Each year, Oxford Dictionary chooses their “word of the year”. For 2019, they chose “climate emergency”  (technically 2 words).  In 2018, it was “toxic”; in 2017, it was the slightly more positive “youthquake.”  Collins Dictionary chose “climate strike” (2019), “single-use” (2018), and “fake news” (2017).  Merriam Webster havent published their 2019 word yet, but they recently chose “justice” (2018), and “feminism” (2017)

These words may provide a recap of significant happenings in the year, but they certainly don’t give you hope and inspiration.

While I believe that September is a good time to start new routines and habits, I find that the holiday season and beginning of a new year is a good time to take stock and decide what you want for yourself for the next 12 months.

Gain Your Edge principal and coach Jane Gaynor believes in a word of the year that inspires and excites you; “At the beginning of each year, I choose a ‘word’ for the upcoming year. A word of inspiration … a word that resonates, provides perspective and clarity, and grounds me throughout the year.”

She began choosing words in 2016, after feedback from a friend told her to JUST JUMP:  “Shortly after this conversation, the song ‘JUMP’ by Van Halen played everywhere I went. It was a sign I was on the right track and I JUMPED!  In 2017, my chosen word was ‘BUILD’. I needed to continue to ‘JUMP’ and I needed to ‘BUILD’, both my professional and my personal life. The following year, a friend gave me the gift of ‘ELEVATE’ as my word for 2018.  My word for 2019 was ‘BELIEVE’, because … I believe all is well. I believe in others and I believe in me. 

“For 2020, my word is ‘RISE’.”

Jane isn’t alone in this exercise.  Google “choosing a personal word of the year” and you’ll get about 306,000,000 hits.  It’s true.  I did it.  

Site after site will walk you through their process in choosing your word of the year, and give you some great lists of words if you need a little inspiration. There are quizzes you can take, newsletters to sign up for, and – of course – related merchandise to buy.

Choosing your word of the year doesn’t require a special notebook or Facebook group.  It can if that’s your thing, but I prefer to keep it more personal and intimate.

One site, The Goal Chaser caught my eye with their list of questions to ask yourself in choosing your word:

  • Considering how this past year has been, what is something that you could improve on, do differently or keep working on?
  • Have a think of something that isn’t going so well in your life right now. What’s a word that is the opposite or more positive alternative to this? For example, if fear keeps holding you back, then the alternative could be fearless or brave?
  • What do you want MORE of in your life?
  • What do you want LESS of? Be sure to turn it into a positive word though!
  • What would be a game-changer for you?

I asked myself these questions and also asked them of people around me.  It sparked some very interesting conversations and really made us take a look at our lives and what changes we want to see going forward.

I’ve chosen “Renewal” for 2020.  The idea was sparked by a meeting with a business coach (yes, coaches have coaches!) who walked me through an exercise to discover what would move ME from unmotivated back to recharged and motivated.  Everyone has times when they feel they’re just going through the motions to get through the day and aren’t able to find their creative spark and energy.  This coach calls the steps you take to bring you back to life, so to speak, as “renewal” ones.  

That really resonated with me.  I want to keep building Scala Network with new programs, new opportunities, and new connections.  To do that, I need to be my best self. I need to identify the things that renew my energy and my creativity and focus on them when I start to drag.  “Renewal” is my word to remind me of those things and push myself forwards.

I hope you find your word of the year and that it comes to life for you in 2020 in ways more wonderful than you can imagine.

Happy holidays.