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!

 

from skeptic to advocate: an inspiring year in the life of my childhood bestie

When you let go of the when and how, magic arrives in the here and now. | LivLane.com

If you’ve ever doubted the power of intention, ever scoffed at the value of making a vision board or selecting a “word of the year,” you’re not alone.

Sarah Rudell Beach questioned it all, too – until she did something really brave. She let go. And I can’t wait for you to hear what happened next!

Sarah’s the thinking woman’s guide to mindfulness over at Left Brain Buddha and a revered high school teacher, and I’m thrilled that she’s our newest contributor to Project Light Year 2015. A year ago, she was just getting started as a Project Light Year participant – and she arrived with a bagfull of doubt. She loved the idea of spending a whole year focused on personal growth with a virtual tribe of kindreds, but she was hesitant about some of the subject matter. Intention? Angels? Really?

I wasn’t surprised. Sarah was my first best friend. She was super-smart even at five, when we first met – a planner, a problem solver, a pragmatic playmate (her Barbie dolls all had successful careers and 401Ks). These traits have served her well over the years. But they didn’t leave much room for magic and mystery.

Liv & Sarah - January 2015

Liv & Sarah – January 2015

Last January, as the Project Light Year tribe dove into cultivating the power of intention and conspiring with the universe to co-create awesomeness in our lives, Sarah did something really brave. She jumped right in. Rather than bristle at how woo-woo that all sounded, she decided to take a chance and just try it. She set her intentions. She made a vision board. She opened up. And she couldn’t believe what transpired.

Last week, as part of our kick-off to another magical year, I interviewed Sarah about her leap from lingering doubt to dramatic developments in paving her path to deeper joy. It was meant just for Project Light Year participants, but we’ve decided to share it with all of you today, in hopes you feel inspired to let go a little bit, to trust yourself a little more, to experience magic and mystery like never before.

To download the 23-minute interview with Sarah, just click here.  Or to listen online, click here

We’re just getting started in Project Light Year 2015. There’s still time to set doubt aside and make 2015 the year you light up your life. Find all the details here.

How To Make Next Year Your Best Year Yet

photo by amy zellmer for savvymn

‘Tis the season to dream big. As everything and everyone slooooows down this week, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past year and prepare – heart, mind and soul – for the next.

Are you simply wishing for a better year than last? You deserve so much better, love. Rather than waiting to “see what happens” in 2013, creating a vision board allows you to see what can happen in 2013. Start to envision what you really want out of this next year – from totally practical to seemingly preposterous! Start looking for and clipping out words and images {from magazines, catalogs, the web}. I typically place them on a poster board like the photo above, but others use sheets of paper and even frame them.

As you place the images and words on your board, take them to heart. Got a picture of a poolside cabana that makes you swoon? Close your eyes and envision how it would feel to be right there; feel the sun on your toes, the fruity drink in your hand, the comfy pool chair cushion beneath you. You don’t need to know how you’ll get there; in fact, doubts and questions muddy up the process. This is your invitation to just trust that anything you desire can happen. This is also absolutely the hardest part. We’re conditioned to think wonderful things and experiences are hard to achieve. I still fall into this trap all the time and have to remind myself of the power my thoughts and feelings have over my reality.

I know it sounds kinda woo-woo, a little pollyanna. But I’ve seen it work time and time again – for me and so many others. I usually keep my vision board in a place where I’ll often pass by it, like in my closet, so it can serve as a subtle reminder of the desires I envisioned at the start of the year. And I’m often amazed when I review it 12 months later to see the things that have made their way into my life – feelings, experiences, material things. Here’s a fun one: in 2010, I saw the words “Creative Connection” in a magazine and cut them out – thinking I’d like more creative connections with like-minded women. Well, not only did that happen in wonderful ways – but I later got an invitation to speak at the Creative Connection conference {which, it turned out, that magazine clipping had actually be promoting!}.

Do yourself a favor and spend this week envisioning a spectacular year ahead. Make it come alive in pictures. Feel it come alive within you. In this moment, anything is possible. Cheers to you and your great, big dreams!

*****

If letting more people know about your ideas, expertise or business is one of your desires for 2013, keep in mind that The Limelight Letters launch January 7th and the early bird price for my next session of BuzzWorthy ends Dec. 31!