Does anyone else get super excited about the fresh slate of a new year?
Admittedly it can be a little cliché to be all ‘new year, new me’, and the concept of completely overhauling yourself come January 1st is a lot to ask (and, let’s be honest, rarely works). Instead, I like to look at the new year as an opportunity to set aside time to plan out the year, and work out the small and big steps that will get me to where I want to be. One tool that I find really useful in this process is choosing a single word to help define the year ahead, I’ve talked about it before and was excited to see last year that the concept resonated with many of you too. So, in case you’re sitting down this week to work on your short and long-term goals or vision for the year, we’ve put together the 2018 edition of How to Choose A Word To Define & Guide Your Year Ahead (read 2017’s version here).
Why Choose A Guiding Word For 2018?
In case the concept of choosing a defining word is new to you, I wanted to do a quick recap of why I find it useful.
Focus Your Year The main reason I find having a guiding word for the year useful is that it helps to focus all your thinking for the whole year, particularly if you ever feel a bit scattered about where you are at. Hands up right here!
Unify Your Goals Generally, our goals are broad and cover all the different elements of our life, making it hard sometimes to use them as a criterion for making decisions. But by analysing your goals and then choosing a word that resonates across all of them, I find it makes it easier to define your approach for the year, and guide any decisions you need to make.
Give Yourself Flexibility Ever feel like your goals change a lot over time, or you fail to meet a goal and then feel like it all goes out the window? It’s totally happened to me before. But by having a single word, you can adjust your goals over time, so long as they are in line with the focus word you choose at the beginning of the year.
Keep Your Goals At The Front Of Your Mind If you’re like me, you might have a whole bunch of goals in various areas of your life, and admittedly it can be hard to remember them, particularly as the months wear on. By choosing a single word, you can keep your broad goals at the front of your mind.
Make Review Easier If you use a single word to define and guide your year, it’s easy at the end of the year to review your year in a broad way, by asking yourself: ‘Did this year reflect (insert your defining word here)?’.
Looking back at my Guiding Word for 2017
Speaking of review, it’s time to do mine! As many of you will remember, last year I chose the word ‘Health’ – a combination of a focus on the health of my business, my personal health and the health of my relationships. One thing I was able to make big steps on was my personal health, both in the areas of fitness and nutrition (totally stuck to those 3 yoga classes a week, even though I’m still not amazing at it!). I was also able to better manage my use of social media, harness tools to deal with the comparison trap and keep in place my daily digital detox. And while yes there are still elements of the goals I had for 2017 that need work (something that I think is totally normal), I wholeheartedly believe that having a guiding word helped me to make strides across all areas. Wahoo!
Choose Your Word For 2018
Enough of my rambling, now’s the time to get stuck into your own goals and choose your defining word. As I mentioned last year, you might know straight away what you want your year’s word to be, it might be something on the tip of your tongue. Or, you might need a little help to develop some ideas, which is totally fine too! Once again we have put together a printable for you so that you can jot down your thoughts and ideas, download it here. I find this process really helpful so definitely don’t skip this step if you have time, even if your word comes to you straight away!
First, do a little brainstorm of words that come to your brain about the year to come, we’ve listed a whole bunch as some ideas but do add your own too. Then, list goals and words under the different areas on the sheet including career, life, family etc. Finally, choose one word that you think unifies your thoughts across all your goals and write it down at the bottom. You might find that your chosen word relates to your strongest goals and not to all of them, and that’s ok, but the broader it is the more useful it will be.
My Guiding Word For 2018 (And Why)
Unlike last year’s word of ‘Health’, this year I found it a little more challenging to come up with my word. I think that’s because I can see lots of change and evolution this year across so many different areas, and for that reason it was tricky to come up with something that represented my goals across all those areas. After pondering it for a few days, I realised that what would be constant this year would be change, and that in itself would take a fair amount of focus. So I finally struck upon the concept of ‘Evolve’, an approach to change that reflects being able to adapt and embrace the future. Here’s hoping it works!
Evolving My Business
One of the biggest constants in this business is change, and in many ways I’ve come to grips with the constant flux of working online. That said, there are a number of things I really (really) want to achieve and many of them have been on my list for a long time. So this year will be about choosing one of two of these major things, which reflect a big evolution in what I (and we) do. It’s always hard to start something new (career inertia is real!) but this year is about doing just that.
Embrace and Adapt to the Evolution of Relationships
As I mentioned last year, the older you get the more your role and relationships with other people evolves and changse, particularly with parents and other people who may have cared for you in the past – often the roles start to reverse. So this year I am going to continue to embrace the evolution of relationships, and working to improve and nuture this change, rather than viewing them as static.
Evolving the Way I Work
One of the big things I always brought to my work was a professionalism that I had gleaned from previous roles and workplaces, including a commitment to being in the studio and applying myself in a quite rigid way. This has been great on many fronts such as productivity, but that said I think at times it has stifled my creativity. For that reason, this year I have decided to evolve the way I work and my approach to creativity in my day to day, with more roving work days and creative brainstorming.
Embracing Personal Change
Ben and I have a lot going on this year, and there’s a lot of work to be done! Instead of being afraid of personal change, this year it’s going to be important to evolve and adapt to new environments and workloads. Often new can be really scary (gah!) but it’s only when you challenge yourself that you actually learn something new, teach yourself new skills and become better at what you do. Here’s to evolution!
Ready to create your defining word?
Brew up some tea, put your phone on do not disturb and crack open a new notebook (smell those fresh pages!), now’s the time to be shamelessly selfish and take a bit of time for you.
I’d love to hear if you have any keywords that could help to guide your year, and any key resolutions relating to that word. I soooo enjoyed hearing about your words last year, and we even added a few of your words into the printable to inspire others. Wishing you a beautiful 2018!