Word of the year - a powerful new year's tradition

by Erica Quam

New Year's Resolutions - an outside in approach

There's nothing inherently wrong with setting new year's resolutions. It's great to have goals to work towards and things that you want to change in your life. The problem with resolutions that I've set is that they bring out my perfectionist tendencies even more. And when I fall short of these resolutions (which I always do) I end up getting down on myself and usually end up blowing them off completely by February. Bad habits return and I adopt a familiar "oh well" attitude.

One of my mentors provided a simple explanation for this. When we set resolutions, we are trying to DO this thing so we can HAVE this other thing so we can BE more of this other thing. For example, it's common to set resolutions to workout more. Essentially, by working out more (do) we hope to (have) more self esteem so we can (be) more confident.  This approach skips the most important part of the equation...which is who we want to become in the process. To be more confident, we need to work from the inside out...instead of the outside in.

Working out because we think we should rarely leads to any lasting changes. If we aren't confident, then the first time we skip a workout, we'll get down on ourselves, then our self esteem plummets, and we actually end up less confident than before - because we weren't able to live up to our own expectations.

There are plenty of obstacles that get in the way of our resolutions. By setting up all these should's and have to's we end up facing these obstacles in a way that sets us up for failure.

Real transformation happens when we focus on who we want to become - the BE level - first. When we shift our focus to becoming we open ourselves up to a full spectrum of potential. 

How do we become?

We become...by setting an intention, taking small steps forward, and acknowledging our progress along the way. The cool thing about the process of becoming is you don't have to have it all figured out or even know the exact actions that you will take to get "there".  

It doesn't mean that you don't have to do anything. You always have to take action for any change you want to happen in your life. This approach simply opens up all the possibilities to help you get there.

WORD of the year

1. To get clear - allow yourself the time and space to get quiet.

To get clear on who or what you want to become, it may help you to take some time to reflect on your past year. Write down a few things that you are proud of or grateful for that happened in 2014 - this shifts you from your head to your heart.

2. Word of the Year - an inside out approach

Words are powerful. Words evoke images, emotion, and even energy. Choose one word. Having one word provides clarity. It keeps things simple. It is meaningful.

Read over a list of words to give you some possibilities and ideas. Highlight, circle, or write down the words that "speak to you" or you keep coming back to.

Resist choosing the word that "sounds best" if you choose it...the word that you think you "should" choose. Consider choosing the word that questions or challenges you. Maybe it's the word that you're just not quite sure why it keeps coming up for you.

3. Align yourself with your word

Write your word on a piece of paper and look at each day. Put it on your refrigerator, post it in your office, or have it in your car. Your subconscious will do most of the work. 

4. Reflect

Reflect and observe any changes or progress you notice in your life at the end of the day, the week, the month, & definitely at the end of your year.

Share your comments below. Have you chosen a word of the year before? How did it work for you? What's your word for this year?