Some of my previous words have been Abundance, Success, Celebrate, Rejoice – and all of these continue to manifest in my world each year.

This past year I chose Ease and Flow and boy did it. We chose these words with our neighbors on New Years Eve as we looked out at some major changes coming our way.

David left one job to join a friend in his consulting firm at the start of the year and despite best intentions that went sour almost right from the beginning. It took a few months for the flow to push him out of there but he’s eased back into where he feels valued and respected and it is all flowing again literally and figuratively.

For me, incredible things flowed easily all year long – the biggest deal I ever was a part of happened in April after two long years of building it. It ended up bigger and easier than ever once the time was right and magic has been flowing since with that client. At another client, two huge long term signings just happened which will guarantee the money flow for 7 more years.

Committing to an apartment in Manhattan has helped the ease by reducing my daily commute from 4 hours on a train to 8 minutes on a ferry. The extra time gets me to bed early, an easier stress free morning, and ultimately more relaxed so I can bring it better every day with more positive energy flowing … which in turn has brought the money flowing. This year I moved apartments and have realized the dream – a high floor with an unobstructed view of the Hudson River, the Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty to the south and the Empire State Building to the East. The staff loves working here and it shows in the way they treat tenants who are happier as a result. People actually talk to each other in the elevator here, hold doors for people, are smiling and happy! The best part is it is 1000 less per month than my old apartment. Ease and flow every day!

Thank you Christine for helping me change my mindset from a dirge of unrealistic resolution setting that only made me feel guilty when i fell off the wagon into a positive word of the year that focused me on what I needed most helping me set the intent needed to manifest it in my life in ways I could never have imagined.

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Theresa Ceniccola December 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

This is one of my favorite lessons from you, Christine! And it’s hard to choose a fav because you teach me so much:-) But the Word of the Year is so amazingly powerful…and yet so simple. My word this year was UNITY. And it taught me to collaborate more with others both in my business and my personal life. It helped me keep my marriage a priority (Eccl. 4:9-12) and strengthened my faith. Other words for me have been BALANCE and SUPPORT. I’ve also chosen LIGHT before and that was an illuminating year in so many ways.

I have a question for you. Every year as I think about choosing a word for the new year, I’m excited about the possibilities but a little sad to ‘let go’ of my current word. I’m trying to look at it more like ‘building on’ the previous year’s word. But there’s something still holding me back a bit. Any suggestions for those of us who don’t feel quite finished with this year’s word? How do we embrace a new word without feeling like we have unfinished business with our current word? Thanks!

[Reply]

Kate Reply:

Theresa, I wrote my comment before reading that you’ve used LIGHT in a previous year.
There are so many words to choose, but as Christine says, let the word choose you and I did. Here’s to a wonderful, prosperous and productive 2014.

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Kate December 20, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Enjoying everyone’s comments, you’ve inspired me in choosing my 2014 WOTY. LIGHT. In 2014 I will feel LIGHT, travel LIGHT and I will be a LIGHT for others.

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Julie Thompson Reply:

Love that, Kate! So many implications!

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Val Johnson December 21, 2013 at 11:28 am

My word is Authentic 2014. I just want to be TRUE TO MYSELF and let God handle the consequences! Wow, I think that’s the first time I have ever written that or even thought that; I’d better write that down in my journal! I just want to be my genuine self 24/7 and sometimes I find myself becoming a “chameleon” of sorts to please those around me instead of the One Who created me in His image! I just “happened” upon your site when I searched for info on the phrase “people will treat you the way you allow them to”……glad I ran into you. Looking forward to reading more from you!

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Michelle Bailey December 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Christine,

Your message is right on time for me! I’ve been looking forward to my down time at the end of the year to prepare for and set my intention for 2014. In that process, I’ve been thinking about my word for 2014. The word for 2013 was “creating space”. This was a challenging year in many ways and at first I thought I didn’t succeed in aligning my life with these words. On further reflection, I realized that this wasn’t entirely true. The lesson: having space in my life is vital for maintaining balance regardless of what is happening in my external world. So, creating space for me extended to my physical environment, the things I have on “my plate”, and opening up my heart and making room in my inner life for great things to come my way. The word popping up for 2014 is simplify/simplicity. I’ve noticed some resistance coming up around this word which makes me think it’s the right choice! I’m looking forward to using the tool in this year’s planning process and I plan to share it with others.

With deep appreciation,
Michelle

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Wendy Pitts Reeves December 22, 2013 at 8:59 am

My Word of the Year for 2013 was “Deliberate”, a word that came to me after reading something you’d written Christine, last fall. I wanted to take purposeful and deliberate action on building my business and managing all that I’m doing.

And all year long I’ve had in my mind that I haven’t done such a great job of living that word. I’ve continued my business, but stopped blogging about mid-year in the midst of some exhaustion and overwhelm in the face of some big life changes. I knew that was a mistake, but haven’t been able to get myself to restart.

So much for “Deliberate”.

Then, while reading this conversation, something struck me. As part of dealing with my overwhelm, I downloaded a book on how to find and hire a VA. Then I listened to over 20 interviews with different VA’s (as part of that download), learning what works and doesn’t work, how different businesses and VA’s work together. Then I put out a very detailed request through the AssistU application process and got 16 VA responses back from potential partners. Then I spent an entire day evaluating those responses. Then I interviewed the top pics. Then I hired a wonderful VA who, I believe, is going to be (already is) perfect for helping me move out of overwhelm and into systems and processes.

I guess that IS Deliberate after all. Hah!!
Who knew? :)

Thanks, Christine!!!

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Mike December 25, 2013 at 12:21 am

I’ve been using this WOTY tool for the last couple of years and it’s been transformative, sometimes in subtle ways.

If you’ve never chosen one before, USE THE PDF! It’s in the process of answering Christine’s questions that my brain softens up and little cracks open that I hadn’t seen before. One of the most transformative questions for me is “In what ways do you already live/embody this word?” It’s been a shock for me to realize I’ve already been a LEADER or SELLING (two of my previous words). Making those words conscious choices helped me grow my edges out a little more to meet those words.

Those two previous words of mine came at good times but I found that I often petered out midway through the year, so I want to think of a system that will remind me of the word periodically — not nagging, just reminding.

I’m toying with COMMIT for 2014, because I do splatter my energy. Also, because my previous words scared me a little and the energy I was using to resist the word signaled to me that there was some untapped power hiding somewhere.

But COMMIT, which I think accurately reflects what I need to do in 2014, is too “worthy” of a word. There’s no emotional charge to it, and I want a word that will wake me up a little, remind me of what I want.

Back to the PDF!

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Great points here Mike! A little alarm went off in my head when you wrote “what I need to do in 2014.” That’s always a little bit of a “should.” Even if you do “commit” without splattering so much… is there something that feels more like a “becoming” for you, rather than a “here’s what I should be more of.” (does that make sense?)

so, for instance, perhaps this idea of commitment is more around simplifying or around being present to your life and to your intentions. I’d be curious to hear where you go with this! :)

[Reply]

Mike Reply:

Thank you, Christine — excellent point and thanks for catching that ‘should’ intention. I feel some sense of urgency in starting a sideline and making money, and the shoulds are no doubt coming from that place.

I like your emphasizing the “becoming” (or “flowering” or “emerging”) aspect, rather than my head-centered yell-at-the-flower-to-grow-faster aspect.

Actually, the following word has sort of bubbled up as I’ve daydreamed about this exercise; SHARE. There’s an active quality to it, but not a pushy quality.

Anyway — thanks for the advice! Much appreciated!

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Chelsia December 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm

As I sit here at my desk looking out the window, I’m thinking of all I didn’t do this 2013. In fact, I remember this time last year thinking of my word and fighting with it. This year is my year for growth. I need new things in my life and new people. 2014′s word is capable.

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Debbie D Reply:

Growth is a lovely word.

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Debbie D December 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

This will be my 3rd year having a Word of the Year. It would take to long to describe all the profund effects that have happened in my life since doing this. My first year the word was “Me” coming after a divorce. By the end of the year, I had reintroduced myself to Me, gotten to know myself and my clothes, home, work, etc were now a true reflection of me. Last year it was “Expand and Explore” which lead me to new adventures of learning for work, personal, spiritual and healthy basis. It also helped me create a personal environment of people I wanted to have in my life along with making hard decisons regarding longstanding relationships with a friend and a family that I needed to finally end. It also got me across the country celebrating a big birthday by myself in a place I’d never been before but having 7 days of wonder and fun.

This year is “New Beginnings” and I am looking forward to whatever things are brought my way for my Word never pans out the way I think it will when I choose it. Choosing a Word of the Year truly is a profund, gratifiying event with wonderful results and always a bit of adventure thrown in.

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Tracey December 29, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Hi, I’m new to this concept but I think it’s just what I need. I’ve spent a few years accumulating a lot of ‘stuff’ – always striving for the perfect wardrobe of clothes, skincare, makeup and I now realise it’s all a vanity project.

Yes, I want to look nice but it’s more about being comfortable and not standing out than about wanting to be a fashionista. Maybe my word should be ENOUGH.

I have enough and I am enough – without all the baubles and stuff.

I’ve worked hard over the last few months to pare down my clothes so that I have only things I love and flatter me – I have about 26 items now. (Just counting pants, dresses, skirts, tops and knitwear)

Less time obsessing over me and more time to just be … enough.

Does that sound ok?

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Tracey Reply:

There’s something limiting about the word ENOUGH. It’s been on my mind ever since I posted it here. It somehow feels wrong – as if to say ‘enough’ is about not wanting to aspire or achieve.

I want to rethink my word of the year – before the New Year!

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Christine Kane Reply:

Hey Tracey –

Whenever I feel that odd sense of “not quite right,” it’s always because something hasn’t yet locked in. So, for instance… I totally get what you mean by “enough” and even why it would be a great word.

AND, that little nudge that you are feeling tells me that you probably have another layer to go. “Enough” may be something that is implied in this new word – but you obviously still want to embody a sense of excitement and growth while being grateful for what you have.

And I have known people who chose “enough” as their word simply because they loved it for the self-acceptance it brought into their awareness.

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Tracey Reply:

Absolutely! I’m so grateful that you understand my dilemma.

I’m going to muse over a word that implies I am grateful for what I have and who I am but that enables me to move forward and be the best I can be. I’m 50 this year, so much to be grateful for, so much to look forward to. It’s a time of change and wanting more.

Tracey December 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I choose ENJOY. :)

To enjoy life, my family, to be present, to enjoy a glass or two of wine rather than endure more, enjoy looking after myself, enjoy what life has to offer. Enjoy the moment and enjoy all that I have. It’s enough!

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Christine Kane Reply:

Rock on Tracey!!!

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Barb December 30, 2013 at 9:46 pm

My words for 2013 were Grace and Ease! Loved them both and they served me very well as I made a major life change… made a decision to leave my job and start my own business, which I did over a 4 month time period. New business has been up and running well since September with opportunities flowing to me that I hadn’t even anticipated. I have truly allowed myself to answer the call, to trust the process, and to allow life to unfold for me while I’ve taken steps to help it along! I am now doing work that truly lights me up from the inside out and loving every minute of it!

Grace and ease also have helped me through some personally challenging times this past year. Thank you for inspiring me to choose just the right words for the year! Not sure I want to give them up, but I’m going to go through discovery again to see where I am for 2014!

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Susan December 31, 2013 at 11:32 am

I chose the word ME! last year. I am a caregiver in both my work and personal life and I felt strongly that it was time to turn that caregiving towards myself. I made some headway making plans and choices in line with ME!, but I didn’t always give it my full attention and still slipped into the caring for others first mode too often. In September my word of the year jumped up and smacked me – I got sick. Scary sick. And I had no choice but to focus on ME! Suddenly everything was automatically about what was best for me and my future. Fortunately all turned out well (I have a rare condition that can be managed if I continue to focus on ME!)
This year I chose WELLNESS, or rather it chose me. After last year, I’m giving it my full attention.

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Frauke Moebius January 2, 2014 at 8:23 am

Last year’s word was COURAGE, and it did help me step into power much more than I expected. It brought me to Atlanta and Gold. It was a scary words and yet one that filled my heart.

This year’s word came to me just before Christmas. It’s FUN. Because even though COURAGE brought me many new things, it also brought me struggle (culminating in breaking my collar bone in October). This year it is time to move into effortlessness – and what better way to do that than finding fun in everything do? FUN makes me smile and feel good. So this is it for 2014.

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Ingrid Flornoy January 2, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Hi Christine!
This is my first time reading your blog, and I feel that having a word of the year to concentrate on is good. Through the last part of 2013 I felt so angry, worn down, less energized with even the good things that I had going on in my life. It is a little hard to manifest a word that is positive to fit my life right now.
The best word that I can think of is “anger” not in a negative way but in a way that can teach me how to overcome, what things get me to that point and what value(s) it bring to my life. The bible says for us not to be hasty in our spirit to be angry, for anger rest in the bosom of fools (i admit i was a fool a whole lot at the end of last year). However, It doesn’t say not to be angry, or that people will never be angry; but it’s how we react or channel that anger is what is most important.
Anger is so powerful, I am choosing to look at it in it’s most teachable, vulnerable and valuable moments.

Thanks!
Ingrid

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