With the start of a new year, it is a natural time for reflection, celebration, and forethought to the year ahead. Many of us will be thinking about New Year resolutions, which should be reframed as intentions, because they too often get dismissed after a few days or if you’re lucky weeks. If you were to do one thing related to planning right now, choosing a Focus Word should be it.
A Focus Word is sometimes about doing, but more often it’s about a way of doing or being. It has the ability to guide your thinking and ultimately your actions. It recurs in your mind to keep you attentive to that which you have decided warrants your energy and resources. It serves as a powerful reminder of how you want to show up.
To find your Focus Word, you will have to dig a little deeper. Your word only has to be meaningful to you and you can keep it completely to yourself if you wish.
Choosing one word is perhaps more difficult than choosing several words, but ultimately has greater impact, and is simpler to apply. If you have more words, you will have to move between them and apply your resources to all. Landing on one word has a simplicity and elegance and the constraint forces deeper thinking and some tough choices.
That said, one word often has several partner words which go along with it. Find the cluster of related words which help give the depth of meaning you are looking for. This might make it easier to land on one. That word cluster ought to feel like a nourishing broth from which you’ll drink, daily.
Get ready for some extreme self-reflection and simmering. Some words feel onerous and constrictive, whereas others feel motivating. Don’t be afraid to let go of a word and move on. Look for a word you’ll like to tango with this year. A word which will lead you towards good things.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to generate your own Focus Word. To get to your word, you will want to combine careful thought and idea incubation. Let a few words come to you. Feel the word. You’ll know when you’ve hit the right one.
- If you could skip ahead a year and reflect on 2021, what would you like to be proud of?
- If you’ve set goals for the year, is there a word that could serve as a foundation to that success?
- Are there moments from the past you wish you could have handled better? What word comes up to help support shifts in a positive direction?
- Who inspires you? What word describes them?
- How do you feel when you think of this word?
- Does this word apply broadly to your life? The more areas for which it is useful, the more powerful the word.
A word will only be useful to you if you hold it in your mind. Here are a few ideas for you:
- Write the word in a prominent place – by your bed, bathroom mirror, in your daily planner, incorporate it into jewelry or a piece of art
- Incorporate the word in a daily meditation
- Journal with the word in mind. Set an intention every morning with respect to the word. Reflect each night on how you showed up. Celebrate the wins. Learn from the challenges.
- Tell others about your word – incorporate it in regular meetings with your good friends and family.
Some Focus Words of the Year have been:
- Patience (Cluster words: tolerance, restraint, endurance)
- Replenish (Cluster words: heal, rest, rejuvenate)
- Transform (Cluster words: change, reinvent, progress)
- Grace (Cluster words: calm, strength, serenity)
- Cultivate (Cluster words: grow, nourish, feed)
- Trust (Cluster words: believe, faith)
What word will you choose to “guide” you through 2021?