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Creative Power Episode 7: How to Choose a Word of the Year

What is the practice of choosing a Word of the Year and how can it support your focus and achievement of goals throughout the year? Whether you make new year resolutions or not, choosing a Word of the Year is a wonderful practice and that word can act as a theme, guide and mantra for your actions throughout the year.

Join me and learn how you can choose your own Word of the Year for 2022 and how it can support you in creating positive change in your life.

To find out how to work with me visit www.camillafellasarnold.com/creativepower

For episode transcripts visit: https://camillafellasarnold.com/category/podcast/

PDF of inspiration for choosing your word of the year: https://geni.us/wordoftheyearpdf2022


Welcome to episode 7 of Creative Power and welcome to 2022! 

Now as we’re at the start of a New Year, a lot of people’s thoughts will turn to New Year’s resolutions. And if you’re one of those people looking to change or improve something this year, I highly recommend you go back one episode and listen to my top five tips for building a daily practice of anything if you haven’t already. 

In that episode I shared tips that I have learnt from building my own daily practices in a way that was much more sustainable than trying to change everything overnight a la New Year’s resolutions. You see, I’m an all or nothing kind of girl and I generally want to jump right into something and go for it when I’ve decided which can be fun and exciting. 

But it can also mean you stretch yourself too far out of your comfort zone too quickly, can’t sustain it and then give up and snap back feeling even worse than before because now you’ve perceived yourself to have failed. Obviously no one wants to feel like a failure so I stopped making New Year’s resolutions and started building some more intentional, slower paced but long lasting daily practices instead. If you want to give it a listen, check out episode 6.

So while I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, I do spend a lot of time reflecting on the year that’s passed and the upcoming one too. And one thing I like to do that I wanted to share with you is come up with a word for the year. It can be any word you like but the idea is that this word sets the theme and focus for your year.

I find this quite helpful because although of course, I like to set goals as much as the next person but I find this word of the year works almost like a mantra. It is the overarching theme that informs your goals, your actions, your intentions and everything in between. So if you’re like me and not into making rigid resolutions but actually want to aim for evolution and growth over the entire year rather than ticking stuff off a list, then choosing a word of the year is the thing for you.

I’ve been thinking about my word of the year quite a bit and the word I’ve chosen for this year is Joy. I talked about this quite a lot in episode 3 about joy being the driver for creativity and I mentioned how I used focusing on finding the joy as my way of helping me move through burnout. 

It’s been quite a revolutionary practice for me and I’m definitely not done chasing the joy or integrating being joyful in my life so I figure that in order to keep it front and centre of my mind, I’ll make it my word of the year. That way I’ll infuse it into all of my decision making. I’ll be weaving it into my goals, my dreams, my interactions, my actions… everything! So get ready for these episodes to get a lot more joyful as a result!

Of course, I don’t fully know how joy will manifest throughout the year but by keeping it as my ongoing theme, it’s something I can always come back to at any moment.

Now there’s lots of different ways you can choose your word for the year and different methods might work for different people so I’ll explain a few and hopefully, you’ll find your word jumps right out at you. When it does, when it feels like a yes – claim it! That’s your word of the year!

So the simplest way to find your word and this probably will work well for you if you’re an intuitive person is to get comfortable and still. Sit with the intention that your word for the year will come to you with ease. Do some deep breathing, let your mind empty and then listen inwards. Don’t force it, allow it to come to you.

What comes to mind? It could come to you as a word or a feeling. Maybe in shapes, colours or a visual. Be open to your word coming to you in any of those forms or even something else. If you like to do meditations guided or otherwise, frame this as your question when you go into your meditation and see what comes out of it.

And if lots of ideas and feelings and visuals pop up, feel them out. Which one feels right? So often we forget to tune into ourselves but the will be there within you.

Another way you could find your word of the year and this is how I chose my word, is to think about how you want to feel. What do you want more of in your life this year? Is it joy like me? Maybe its abundance, sunshine, flow, confidence, passion, adventure… could be anything! 

Think over the last year and perhaps make a list of things that happened both good and bad. When you write about those negative things, think about how you would like to feel instead and write those positive words down.

And for those good moments of last year, sum up how you felt in a word for each of them. Then look over this list and circle any that really jump out at you. Don’t agonise over this. If you find yourself hesitating over a word then move on because it’s not the right fit. We want our word of the year to feel like a great big YES!

You may find you circle a few words – that’s okay. You don’t have to choose your word in one sitting, you can leave it to simmer for a few days and come back to it with fresh eyes. In fact, if you’re really unable to decide then I recommend that you absolutely do walk away and come back to it later. Giving yourself that space will let you think much more clearly and you’ll be able to narrow it down much easier.

If you are into journaling, try answering these questions without overthinking it too much. Simply allow your pen to flow. Here are the questions:

  • What feelings do you want more of in 2022?
  • What feelings do you want less of in 2022?
  • How do you feel now at the start of the year?
  • How do you want to feel by the end of the year?

These questions can highlight and help you get to the heart of how you really feel and how you want to feel so you can bridge the gap. You’ll probably notice as you answer those questions that certain words, feelings or phrases keep popping up. Note these down because they are the clues that will lead you to your word or theme of the year. 

If you find you’ve got a few words that are fairly similar, think about how you could link them together. Maybe there’s some kind of symbol or metaphor that could represent them all that you could use, almost like a totem for the year.

Another way you could find your word of the year is through visualisation. I love visualisation as a tool and I think one of the best ways to help you find your word of the year using it would be to visualise your perfect day. And when I say visualise the perfect day, I mean REALLY visualise it. Go into great detail, take your time. Put on some relaxing music or a meditation track and really feel this one deeply.

Get multi-sensory with the visualisation too. It’s not just about where or what time you wake up, it’s about the feel of the sheets, maybe it’s the silk pyjamas you’re wearing or the perfume you wore to bed Marilyn Monroe style! Have fun with this, it is YOUR perfect day after all.

Once you’ve visualised your perfect day or perhaps you’ve written it as a diary entry, think about how you feel during this perfect day. What themes can you see in the day about how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking or doing. If your perfect day involves lots of activities, maybe choosing a word that represents adventure or action would work well for you.

One thing to remember when you’re choosing a word is that although I’ve talked a lot about words that feel positive and like a YES, you can also choose a word that scares you a little bit.

Because chances are, you want to change something about your life, you want to grow and evolve in some way over the course of the year. And let’s be honest, change isn’t easy! So it’s okay to choose a word that you’re not sure you have a roadmap for working with it. It’s okay to choose a word that reminds you to stretch out of your comfort zone if that’s what you need.

As long as you’re choosing your word based on what you want to achieve and what you feel you want and need out of the year then it will be perfect, regardless of how you feel about it right this minute. 

Because I’m going to be honest, I’ve chosen joy so it means everything in my life is going to go through a lens where I ask myself where is the joy in it. EVERYTHING will be dissected and put back together again in a new shape. I genuinely don’t have any idea how to do that but I’m leaning into feeling excited and joyful about continuing this path I’ve set myself on to rebuild my life in a truly joyful way. 

I don’t have a roadmap, I don’t know what stuff will come up as a result of me focusing on joy for the year. I have no idea what might change or what possibilities I’m creating in choosing this word but I’m open to seeing what happens and most importantly, I’m committed to seeing it through.

Now before I hand this over to you, the last thing I want to say is once you’ve chosen your word, don’t just write it down and forget about it. Tell a friend to keep yourself accountable. Write it on a postcard and pin it up somewhere you can see it everyday. 

Better yet, make a vision board or collage either with good old scissors and glue or use Canva on the theme and hang it where you can look at it regularly so it embeds in your subconscious. Get yourself on Etsy and buy some colourful artwork with the word on or with designs that represent it to you. 

Now if you’re really stuck for ideas for your word of the year I’m going to link in the show notes to a pdf with some ideas that might inspire you. And on that note this is where I hand the challenge over to you. Will you be choosing a word for this year? What is your word?

I’d love to hear what you’ve chosen and how you plan to call more of it into your life. Don’t forget to connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or come join me in my Mighty Network- just search for Creative Power and you’ll find the group and let me know what word you’re choosing!

So that’s it for today. Good luck finding your word of the year and I’ll see you in the next episode!

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