Choose Your Word for the Year
Guest Column by Steve Angerman
Steve Angerman, one of the founders of Running Fit, has been participating in my Leader’s Connect groups for several years. In December, he introduced a very interesting exercise which I would like to pass on to my readers. He showed us all how to conceive of and select a “word for the year”, which will serve to motivate and encourage us during good times and bad. The following is Steve’s description of how he developed this exercise and how you can implement it in your own life.
Since my sister’s husband died several years ago, she has developed a practice of choosing a specific meaningful word which will serve as her focus and inspiration for the coming year. I have adapted this practice in my own life and find it very useful. Today I’d like to share my process with you.
The first year after her husband’s death, my sister chose the word “explore”.
It became her lead as she faced new challenges exploring her emotions, beliefs, relationships, and gratitude along with hopes and dreams.
Since then, along with my wife and some of my close friends, I have adopted this practice. I find choosing a word provides, not only focus and inspiration, but also engages intent and motivation throughout the year. Based on my word, I develop goals in a variety of facets in my life such as family, health, vocation, and spirituality.
In 2017, my word was “Grow”. As the year promised to be full of changes, “grow” seemed to be an appropriate inspirational word. My 97 year old mother was weakening (she would die in late January). I had made the decision to retire from my company in the spring. I had accepted a volunteer position at our church to work with the youth. These were the known changes. As it were, the universe brought me several more challenges throughout 2017. I did not want to rest in my comfort zone. I wanted to put an emphasis on growth in my life.
Now a s I journal and develop my to-do lists for the day, week or month, I reflect on my word .
As I write my thoughts in times of private reflection, I look at how my word is floating in the sea of my life. As a family, we all choose a word. These words become the foundation for heartfelt chats with family members and friends.
Some tips on choosing your word
- Through times of quiet thought, meditation or prayer reflect on what your word should be.
- Try on your word over coffee in the morning or in the still of the night? Does it work for you?
- Think about what is important in your life, your whole life. Think about your roles and the person you want to be and what is important to you. Ask yourself why this important.
- Choosing a word can be a point of conversation with a significant individual in your life, a group, or it can be a totally internal process.
- It’s your choice. It’s your word. Pick it carefully and use it well.
For several years, I have participated in Rob Pasick’s leadership groups. This year, I led an exercise where everybody in the group chose their word for 2018. Why not join in?
- What is your word for 2018?
- With whom do you want to share this word?
- Why is it important you?
A note from Rob: The word that I chose for the year is “self-acceptance”. I would be interested in hearing from you what word you have selected. ~Dr. Rob