December is All About Words. What's Yours Gonna Be? - Christine Kane

If you’ve been reading my blog over the last two years, then you’ve probably read about my practice of choosing a “Word of the Year” at the start of every New Year.  (I ditched the idea of Resolutions long ago.)

[To read about it, click here.]

I get emails regularly from people who have adopted this practice. They write to report successes and Ah-Ha’s – taught to them by their word.

So, starting tomorrow, I will be featuring a month of Guest Bloggers who will share their own experiences of choosing a Word-of-the-Year -– and how their choices and actions were affected by this one simple act of Deliberate Intention.

December is a great time to turn inward. Even with holiday activities, you can take time to bundle up and go for a walk.  Or stay at home one weekend night. Use this time to set your intentions for 2009.  Think about a word that could guide you as you move forward.  And let this month’s blogs inspire you!

Here is a list of words just to start your wheels turning:


  • Karen

    My word for 2009 is Gratefulness.

  • Jennae @ Green Your Decor

    I really, really needed to read this today. I have chosen a word that I believe will affect every area of my life. Thank you for the inspiration to do so.

  • Suzyn


    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Annemarie

    I choose discipline for all that the word entails. I need discipline in my life, I need to work on the type of discipline I provide my children and as a teacher I also want to encourage a disciplined way of life among my students. I look forward to participating in this next year.

  • ChristineDrury


    It’s the gift I give myself… to be present.

  • Tammie

    I love this idea! I have a poetic mantra I have said for years and have experienced how it can mean different things at different times, as though the words themselves are full and over flowing with many gifts. Before I saw your list a word came to me, then two more jumped at me as I read your list. “Grace” is my word for 2009 with a 2nd supportive word “spirit”. Funny that ‘spirit’ feels right, as this word is in my business name. I began my year with the Winter solstice and so the journey has begun, sweet. Thank you! Wishing you and yours a lovely and wonderful holiday season and 2009!

  • avtcoach

    I am choosing the word Abundance. I began my blog this summer and Abundance is the theme. It has really blessed my life to deal with creating an abundant life through my posts. I want to continue to use this word throughout the next year, it reminds me to keep living abundantly.

  • JB

    My word?


    Fantastic idea, choosing one word.

  • Melissa


  • Caroline

    This is a wonderful idea. I don’t care for resolutions, because they can be hard to keep and unsually make you feel bad about yourself. I love choosing a word…it’s very empowering! My word is “Deserving.” I deserve all the goodness the universe has to offer. I deserve happiness. I deserve!

    Thank you for this inspiring and thought provoking post!

  • Brenda

    Hi Christine,
    This was a wonderful post, and an inspirational idea for personal reflection. Thank you! As a visual artist, I wanted to help share some of the ideas posted here, so I included a link to your blog on my own.

    My word-of-the-year also coincides with my ability and desire to “create”.

    Grace. It is a simple word really, and probably means different things to different people. But, for me, it signifies an inner passion, a compelling voice unwilling to surrender. It symbolizes a desire to portray that which has beauty, a willingness to share peace and tranquility. While it also upholds honesty, and an acceptance of “what will be, will be.” It recognizes a divine force which compels each of us to follow a path meant only for us, no matter where that path may lead. No one knows the outcome, except Grace. Grace, is a word that has affected my life, not only in it’s influence on my work, but in my ability to accept, and to be patient in finding the right path for me. It is the defining factor that keeps me on that path, despite the influences of money or opposing opinions. Grace is forgiving, if I should wander.

    What is it that makes people create? I can not answer the question for anyone but myself. I only know that I must, and I do believe “Grace” is pulling for me.

    Have a wonderful holiday, and I wish you the best in all things

  • leona

    Listen. Listen. Listen.
    I am a talker. I love a good conversation, a passionate argument, an articulate debate. Words astound me. So, cruising down your list, invoking my gut instinct to pick just the right word, I started to notice a rising sense of panic as the mouse got closer & closer to the bottom. Oh no, are there no inspiring words for me in 2009? Am I, like the economy, going into an inspiration recession?

    Then the last word, leapt up, like a child who just knows the answer to a question, and, please God, let the teacher ask me just this once!!! LISTEN.

    Listen to silence.
    Listen to the surf.
    Listen to the wind as it rattles the branches against my bedroom window.
    Listen to what actually happened at work for my husband each day.
    Listen to other people’s stories.
    Listen for their dreams, yearnings and needs.
    Listen for who they really are.
    Listen for their humanity; both the greatness of it and the frailty of it.
    Listen for mine too.
    And, last but not least, listen to my inner voice.

    And then write, write, write from that quiet, listening space.

  • Lillithmother

    ps. Tenacity is my word.

  • Lillithmother

    I tried to fight it…but my soul won. Thank you for speaking to her…she needed to be let out.


  • LMaxwell

    Thanks Christine.
    I choose ‘effortlessness’ for the coming year!

    This year has been wonderful -I worked hard and moved ‘mountains’. 2009 will be about me soaring high above things like an eagle – effortlessly mounting up, that’s my intention.

    Thanks Christine once again.


  • EVA

    Hi Christine,

    A close friend and I started this a few years ago. Interesting to find your blog about it only a few weeks ago and now to see you return to the topic! I thought then, and I still think, that it is a superb idea. I’m looking forward to your guest blogs! I hope that same time next year others will report their results – DELIGHT, AUDACITY, HEALTH, EXPLORATION, etc – such impacts these words could have!

    We didn’t really execute well last year as neither of us could remember our “word” when I sent her the link to your site. (Note to self – write it down!)

    The word that is jumping out to me so far is “FLOURISH”.

    Thanks so much Christine (and synchronicity) for brnging this idea back to the forefront of my mind.

    @Lance – what about “AWESOME” – you used it twice in your comment, I wonder what a year that word could make!

    All the best.

  • Deborah Wolfe

    I decided to follow someone else’s lead and draw my word for 2009 out of a hat. Health. Interesting. I’m 50 years old. Diabetic and don’t want to be. Lots of ‘troubling’ pap smears. Loads o’stress over the past decade or so. Intellectually I’m ready to open up, let new energy in, release old patterns etc. But I didn’t draw any of those words (release, change, openness, clarity). I drew ‘health’. Clearly this is the right word for me. I’m not sure what to make of it at the moment. I am open to receive the message.

  • Hrvoje (pronounced: Her-Vo-Yeh)

    Christine, I ignored your warning about choosing only ONE word for the year. So I choose three.


    I first picked the ones that resonated with me from the your list of suggestions but that left me with 12. So I put them all in a box and let the universe pick for me. I took them out (no peeking) in the exact order as written above. I intentionally chose more than one because hey, it’s still less than twelve. And what could two more words possibly do to harm me, right?

    Well, the year has been a huge wake-up year for my heart AND soul. I’ve become AWARE of the huge psychological doomsday mechanism in my head and took it all to pieces. I can’t think of a single audacious thing I did but the year is not over yet, so I better watch out for that one.

    I never thought that it would have this big an impact but I gave it a go and I have to say that it works. Kind of like a little subconscious helper in your head watching out for you when you face the challenges and keeps you on your desired course.

    If nothing happens in December, I think I’ll go with AUDACITY for 2009. I feel like it’s the missing link.

  • Andrea

    Oh yes. I will pick a word this year. Patti’s “hush” is the kind of process I am seeking and the word that keeps bubbling up is “soften”. What that means for me is to be aware when I have my “armor” on, when I am being a busy warrior. However, the word that makes me smile is “delight”. I suspect I will find more delight if I soften my approach to life.
    I am looking forward to the month of other people’s words.

  • Beth

    Last year I wanted a verb because I felt the need to be motivated. I wanted to act and do. I haven’t decided whether 2009 will be another year of acting and doing or a year of just being, but I love coming up with a word for the year, Christine.

  • bonni

    Last year, I sort of stumbled on this concept on my own. We went on a very, very enjoyable day trip just after Christmas and I was really happy all day. I decided to be happy from then on, and it’s been an interesting year of contrasts as I learned about happiness (which is, I’ve found, just an emotion that is in response to events or circumstances) and cultivated true joy (which comes from inside and is totally independent of circumstance). I’m not claiming to be happy all the time, but I am happy more often than not, and I know true joy now, which is an amazing blessing.

    So when I read this post, I was kind of amazed that I’d stumbled on this concept last year (before I’d discovered this excellent blog), and having had the experience of “happiness” (and joy, and learning the difference between them), I’m definitely doing this again. Reading the blog entry just solidified my own experience and showed me what it was about, etc.

    And enough background, I think. My word of the year for 2009 is *drumroll* ABUNDANCE.

    Should be interesting, to say the least! 😉

  • BiblioMom

    This is just such a great concept. I’m going to find a word and embrace it. I’m so excited! This is the sort of thing that I get and that makes an impact in my life. Now to discover my word.

    This is my second year post divorce with two small children I’m finally at a place in my life where I’m ready for some serious soul searching and soul caring. Bring on the words!

  • Teartaye

    I managed to narrow it down to four words. Before anyone tsks at me for not focusing I did decide on a compromise: I ordered them according to importance and am working on one at a time. I get to keep all four words (so I don’t feel like I’m ignoring one that jumped out at me) and I get the benefits of working on one word at a time.

    My four words (in order): Compassion, abundance, courage and discipline.

    Now, I am a bit weird… I started working on compassion… oh, July-ish, instead of January 1st (is there a “right” day to start this, anyway?) and it’s made a world of difference already.

    I know abundance, courage and discipline have crept into my thoughts at times; I suppose this is what I get for having four words. I’ve been debating turning my attention to abundance. Maybe I’ll do that on the first! heh.

  • Emily

    My 2008 word was Heal and it has been a fantastic year of healing on every level – still amazes me when I reflect on it. It has been a beautiful year.

    Two words keep coming up for 2009 – Wealth and Trust. Both scare me just a bit, but also make me smile. I may decide to just pick one of them – I think either one would create major shifts in my life. I may also decide to go with both since I feel they are very much connected. It’ll be fun to see what happens 🙂

  • Kate

    This is so cool! I’ve enjoyed reading the comments and look forward to the guest bloggers. This is the first year I’ll be doing this. I have two words. I had picked the word nurture and I love Irene’s idea of walking with words at different times.
    My other word is happiness which I just chose today in a kind of wake up call way. I had some muscle testing done by someone in order to get a clue of what my subconscious was attracting. It was measured on a scale of one to ten. My results were unusual according to the guy but they rang true on first recognition and on some reflection. Love and Health were up there at eights but happiness was down there at a five, the lowest number I had. So, happiness it will be and I’ll see what kind of a ride I’ll have.

  • Irene

    Hi Christine,

    I have three words that keeps running through my mind. Compassion, effortlessness and abundance. I decide that I will walk with each word at different times. I think they are great for 2009.

  • Christine Kane

    kim – since it’s still early in December — play with the words that really stuck out for you. And let them “talk to you.” My sense is that you always KNOW deeply which one is the right one. Usually it scares you a little bit. (in a good way!) And I’ve chosen two words every now and then just because sometimes it’s hard to pick just one!

    kathy – i wonder if anyone at CNN picks a word-of-the-year…?? 🙂

    charlotte – perfect!! what a great process you’ve described. no more self-flagellation!

    jannie – you can still send one in! We’re at 29 posts and counting! Exploration is a GREAT word. Can’t wait to read your post NEXT year!

    patty – “Hush” would be a good CD title! It reminds me of Martha Beck’s saying, “Just this.” I use that a lot in my daily rounds.

    Deb – i’ve got a continuing word that is ALWAYS one of my intentions no matter how fast each new year comes along! So – certainly if you’re not through – then keep the same word.

  • Christine Kane

    rare – in the last two years, my words have been WAY different than usual – and they’ve literally exploded my whole life. (In a GOOD way!) So, I always recommend those “attractions.” Thanks for commenting!

    eleanor – now see? THAT is creativity in action! Will you come along with me when i do my creativity trainings? 🙂 It’s trusting that voice within (IN!) when you don’t always know exactly where it’s taking you. Can’t wait to hear where you go with this!

    Shea – just play with it. It’s a little daunting at first, but you’ll begin to get it!

    Thanks Lance! Let us know when you pick yours!

    L – In my on-line seminar (soon to be home-study kit!) I talk about this very phenomenon. It’s the old saying that when you plant the seed, the first thing that comes up is the DIRT, not the sprout. The trick is to navigate through the dirt and stick to your intention. Growth is a powerful word! (And i always recommend adding a silent “effortless” in front of each word! Effortless growth! That’s nice! 🙂 )

    Thanks Tracy – we need more minds like yours!

  • Deb

    Part of me wants to whine “oh no, didn’t we just do this?” On the other hand I am seriously considering staying the course with this year’s words because I’m not sure their work is finished. But we’ll see what further reflection brings.

  • Patty

    My word for this year will be ‘Hush’. ‘Hush’ is an admonition to calm presence. It suggests quieting my mind from it’s usual ‘bizzy’ chatter and settling into awareness. I may learn when I’m quiet, rather than putting energy into what I’ll say or do next.
    ‘Hush’ will quiet the drama around me and lead me – hopefully – to deeper understanding.

  • Jannie Funster

    I’m really looking forward to reading the guest blogging. I am afraid I missed my window of opportunity for getting my submission in to you. (Writing down the deadline would’ve been a good choice rather than trying to depend on this olde grey matter. Oh well… next year!)

    For me “Exploration,” out of my comfort zone will be front and center in the next year. And I welcome the challenge with happy open arms.

  • Charlotte

    I have chosen the word GENTLENESS. My head is telling me that I should choose a word that will “Improve me” like Action or Courage or Discipline. But when I think of gentleness, I want to cry and my heart fills with longing. So that’s my word.

  • Kathy

    Words are so cool. This year, “Trust” jumped out at me in a big way. Abundance has worked well for me this past two years but I need to consciously and unconditionally trust that the universe will come through for us as it always has – on so many levels – so I can start sleeping better at night again instead of waking up in cold sweats. With all the massive upheaval in the financial markets and uncertainty about what all the downstream ramifications will be, trust is the centering and focus I need to block out all the noise. Having CNN anchors, pundits and economists prattling on in the background all day hasn’t helped my worry factor. So starting today, the TV goes off for me during the day…and maybe at night too.

  • Kim

    What happens if more than one word jumps out at me? When I was reading the list more than one word almost hit me in the stomach, pulled at me. Is it better to cut through and reach one word, or go with my gut? Thank you for your work.

  • Tracy McCabe Stewart

    With all the news (and some days, my head) focused on scarcity, my focus for the year-and the holidays, will be grateful abundance. Thanks for a nourishing focus to think about in the new year! -Tracy

  • l

    I would like to warn people not to choose the word “growth.” That was the word I chose for 2008 and it truly sucked, to put it mildly. The universe threw growth at me in my family relationships, my professional life, my financial life, my home, anywhere it could find space to do it. Then it kicked me in the shin and took my lunch. I keep wondering if I am stronger because of it, or not. I guess I will find out.

    I had also chosen the word joy, (the phrase was “intentional growth and sublime joy”) and to be sure there were a few moments of sublime joy like when I discovered YogaDance and how much I love it.

    I think for 2009 I will choose something like “peaceful plenty”, since I want to have enough and more, and to feel just quiet peace.

  • Lance

    I love this idea Christine! (now, why didn’t I find you earlier…so I could have done this last year!!) Anyway, I’m in this year. 2009 is going to be a great year, and this idea of a word that I can use to help lead and guide me is just awesome! And this upcoming series of how words have affected people over the last year, is going to be so interesting to read. Thank you, Christine! This is completely awesome (the word idea, and the upcoming guest posts)!!

  • shea

    that’s a lot of words

  • Eleanor Morgan

    I’ve been giving my word for 2009 much consideration and meditation. During my quiet times, and even my not so quiet times, one word keeps coming to me. That word – IN. IN. IN is a preposition (anywhere a mouse can go). 2009 will see me being mine own preposition: IN joy, IN gratitude, IN the Now, IN progress. IN. Who is with me? Who is IN?

  • rare (coming out of lurkdom for serendipity’s sake)

    perfect timing! I’ve been thinking about this all week long. Its interesting to me that the words that attract me this year are different than in past years. Maybe my failure to hold onto past words through the year stems from choosing the word that my brain wanted and not the word my spirit needed.