Wow, we’ve all been through a couple of challenging years, no?
Life has changed for all of us in so many ways, and it can be easy to focus on the not-so-pleasant. But there is always power in focusing on what we did accomplish, how we did make it through, and what we are inviting more of for next year.
A few years ago, I started claiming my “word of the year” right before the new year. This became an important ritual, as “resolutions” never really rang true. I have seen clients abandon (and I have also personally abandoned) a resolution at the first or second step in an undesired direction. For example, if I had a resolution I would work out five times a week and missed a few times, I would be down on myself and stop working out completely. I have heard from many clients who have done the same when they declared resolutions.
I decided I would move to choosing a word of the year a few years ago, instead of resolutions, and that has invited in much more joy!
My word for 2021 was “alignment.” I lost my mom in May of 2020, who was my best friend of 50 years, and I felt anything but aligned. I have to say looking back on this year there are a lot of things that came into alignment. I have meditated every single day this year—almost made it to 365! I had a new website and brand created that feels much more aligned to who I am now. I took over a year of shamanic training which helped me connect and align with Earth on a whole new level. I deepened the alignment within the relationships I hold dear. People who were not in alignment with me are not in my life anymore. I gave myself new freedoms to say “no” when something did not feel in alignment instead of continuing to be the people-pleaser I am known for being.
In hindsight, everything truly did revolve around this word for me. It was much more loose and freeing than a “resolution.” I feel choosing a word sets us up more for success rather than disempowering us or making us feel badly about something we did not accomplish.
My word for 2022 is “dance.” Dance has always been a huge part of my life, starting with dance lessons when I was six, the blessings of dance recitals at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, clubbing in my teens and 20s, and as an adult practicing yoga dance and then being part of a belly dance troupe for five years. Dance sets me free—and wow, I feel like I could use some of that. When I dance, nothing else exists and I truly feel like my soul takes over. With all the changes and “alignment” from 2021, I feel a little more freedom, expression, and fun is what my soul is seeking. To ensure I dance, I got my sweetheart and I couples dance lessons we can do online. It is a first step to get us moving!
Here is a little exercise to determine what your word is for 2022—instead of resolutions. I would love if you would share it with me here in the comments.
- Contemplate this past year. What was wonderful in it and what do you feel you could use a little more of? This is not about judgment—this is about noticing.
- Put your hand on your heart and take some slow breaths, thanking yourself for making it to this point in the year and for taking this time for contemplation.
- Write down words that come to you that felt really good from this last year. Write down words that come to you when you think of what you would like more of in your life.
- Look at your list a few times and see if one or two words jump out at you.
- Dive deeper—you might gravitate toward one word or a few might resonate. If you have one word that sees to jump off the page, awesome, you’ve got your word—congratulations! If you notice a few words, put your hand on your heart again, close your eyes, take a breath in, exhale, and say the first word. Repeat this with each word. See which one causes more of an internal reaction. It might be tears of joy, chills, or a simple knowing.
- Congratulate yourself on choosing your word. If you like, make a list of ways you can think of to invite more of this into your life.
I would love to know what you are inviting in more of for the new year. I am wishing you all the best and am sending many blessings your way. I will be dancing the new year in and thinking of all the lovely people I have met and articles I have read through Elephant Journal and will be giving a whole lot of gratitude!