If you haven’t chosen your guiding word of the year, you are missing out. A guiding word gives you an extra boost to achieve your short-term goals.
This post includes the following:
– the benefits of choosing a guiding word
– five easy steps to follow to help you choose the right word
– ten examples of words that you can start using today
So, let’s get started!
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Why should you bother to choose a guiding word of the year?
Several years ago, I heard about choosing a guiding word. I was kind of skeptical at first, but I still went ahead and did it. And, let me tell you that I haven’t stopped choosing a word since!
Here are three reasons (or benefits) to why you should do it:
- Provides guidance
The word guides you to what you want to accomplish. That special word immediately makes you think of what you are planning to achieve.
It also makes your decision-making process easier. For example, let’s say that my word for this year is “simplify”, then it guides me to make decisions that are aligned with the word.
- Keeps you focused on your goals
Every time you see the word, it acts as a quick reminder to keep moving forward. But it also helps you to get back on track if needed.
- Ensures consistency
The frequent reminders ensure you keep your actions and decisions consistent with your plans for the year. The more consistent you stay with your actions, the closer you get to achieve your goals. As a result, you will be more motivated and happier in life.
As you can see, these three benefits alone are enough for you to start thinking of potential words. But, before you do that, let’s go over the quick steps to ensure you choose the right word for you.
5 Easy steps to choose a guiding word of the year
STEP # 1 – SET YOUR GOALS FOR THE YEAR
You need to decide what you want to achieve during the year. In order to do that, think about your short-term goals. Your guiding word won’t be meaningful to you unless it’s related to your plans or goals.
Another way to choose your word is by thinking of a problem you want to fix. For example, a few years ago, I chose the word “simple” because after reflecting about the previous year, I felt that I was complicating my life too much by adding things to my plate that were not necessary.
Keeping the word “simple” in mind helped me to improve different areas of my life. That in addition to feeling less overwhelmed, saving time, and being more productive.
If you are still not sure of what word to use, go over your goals for the year and try to identify something in common between all your goals. Do you see any patterns?
STEP # 2 – FOCUS ON THE WORD YOU CHOOSE
Some people suggest that your guiding word of the year should be a verb. I understand why they say it because using an action word motivates you to take action.
But, I also look at it in a different way.
It’s better to choose a word that is meaningful and aligned with your goals for the year, rather than focusing on which type of word to use.
In other words, don’t limit yourself.
Choose whichever works for you: a verb, an adjective, a noun, or even a phrase. Choosing a phrase might sound weird but if a phrase such as “Make it happen” or “Less is more” matches better with your plans and intentions, then go for it!
In summary, be intentional when choosing your word. Don’t overthink it by trying to choose the perfect word. Just pick a word that can guide you, motivate you, and help you keep your goals in mind.
STEP # 3 – CHOOSE A WORD THAT’S MEANINGFUL TO YOU
The word you choose needs to, in a certain way, describe what you want to achieve. And most importantly, what you want to feel when you read, write, or hear that word.
For example, this year, I was trying to decide between the words “achieve” and “accomplish”. In the end, I chose “achieve” because it sounded stronger, to me.
You can also add the “ing” if needed. In my case, choosing the word “achieving” was perfect to describe the continuous achievement that I am looking for throughout the entire year.
However, if you need some ideas or inspiration, then check this great list of 50 Empowering Words for Women.
At this point, you probably have your guiding word. But, if you are still unsure of what word to choose, I still have one more suggestion for you.
Try the happier in life which randomly chooses a word for you. I tried it and got the word “start” which is great for perfectionists like me, who normally wait too long to start some things such as starting a blog.
For example, I wanted to start a blog seven years ago but kept waiting to have the perfect blog name, themes, ideas, etc. Back then, having “start” as my guiding word would probably have pushed me to get out of my comfort zone to work on that blog and to finally hit publish!
STEP # 4 – WRITE THE WORD IN VISIBLE PLACES
One of the most common reasons for people not to reach their goals is the lack of follow-ups. To reduce that, have your word everywhere to see it often.
Keeping it in visible places helps you remember what you want to do, achieve, or improve. But, don’t just put a note on the refrigerator. Put it in various places to ensure you “bump” into it regularly.
I always have my word in at least these three key places:
– A sign in my bathroom where I can see it several times a day since I am working from home.
– Write it on my productivity planner which I use every day.
– Use it as part of my password. It could be a password for the computer, cell phone, or an account that I use frequently.
The main purpose is to keep the word in your mind as much as you can.
STEP # 5 – APPLY YOUR WORD TO YOUR LIFE
This step should be easy if you followed all the previous steps. Because the more in contact you are with your chosen word, the more in contact you will be with your goals and intentions. You start applying it more consistently through all the areas in your life.
It’s like putting your guiding word on autopilot!
By the way, this post, mentions the different areas that you need to keep in mind when setting your goals. Those same areas are also important when choosing your guiding word.
Those were the steps to choose a guiding word.
As you could see, those steps are not difficult to follow and doing them will put your mindset to achieve the results you are looking for.
10 Great words that you can choose
Here are ten quick examples of words that you can choose. This list includes a mix of different types of words that I would consider for my myself:
- Success (having a blog named Mom Succeeds, this word was a must 😊)
Bonus: Examples of phrases to use
- I can and I will
- It’s never too late
- Take action
- I believe in myself
- Living life to the fullest
As I said before, focus on a word that works for you. A word that would inspire and motivate you to make the changes you want throughout the year.
Can I reuse a previous word?
Once the year is over, follow the same five steps mentioned above to find the right word for your new goals. Don’t be afraid to reuse words from previous years. Remember that there’s always room for improvement.
For example, this year, I could easily reuse the word “simple”. As a busy mom, I can quickly identify different ways to simplify my life: groceries, meal planning, and batch cooking.
You’re ready to make this year the best yet!
Ok, in summary, you:
- learned the benefits of choosing a guiding word of the year
- went over the steps to choose the right word for you
- got examples of great words, and phrases, that you can use
Now it’s time for you to put everything into practice.
Just one more thing…
I have noticed that some people get so motivated that they replace their goal setting process with their guiding word. I personally don’t recommend that and suggest using both, choosing a word and setting your goals.
Your word works as a daily reminder of what you want to achieve (goals). However, setting your goals is the detailed plan explaining what, how, and when to achieve what you want.
So, make sure to use both for greater benefits!
Now, tell me…what’s your word for this year? Do you prefer a word or a phrase? I would love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments section below.
Additional resources for a successful year:
- 19 Self-improvement books for a better year
- A simple tool to increase happiness
- Best 30-day challenge ideas to improve your life
- 6-Simple steps to set up your goals once and for all
- Choose happiness: 25 ways to be happier in life