At the start of a new year, many of us will consider creating a resolution to be better at something, to achieve a goal or to start something new. Resolutions typically require starting a new habit, which may require discipline to stay the course over several weeks or months. In recent years, the concept of choosing a word has edged its way up to be shoulder to shoulder with resolutions as the new year comes along. It’s a fresh way to proclaim the start of something new—but in a way that might be different than you think.
In contrast to the concept of resolutions, choosing a word doesn’t mean additional habits or rituals, but instead a change in outlook or perspective. Which means it’s not as easy as plucking a word out of the air that you wish were more present in your life, like happiness, or peace, but instead carefully selecting a word after self-reflection, meditation, or prayer. Try the following steps to choose a word for your new year.
1. Spend Time Talking with God
The God of the Universe loves you and cares for you. He already knows your needs (Matthew 6:32) for today and tomorrow. Spend time talking with God about how he may want you to focus your next year. Ask him to speak to you by providing a word to you or by giving you a core idea for this year. If you’ve never talked with God, that’s totally ok. Start by talking to him and then listening for his response.
2. Create Reminders for Yourself
To keep your word in front of you and to remind you of the way it shapes your perspective, add reminders throughout your day. Use the technology in your life to set timers or reminders with your word. Go old school and use Post-It notes around your house or your car. Try writing on a mirror or simply a small reminder by your bedside.
3. Find an Accountability Group
Most of us need others in our lives to help us reach our full potential. Tell your best friend, your partner or a coworker what your word for the year is. It’s beneficial for your loved ones to understand the direction you’re striving towards so they can support you and to understand decisions you’ve made. If your word is work related, find a peer that can help encourage you and meet regularly together. Sharing your word will give common language with those you trust as you work through your year.
Choosing a word is often associated with the “new year, new me” mentality, but it doesn’t mean that choosing one means you’re locked in for a certain amount of time. Your new word may last for a few months or for more than a year, but it’s also about making a commitment to yourself. Don’t feel the pressure to put a timestamp on it. Let it be fluid as you grow as a person and as a child of God.