3 Simple Steps for Finding & Maximizing My Word of the Year

Choose Your Words Wisely

Happy 2016! At the start of each new year, I love the idea of selecting one meaningful, motivating word to serve as a personal guide for the next 12 months. And I have three simple steps to do it.

STEP 1: Choose it wisely. To choose my word each year, I first imagine how I want to feel on December 31st, looking back at what I’ve experienced and achieved. What positive theme do I want to be able to see weaving through my life as I reflect on the past year? Sometimes it helps to notice the experiences and patterns I’m tired of and want to release from, and then figure out what the flip side of that would look like. Sometimes I want to build upon awesomeness that’s begun sprouting up; I want a word that reminds me to nurture and nourish that.

STEP 2: Use it wisely. And then, throughout the year, I use my word as a litmus test. In any situation, I can ask myself if it lines up with my word of the year. If it doesn’t, that’s a good indication that I’m off-track and need to recalibrate.

STEP 3: Don’t forget it. Take it from someone who’s been there, done that. It’s a bummer to reach December 31st and realize you left your word (and, likely, dreams) in the dust. Your word of the year is meant to stick with you through thick and thin. So post it somewhere you’ll see it frequently. Paste it on your vision board. Illustrate it and frame it. Write it on your bathroom mirror with a dry-erase marker. Keep it front and center to lead the way all year long.

Last year, I chose the word SERENITY and it served me well. I wanted to point my inner compass towards feeling good in all ways – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, professionally, personally – with a constant foundation of peace and calm holding me steady through it all.

Right away last January, I had to put that word to good use. Our little guy, Tru, had been sick for nearly a month and only got worse while on our trip to Texas during New Year’s week. Once we returned home, we had three days straight of doctors appointments, pharmacy runs and blood tests. While juggling that with work and other commitments, I continually asked myself, “What are the choices I need to make to achieve serenity now?”

Sometimes, the answer was about expressing gratitude for the positives – a flexible schedule, good doctors, access to medicine, the ability to afford treatment. Sometimes, it meant taking a nap or talking to a friend on the phone while Tru rested. Sometimes, it meant choosing not to stress over unreturned emails or looming deadlines. And while we waited for test results (which wound up being inconclusive and he eventually got better), it meant not freaking out over what I didn’t know or obsessing about the possibilities, but just living in the present and celebrating any sign of progress with our little guy. By leaning on my word of the year, I surrendered to serenity and felt so much better for it.

This year, I’ve chosen a word that makes me smile from ear-to-ear…

glee - word of the year

Yep, this is my year to dance with GLEE! I knew I wanted to focus on cultivating joy this year, but that particular word didn’t feel quite right. I wanted something lighter, something brighter, something unique. I flipped through the thesaurus and when I saw “glee,” it jumped out at me. And then, I looked up the definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

“Exultant high-spirited joy,” it said. And I felt a shiver of truth and light buzz through me. There it is, I thought! GLEE is my word of the year. My guidepost for living, my companion in decision-making, my best bud in cultivating joy.

christine kane - word of the yearSo, what word will guide you this year? If you need a little extra guidance to choose your word, there are two FREE (also a favorite word!) resources that I highly recommend and thousands of people have used: Christine Kane offers an awesome online Word of the Year Discovery Tool  and Susannah Conway offers a five-day Find Your Word email class. Both are brilliant.

Wishing you a year that lives up to your highest expectations, dear hearts!

 

my birthday wish

ageless mug

We’re still recovering from a jam-packed birthday celebration for my just-turned-11 year old. An epic slumber party, a family pizza party, cards and gifts and cake and singing “happy birthday” at the top of our lungs. And Ryder beamed through it all (well, except for the times he was weeping from being so tired after the epic slumber party).

This is the way birthdays should be, in my book. A chance to connect with people we love, who love us just for being born, and then do whatever feels like a joyful shout-out to this life we get to live.

But that ain’t happening with most of my peers.

The older I get, the more I’m aware of so many women who barely want to acknowledge their birthdays. While scrolling through kind messages from Facebook friends, they’re quietly feeling like another birthday is more of a life sentence than a life celebration. One step closer to their expiration date, one day closer to not achieving all they’d hoped.

I love the way kids can’t wait to get older, thrilled to the brim by all the potential that comes with a new year. But for middle-aged women, all those candles on the cake are more likely to represent the running tally in their heads: grievances, failures, losses, set-backs, wrinkles and the crushing pressure to make the most of the years they have left.

Research shows that, on average, our happiness hits an all-time low around age 50…and then slowly rises with each passing year. The happiest people on earth are 80 and older; they’ve had a chance to make peace with their choices, to look back and see the big picture, to accept rather than fight their aging bodies, and feel grateful for – rather than pressured by – the days they have left.

But I refuse to wait that long for happiness. Yes, I’ve made mistakes. Yes, I’ve suffered loss. Yes, I’ve cried me a river. Yes, I’ve been unkind to my body. And YES – all of it made me who I am, provided wisdom for the path I’m paving, led me to deeper love and connection, made me all the more grateful for little joys. There are huge gifts in the wrinkles. I know there will be more, many more. But there will also be fireworks and delight and glorious growth. And really good cake.

When I turn 40 this year, I intend to celebrate like a kid: thrilled to the brim by the potential of what’s ahead. And when I blow out all those candles that shine a light on where I’ve been and where I’m going, I’ll make a wish for me and you: for the strength to choose happiness in the now, in the aging, in this life we get to live.

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This post is part of a birthday celebration for Susannah Conway, who asked a beautiful group of blogging friends to share our thoughts on aging as she enters her 41st gorgeous year today. My kind of party!

here’s who i’m spending 2014 with (squeal!!!)

Christmas star ornament

Merry-making is at full tilt around here. Our boys are so excited – love watching them delight in the magic of it all! But gosh, isn’t it shocking to realize 2013 is almost over?

I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s because I intentionally review my year and plan ahead for the next one. It’s so powerful. I’m already buzzing with excitement for 2014 because, for the first time, I’m leading a YEAR-LONG program designed to help brave hearts like you soulfully create your brightest year yet – and be in community with each other, exploring and sharing and adding light to your lives. Project Light Year is going to be amazing.

Project Light Year with Liv Lane and 8 "dream team" contributorsAnd today, my heart is so incredibly full as I get to introduce you to 8 amazing contributors; a virtual dream team of teachers and visionaries, intuitively and artfully helping women create their best lives. And they can teach it because they have lived it; every single one of these women has transformed her life to do what she loves, to grow from grief and hardship, to live with great purpose. Ready to meet them? Drum roll, please…

Lori Portka: Lori is pure light; she is a brilliant artist whose vibrant paintings honor the beauty of life, cultivating “happiness through art.” Her inspiring work around the art of gratitude will play a huge role in Project Light Year; if you don’t know her yet, you will fall in love with her pronto. Promise.

Susannah Conway:  Susannah is an awesome photographer and author who’s led thousands of women around the world through her soulful online classes, dedicated to leveraging creativity and self-reflection for deep healing. Totally pinching myself over her being here.

Leigh Hopkins: After two decades of working in public education reform, Leigh realized her amazing intuitive gifts could be leveraged for another kind of reform: helping women achieve a greater sense of well-being and connection to their intuitive wisdom. As founder and director of Viva Institute, Leigh is a beacon of light for so many; can’t wait for her to help participants step deeper into their inner knowing!

Kelly Rae Roberts: If you’ve stepped into a gift shop in the last several years, chances are you’ve seen Kelly Rae’s life-affirming work, given that she’s one of the most successful licensed artists on the planet. She’s a girl with a deep, giving soul; her art shows it…but I also know it. Her being here is such a gift.

Laurel Bleadon-Maffei: If it weren’t for Laurel, Project Light Year might not even exist! During an intuitive reading with her, I received guidance to bring this idea back to life – the one I’d sketched out but put on hold. I was instantly energized to finish what I’d started – and I knew Laurel had to be part of it. The messages she receives and shares from angels and spirits are beautiful (no wonder over 60,000 people have followed her on Facebook!).

Rachel Awes: Rachel is like a walking rainbow. A gifted psychologist and soulful artist, her work lifts up people from their most vulnerable places and illuminates goodness in all of our journeys. Her words are like silk on your skin and her joy is contagious. Can’t wait for the ways in which she’ll color our year together!

Michelle Stimpson: Michelle is a one-of-a-kind life coach, guiding women through positive change for over a decade with tremendous success. I’ve never met someone with more integrity and with such passion for living life to the fullest. And the ways she manifests magic in her life is so awe-inspiring; prepare to be wowed!

Carissa Paige: I have maintained for years that Carissa is a real-life fairy, feathers and glitter tucked in her knapsack along with her paintbrushes. The way her intuition and dream life lead her through art-making and storytelling mesmerizes me, and her courageous heart inspires me. So thrilled she’ll be sprinkling her fairy dust on all of us throughout 2014!

See what I mean?? Total dream team. If you’re ready to join us for 12 months of magic-making, soul-deepening, intention-creating, spirit-guiding, purpose-finding content and connection, then click here for Project Light Year. Can’t wait to shine bright with you, all year long.