Choosing a Word for the Year

Have you ever chosen a word or phrase at the beginning of the year and used it as a guide through the rest of the year?

Last year on January 1, my friend Gloria shared her word for the previous year and her phrase for the coming year. I had heard about doing this, but had never been interested enough to try it. Then she explained how it helped give her some focus for the year and a way to reflect back on how she was doing.

from my vision wall
from my vision wall

When we talked on the phone almost exactly a year ago, I decided to listen throughout the day and see if a word stood out to me. However, as things often happen, the moment I decided to have a word, I heard it. “Surrender.” I was horrified. I wanted a word with spark. Something that felt like I could take some action and make big things happen. I knew it was the right word as soon as I felt my resistance. Surrender was perfect to guide me through my year of  letting go and allowing my life to unfold with ease. I can say right now that I am happier than I have ever been in my whole life.

So. Surrender has been my guiding word for all of 2013. Sometimes I remembered. Most of the time I conveniently forgot. But, it still played a huge role in helping me learn to let go of how I think things should be and let magic happen. A big theme for me the past few years has been about compassion and gentleness toward myself. I am letting go of perfectionism and learning to embrace myself as the powerful, loving being that I am. This takes Surrender. My motto: Life is Messy. Big M Messy. Love is Messy. Being Authentic is usually Messy. And Messy isn’t a bad thing. I am learning that Messy is where a real life happens.

drawing by Ian, 2001, age 5 1/2
also on my vision wall

A few weeks ago, I was walking home and thinking about how Surrender showed up throughout the year for me. The year was coming to an end and I was  thinking about what I had learned. In the process, I briefly wondered what my word for next year might be. “Fight.” I heard. Achh!! (insert swear word) Again I experienced a strong reaction. Who wouldn’t? Unless you were a boxer or something. But, I can see how this is the perfect word for me for 2014.

Not very many people know, but underneath my calm, loving exterior, is a fighter. There is a blazing fire inside of me. I feel very strongly, feel things deeply and hurt for those who are hurting. I get angry and anger was scary growing up, so I haven’t allowed some aspects of my true nature to surface. I have to say I am terrified of fighting. However, at this moment in time, this is what I am being called to do. I have no idea what it’s going to look like, but I do know that the first fight is for myself. I have to retrieve myself and live as authentically as possible.

I was in the middle of writing this post when Nicole Cody, one of my favorite writers, posted about this same topic over at Cauldrons and Cupcakes. I encourage you to read her post What’s Your Power Word for 2014.

Do you have a New Year ritual you would like to share? I would love to hear about it. Do you have a word for 2014? I would love to hear that, too.

I talked with my friend Gloria for an hour today discussing our successes, surprises, failures, disappointments and wisdom from 2013. Then together we looked forward to who we are actively becoming as we head into 2014. Her phrase for 2014 is brilliant and I am looking forward to seeing it play out in her life. I hope you are as excited as I am about new possibilities. It’s already looking to be a powerful year.



4 Responses

  1. Melissa

    I like this idea a lot – very cool!

    • sweetveg

      Great! Let me know if you decide to do it, too. I would love to hear what your word or phrase is.

  2. The Dainty Pig

    Wow – great post Teresa 🙂

    Love your word for last year, and for this year too. I can absolutely hear you on “Not very many people know, but underneath my calm, loving exterior, is a fighter.” This resonates so much with me.

    So happy to find some time to catch up on blog reading. Love your posts.

    xoxo Jess

    • sweetveg

      Thank you! I am enjoying your posts as well. Ceylon cinnamon is incredible and I only found out because of you. 🙂