You’ve probably heard of the concept of selecting a Word of the Year (WotY): it’s one way to focus your energy on some goal, feeling, or idea. I love this concept, and this will be my second year participating. Rather than pledging yourself to a New Year’s resolution with an inherent “win or lose” dichotomy, a word for the year is a theme that can’t be let down by wavering consistency. In other words, you can’t fail a concept. If you find yourself wandering away from your word, just return back to it. It’s that simple (and that awesome).
We can be more or less successful in arenas of our lives based on so many factors—our relationships with family, friends, or lovers; our environment at work or at home; our ability to get to sleep, stay asleep, get enough sleep; our mental health and the individual causes that can exacerbate stress, anxiety, and depression; our ability to earn enough, save enough; whether or not we’re eating, what we’re eating, when, how much, how often. Essentially there are countless factors that can influence whether we’re feeling better or worse at a given moment which may determine our likelihood toward success or failure on a given day. We’ve all experienced the day when everything seems to go right—or wrong.
But unlike a resolution, you can’t fail a word. If you’re the kind of person who feels discouraged by failure (aren’t we all?) and less likely to even try if you’re afraid you’re just going to let yourself down, thinking of the new year in terms of a word, a concept, a guiding principle, can be incredibly uplifting, encouraging, inspiring. Let’s remove the condemnation of bad days and stop beating ourselves up for the things we get wrong. Instead, let’s focus on the good, the big picture, and the habit over time.
Last year I chose the word “habitual” because I wanted to combine the associations of “habit” and “ritual.” Even though that’s not exactly what “habitual” means, it made sense to me because of the sounds of the words as well as the meanings. And your word is your own—it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else; you don’t have to justify it to anyone. This is such a personal choice for such a private journey, why not do this one thing that’s just for you?
Words I considered for 2018 included: steady, fearless, active, willing; momentum, frequency, agency, harmony; goldfish; conspire, complicit (I liked the idea of the sinister aspect of secret goals and desires). The worksheets below are part of a year in review packet made by the illustrious Susannah Conway, whom I adore.
In the end, I didn’t choose any of my brainstormed words, though the process of thinking through those ideas helped me come to my decision: I chose the word/phrase “get up and go.” Used as a hyphenate, get-up-and-go is a noun synonymous with words like gumption, moxie, umph. It is your drive tested over time, your get-started-ness and your stick-to-it-tive-ness. As a phrase, “Get up and go!” is a demonstrative command, encouraging the target (you understood) to “Act now!” I chose this because I want to nurture the habits I cultivated last year, those of writing and exercising regularly. (See how it builds?)
“Get up and go” (see also “rise and shine,” “get going” and other variants) is a very popular phrase in advertising, as you can see here:
The phrase “get up and go” is also used in a jokey, fun way for times when we feel like doing anything but:
But it’s also still a tried-and-true concept for earnest motivation:
Last year I was extrememly gung-ho about my WotY for the first few months, and then I kind of forgot about it, although I maintained the goals my word represented, to greater and lesser extent based on what else was going on. This year I made “get up and go” the tagline for this blog, so it’ll be impossible to forget! I encourage you to do something similar: post your Word somewhere you’ll see it often, and choose a word that will make you feel excited to strive toward your best self.
If you want help deciding on your Word of the Year for 2018, check out the fantastic Susannah Conway. And if you want to declare your Word of the Year for 2018, you can participate at My One Word and One Word 365. Also check out the cool stuff happening at My Intent.