What’s Your Word of the Year?
I was recently asked by a close friend about my New Year's Resolutions. It's early January so this question should not have knocked me off my rocker but I was immediately hit with shame and guilt because the truth was, I hadn't given 2022 that much thought.
My partner and I just bought a house and we are getting married in October so I've kind of chalked 2022 up to be one thing: EXPENSIVE.
But hearing his resolutions about being more honest, better eye contact, and staying present inspired me to be a little more intentional about what I hope the next 365 days around the sun mean for me and my life.
I was stumbling around in my brain trying to come up with these damn resolutions. Ummm, survive? Then, during a sleepless night, right there between the "COVID CONTINUES TO RUIN EVERYONE'S LIFE" headline and the "YES, CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL YOU DUMBASS" headline on my NY Times app, the article What’s Your Word of the Year? hit me hard to my core.
Like me, this article was over Resolutions and instead, challenged you to find one word that could help guide your journey through 2022. One word?! I can do one word, people!
So I got to thinking about the things that bring me joy, what I kind of suck at, things I wish I was doing, and what it would take to actually be the rockstar my dog Lotus thinks I am. In no particular order:
- Garden and learn how to manage 12 acres of land
- Intern at a farm
- Work at a farmers market
- Roast my own coffee
- Get goats, chickens, and another dog
- Learn how to be a successful wife
- Quit offering social media services
- Learn how to surf
- Make my neighbors my community
- Get therapy for anxiety
- For the love of god, find a CPA
- Volunteer my time to important causes like domestic abuse prevention and the LGBTQ community
The word GROW came to be almost immediately. And no BS, since I have adopted this concept, the world seems just a little more manageable. Sure, Covid isn't going away anytime soon and I have no freaking idea what tomorrow will bring. Hell, today our well broke and I had to poop in my own backyard. Didn't see that coming, did you? Neither did I...
But, now armed with a word that I truly believe in, I feel just a little more able to stumble through, and hopefully conquer whatever the heck 2022 throws at me.
Checkout the article for yourself below, and for some inspo, here are the Words of the Year for each of us at Friends Do This:
- Jules’ Word: GROW
- Carolyn’s Word: INTENT
- Jordan’s Word: LET GO (which is technically two but we’ll give it to her…)
EXTRA CREDIT: After you come up with your word, tell a friend or your partner. One, it might inspire them to come up with their own magic word and two, accountability, accountability, accountability. This word should excite you! So why you gonna hold that brilliance back you selfish prick!? Share it loud and proud!
What’s Your Word of the Year?
Want to get more out of 2022? Start by picking one word that captures your values and intentions for the next year.
I first learned about this “word of the year” exercise from Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, author and lecturer at Stanford University, whose work focuses on finding hope and meaning in life’s daily challenges.
The past two years have been uniquely challenging for most people, and picking a word to guide you during the third year of the coronavirus pandemic is a good way to take back some control. The value of this word exercise is that it helps you focus on the things that are most meaningful to you and the positive changes you’d like to make in your life, no matter what 2022 has in store.
Try not to think of your word as a resolution (like “diet”) or specific goal (like “saving money”). Instead, find your word by reflecting on your favorite experiences, your hopes and dreams, and areas in your life that deserve more attention. Dr. McGonigal suggests asking yourself, “What do I want to contribute?” and “What matters most to me?”
“It’s a word that’s going to describe how I want to direct my energy,” said Dr. McGonigal, whose latest book is “The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection and Courage.”
Andy Milne, a health educator who writes #slowchathealth, is also a fan of the one-word exercise. “Unlike a resolution, a single word can’t be broken,” Mr. Milne writes. “I visualize this as a word that sits on my shoulder and gently nudges me toward a more improved version of myself.”
I’ll share my word of the year later in this newsletter. But first, here’s some advice for choosing yours.
Think about your values.
Value-oriented words (such as family, love, kindness, compassion, friendship, optimism, fitness, leadership) are a good place to start when choosing a word. Browse this word list of core values for inspiration.
Use the dictionary.
Dr. McGonigal said she liked to look up words and explore their varied definitions. For instance, the word “create” has several meanings, including “to bring something into existence; to cause something to happen as a result of one’s actions; to originate a character or role.”
Don’t stop at your first word.
Workshop the words that come to mind. Don’t stop with the word “happiness,” for example. Think about the times when you have felt your happiest. What were you doing? Who was with you? What did these experiences have in common? Instead of “happiness” you might discover a word that better reflects how you might achieve happiness — perhaps through friendship, dance, movement, collaboration, volunteering or kindness.
Think about decisions you might be making this year.
A good word is one that guides you when you’re making both small and big decisions. Should I spend my time on this? Try this new thing? Quit my job? Move to a new place? Buy this item? Spend time with this person? If your word is “fearless,” you may come up with different answers to those questions than if your word is “relax.”
Find inspiration in other people’s words.
Dr. McGonigal’s words for past years have included mentor, community, vitality and dance. This year her word is “create.”
“The past two years have felt like survival mode to me — always reacting and not feeling a lot of agency or control,” she said. “I want to focus on producing positive things through intentional effort, doing things that make a difference and that reflect who I am as a person.”
Mr. Milne’s past words include resilience, advocacy, environment, calm and listen. This year he has chosen the word refresh. He plans to refresh his mornings by not checking social media and by drinking herbal tea instead of coffee. At school, he will be switching up lessons and, in his free time, exploring new foods, books and experiences. “I’m excited to see where ‘refresh’ will take me,” he wrote.
My word this year is grow. I first thought of it this summer when I created baskets of plants to attract hummingbirds. I was surprised at how much joy and connection I felt tending to the plants and watching them bloom all summer. I remembered that as a child in a military family that moved every few years, I often reminded myself to “bloom where I was planted.”
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about the work of Carol Dweck, who coined the term “growth mind-set,” which is the belief that you can develop your innate talents and acquire new skills through hard work and input from others. That clinched it for me to choose “grow” as my word for 2022.
Share your word.
You’ll get more power from your word if you share it with others. Share it below or heck, write it down and snail mail it to us:
Friends Do This
PO Box 490
Rockland, MA 02370