Forget Resolutions! What is your Word of the Year?


And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. - Rainer Maria Rilke

Happy New Year!  It is early January and 2017 is already brimming with potential. 2016 is over and done with (thank god!) and the feeling of new possibility is palpable.  This year is going to be a great Maverick year!

This is the time when we tend to think about finding inspiration and creating change.  It is the time for resolutions, goal setting and getting things "back on track”. This can be great, but I would like to present you with an alternative…a Maverick way of doing things.

About 10 years ago, I started a tradition of setting a one word intention/theme/quality for the year, rather than setting specific resolutions and goals. It has amazed me what transitions and transformations have happened as a result.

Why not Goals and Resolutions?

Resolutions usually fail in a cloud of good intention several days into January and even the strongest willed have usually given up by St Patrick’s Day (17th March). Indeed, research from the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% of people succeed in their resolutions.  Resolutions are usually based on what people feel they should do or are based out of feeling bad about some aspect of themselves…rarely are they based on what people authentically want.

Goals on the other hand for me tend not to work as they are all about maintaining control. They are all about reaching a very specific place at a very specific time and don’t leave a lot of room for maneuvre. They work very well for some people who are very much more structured than I am.

I am always sure that there is some piece of the picture that I may not have considered or that there is an outcome that is bigger and better than I can imagine right now. Also for me, it is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

Why a single word works for me

Choosing a single word for me seems to work really well as it opens me up to so many things that by myself I might not have considered. Also, as I get older, it is far easier for me to remember a single word than it is a whole bunch of goals!

A word for the year is really a seed that I plant at the beginning of the year that allows me to grow, learn and explore and, almost astonishingly, accomplish a fair amount as well.

When I get bogged down or things get hard, it is like a mantra that brings me right back to the heart of what and who I am and where I am heading. It also works on a subconscious level to keep my mind focused on the big picture and attract in opportunities aligned with what I am wanting to accomplish.

What kind of word?

The key here is choosing a word that is authentic, that truly resonates and brings clarity. In short it should really zing!

It is often easy to choose fairly generic qualities such as Creativity or Power or Peace, but unless those words truly have meaning for you, they are unlikely to work as an intention. Pretty soon you will forget what you set.

In the past few years I have used Release, Create, Voice and Luminescence. All of these have conjured up very specific feelings or images for me and have grown, changed and brought new awareness throughout the year.

I have even had other words come up during the year to help deepen the original word. For example, in the year of “Create”, the word “Excavate” came up as I needed to dig deep internally to exorcise several internal demons and bugbears. With that done, I was much more free to Create.

Over to you

So, what could your theme or essence for 2017 be? Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Sometimes a word comes in and only stays for a while…maybe only 6 months instead of the whole year. Remember the key is that is should be an authentic choice, something that zings and brings clarity for you. Have a go and put it out there.

If you want to really explore your word and set some intentions from it, here are some more questions you might want to consider:

  1. What makes this the perfect word for you in 2017?
  2. What would be different day-to-day if you really incorporated this word into your life?
  3. How will life feel different?
  4. How will life be different on 31st December 2017 from really living your word?
  5. What are the 3 BIG goals you want to accomplish this year based on your word?
  6. How can you dig into your word to move you forward when you get stuck?

If you are truly thinking about wanting to create change in your life and unleash your superpowers this year, why not give this a go?  Plant the seed and wait to see what amazing adventure grows for 2017!


Leave a comment below and let us know what word inspires you for this coming year and why!