Choose a word, change your year

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Now that we’re a week into January, the holidays are behind us and a big, promising new year is stretched out ahead. Lots of women I speak to find themselves asking how they can make this the great year they yearn for. 

Rather than make some quick resolutions — that even with great intentions are hard to sustain — they wonder what they can do to make this their best year ever. They ask what key actions they can take that will have impact. They wonder how to get started. And they are concerned about how can they sustain momentum.

If you relate — if you want to be more aware and awake in your life so you stop drifting and start making the changes you want — try these suggestions:

1. Choose a word of the year to guide you

It may sound simple, but when you take the time to thoughtfully choose a word to guide you for the year ahead, amazing things happen.

Last year I wrote about my process for choosing a word that embodies layers of meaning and really nails it for where you are in your life right now. I offer instructions that you can easily follow, as well as examples to inspire you. Here's how you can pick your powerful word for this year.

2. Stop looking for quick fixes

We all wish there were magical ways to make change fast. And we all know that in order to make important changes — and for them to stick — time and commitment are required. When you acknowledge and accept that the changes you want to realize — everything from weight loss or better health, to a more harmonious relationship, to a less chaotic pace of living, to having more satisfaction at work — will take time and focus to shift, you will be able to take the small, deliberate, consistent steps each day that will add up to big change over time.

3. Start saying “no” 

When you have a clear word for your year and you are ready to take small, consistent action in your life to live guided by your word, you will quickly realize that you must do less to be able to bring attention and focus to what really matters. 

This one is tough for many women who consider themselves accomplished multitaskers, get excited about new ideas all the time, and/or recognize that they tend to be people-pleasers. 

The truth is that we all have limited time and limited energy. This is the perfect time to start saying “no” to things that spread you too thin or are not in alignment with your priorities. This may feel uncomfortable, but you do not need to apologize when you say “no.” You can simply say that you have other commitments and thus are not able to help with...  do...  take on...  etc. Give it a try. With practice you can get comfortable with it, and you'll find that saying “no” will open important space for you to focus on what matters most.

4. Remind yourself of how capable you are

When doubt shows up, look back at last year and notice the times that you tried something new, were able to find courage when you needed it, or handled a challenge. Acknowledge things you learned and impact you made. All of these reminders will bolster your confidence when you need it.

5. Take consistent action

Having selected a word of the year to guide you, and preparing yourself for the time and patience needed to make meaningful change, then opening space in your life by saying “no,” and bolstering your confidence for stepping up in new ways, you will be ready for the last key step — making a commitment to take consistent action

Taking action and sustaining the commitment to continue to do so — even when you hit places of feeling discouraged or sagging motivation or lack of confidence — is the biggest challenge. It’s easy to get fired up at the start of the year. (Think about the crowds at yoga classes and gyms in January and February that thin out by March!)

The beauty of selecting a word of the year that embodies what you want for yourself this year is that you can more easily stay committed to living into it — even at the times you struggle. After all, that’s the meaning of commitment!

Are you ready to make that kind of commitment to yourself?

If you are, you will be able to look back at this current year a year from now and smile at what you created in your life!

Remember that getting support will make it easier for you to stay committed to the change you want to make, the growth you desire. Ask someone to be an accountability buddy. Attend workshops that will enlighten and inspire you. Join a group coaching program or reach out for one-on-one coaching support. 

I would love to hear the Word of the Year that you choose.

I am eager to hear about how you have selected a guiding word. Share your word in the comments below, or email me to let me know. And let me know why you chose it, and how you are stepping into making this the year that you are envisioning today.

My word for this year?

This year I chose DEPTH.

I intend to go deeper in my work with clients, my writing, and my painting. This demands that I get more support in my business, that I say “no” more often, and that I remain mindful of my intentions and honor them. I have already begun living into my word and it feels great!

I wish you a big new year — one of growth, commitment, accomplishment and joy.


If you’re looking for another way to change your year, you can consider having a coach to support you to get clear about the life and work questions on your mind — to live the big life you long for — so that you can set clear objectives and get help to step into your future with intention and commitment. If that’s something you want to explore, I welcome you to set up an Introductory Coaching Call with me. There’s no cost or obligation for us to meet. Simply complete the Coaching Inquiry Form and I’ll be in touch to make a date with you.

How a simple word can change your year

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A new year is underway! The new year arrived in New England with unusually frigid temperatures and a blizzard is underway as I write. I am grateful to be warm and dry, that our power is on, and that my family is together. I see this as a fine start to what I know will be a big year.

But, big years do not happen magically. When we drift through life without intention, as so many people do, we are unfocused and usually scattered. 

So, how can you make this year a big one? Some of us think we need to make resolutions, but you have probably read all sorts of articles about why resolutions fail — and I agree that New Year resolutions are far from the best way to make positive change in your life.

Here's what I recommend instead. Choose a word of the year.

Begin by reflecting, with clear eyes, on your life in the previous year. By getting clear, you can more easily envision what you want in the year ahead. Maybe you want more quiet in your life. Maybe you want to stretch into being bolder this year. Maybe you are ready to release old habits. Why not start now and choose 3 to 5 concepts that feel most important for this year of your life?

After you have your short list, you may see that some of the concepts are related, and you can feel which seem most on target. Getting to clarity will be the key for you to set intentions — intentions that will ignite the energy that will support you to consciously create the year you want. 

I have been focusing on my intentions and choosing a word to guide my year for several years now. And, I help my clients to do that, too. The idea is to zero in on a word that will help me stay on track as my year unfolds.

Two years ago I chose the word SAVOR as my word of the year. I knew I wanted (and needed!) to slow down, but "slow down" was not quite it. I yearned to make time to truly connect to all there was to appreciate and hold those things in my heart. SAVOR was a rich word that entailed slowing down as well as bringing a focus on gratitude. And, it meant that all of that goodness would not be forgotten. SAVOR was a great word for me, and guided that year in wonderful ways.

At the start of last year, I chose the word VIBRANT. I had been recovering from surgery and was focused on restoring robust health. But, I applied the word VIBRANT to many other aspects of my life and how I wanted to be. It entailed a stretch for me. The sign I posted in my office and looked at every day said:

VIBRANT   health  |  energy  |  creativity  |  thinking  |  service  |  action

I was motivated throughout the year to be true to my intentions for vibrancy in all of those aspects of my life. 

I invite you to join me as I focus on choosing my word for the coming year.
Here’s a brief set of steps you can follow.

Start by answering these questions:
What am I no longer willing to tolerate? 
What activities do I want to START doing this year?
What do I want to STOP doing this year?
What do I want to KEEP doing this year?
At the end of the year, what has to have happened in order for me to call the year my BEST YEAR EVER?

Next, go back to your list of up to 5 concepts you wrote down that felt most important for this year of your life. Do your answers to the questions above give you any new insights or ideas for things to swap out? (Maybe words like Presence, Friendship, Power, Risk, Freedom, Action, Openness, Love, Change, Happiness, or Trust might feel like they belong on your list. Let your intuition guide you here.) Do you see some words that feel squarely on target?

Now, narrow your list to one or two words. (I know it may be hard, but this is the time to get focused!) Write down why each word is a great choice. Consider what would be different for you every day if you chose it. Write out a short list of actual things you could create or bring into your life if you chose it. Then write down what you would cultivate as habits (or bring more focus to, if the habits are already in place) to embody the word.

Look again, and see if the right word shines clearly for you. Or, think a bit more and hone in on the word that captures what you want.

With your WORD OF THE YEAR selected, here are your next steps:

In addition to printing out and posting your word, also share it. And, ask for encouragement when you need it. It’s great to ask someone to be your partner and supporter. And, of course, commit to taking ongoing action based on your word.

So, this is my moment to share my word for 2018: LEAD

I intend to be a leader in my life, to be all that I can be in each moment. I intend to show up more and shine brightly. I intend to passionately lead my clients to create the futures they want. I intend to paint with the energy and passion of a leader, and not limit myself. 

What will it take for me to LEAD in these ways? I commit to not shrinking back, even when I move into territory that’s new for me. I intend to focus on what matters most, and commit to those things with a whole heart. I commit to taking good care of myself so that I have the energy to see my vision through, all year long.

I invite you to share the word of the year that you choose, and tell me why you chose it. Leave a comment below, or send me an email to let me know. (Bonus points for adding what it will take for you to live your word of the year.)

I wish you a momentous year filled with growth, wisdom, happiness, and all that you desire. 

Is this the year you’ll get unstuck?

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Here we are on New Year’s eve. 2018 is starting in just a few hours. This is a moment to bid farewell to 2017 and consider what you will create in your life in 2018.

I recently wrote to you with suggestions for end-of-year reflecting. If you missed it, it's not too late to do some thoughtful looking back — and taking that look will certainly inform your perspectives on the new year you are stepping into.

When we commit to making time to look with clear eyes at the year that’s ending, it helps us to be in the delicate moment of “in-between” — the space between the end of where we have been and who we can become. This is a rich moment for thought, for appreciating ourselves, and for creating a personal vision for the future. And, with a vision for the new year — whether it’s clear or less well-defined — you will be able to start setting intentions for what you want to create in your life this year.

As I have experienced over the years, there is a great deal to learn when we look clearly at our past — not to rehash or to sit with regret, but to see it all and have it inform our lives moving forward. Because we all have things to acknowledge and celebrate. And we all have things that trip us up and block us. 

Life gives us these challenges over and over  — and thus there is endless opportunity for personal growth and expansion. Some things tend to trip us up again and again, but with insight, guidance, and new approaches, we can learn to deal with them better over time. And, when new kinds of challenges show up, as they inevitably do, we are able to apply what we have learned and make our way with more insight, confidence, and ease.

Are there a few “quick-fix” steps I can rattle off to help you get past your personal blocks? 

No. 

We are complex beings. I know from diving into the work I have done over the years that it is possible to find the path to mastering challenges when these ingredients are in place:

Willingness 
You must be willing to engage in serious work. True transformation and growth occur when you are willing to embrace the mystery and go deep.

Belief 
We become what we believe. When you believe that you matter, you do not put yourself last. You are able to take steps to create what you desire in your life.

Commitment
It’s both necessary and worthwhile to build structure and space in our lives to create the future we desire. A deep commitment to yourself entails bringing the focus, and expending the effort, that are required to make important change.

This is what I teach my clients and share at my workshops, and yet I am called on over and over to return to the fundamentals of willingness, belief, and commitment as I expand and grow in my life. We never reach ”perfect“ and the learning never stops! This is ongoing work, but the beauty is that over time you will have tools to reach for, mindsets shifts to reflect back on, and strategies to employ. These help me — and can help you — to break through and climb ever higher. You can create an amazing future. You have the power to shape your life.

My intention is to bring you new and exciting ways to grow in the year ahead. Here are a number of ways I can serve you:

1. Experience coaching in a group. I will be launching a new group coaching program this year, following the success (and extended) coaching group I offered this year. Details will be coming soon.

2. Get support to make deep, lasting change. I am always happy to talk to you about what private coaching can look like for you. This is the most powerful way I can support you to get beyond the challenges that limit you to realize tremendous personal growth.

3. And, if you have a question, or an issue you are unsure about how to approach, I welcome you to drop me an email. Or, let’s make a date for a call. I am happy to help you think through what’s on your mind.

I would love to hear about significant insights you’ve had from reflecting on the last year, and the intentions you have for what you want to create in 2018. Leave a comment below, or email me to let me know. 

May this be your year to get unstuck and experience incredible growth and expansion!

Sending you heartfelt wishes for abundant happiness, love and creativity in 2018. Let’s all LIVE BIG in the year ahead.

The art of end-of-year reflection

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As the days of December — and the year — wane, we have a great opportunity to reflect on the year that's ending, and to start considering what we want to create in our lives in the coming year. 

Most of us rush through holiday preparations and celebrations. It’s easy to move on auto-pilot and find ourselves in a whole new year without having done any reflecting. And that’s a big missed opportunity. Because when we fail to slow down and take stock, we fail to live intentionally. It's like leaving unclaimed gold behind, that can inform your future in important ways.

Can you make time for thought and reflection, even at this busy time of year? Can you make some precious time for yourself a priority — and commit to giving yourself this gift?

Here’s what this commitment looks like.

Set aside an hour or two for quiet reflection. Pick a spot that’s cozy and away from distractions. Maybe that's a room you love in your home or a quiet corner of a lovely restaurant or inn. Maybe you want to spend a few hours at a spa and sit in a beautiful, quiet room, wrapped in a thick robe. Maybe you are someplace warm and can find a spot in nature to relax and think.

You may want to do this reflecting alone, or you may invite a close friend, sibling, or partner to join you. Have a notebook in hand and a favorite pen or pencil. Include a mug of warm tea or a glass of wine, light a candle, and maybe put on some soft music to create the setting that will help you sit in peace. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

What did the last year teach you?

  • How did you step outside of your comfort zone? What happened? What is your big take-away?

  • How did you cope with a challenge (or more than one challenge)? How did you navigate it? What worked well? What could have been better?

  • How did you take good care of yourself, or find any new ways to care for yourself? What positive outcomes did you get? What did you try that did not meet your expectations?

  • If you neglected self-care, what were the consequences? Do they motivate you to find ways to take better care of yourself next year?

  • What do you want more of in your life?

  • What things or activities do you want to keep?

  • What things or activities do you want to stop doing?

  • What are you no longer willing to tolerate?

What can you acknowledge and celebrate?

  • What went well that you can look back at and truly appreciate? Can you see things (big and small) that are noteworthy, that you did that had a positive impact on your life?

  • What was it about you that made those things possible? Was it courage? Did you study to achieve it? Did you ask for help, so there was less struggle? Did you trust your intuition?

  • What can you celebrate? Can you celebrate overcoming a fear? Achieving something important? Healing a sore spot in your heart? Leading with more boldness? Staying committed to something important? Stepping up in a new way?

  • Consider the ways you can celebrate these things! Don’t simply shrug them off. Can you treat yourself to an experience you have been longing for? Can you make a sign to post where you will see it that says “Bravo!”? Can you invite someone special to join you for a celebratory outing?

After you have reflected, acknowledged yourself, and celebrated the great ways that you showed up in the past year, you will be poised to consider the year ahead — with questions like:

What do you want to be next year? 
What do you want to do next year? 
What do you want to have next year? 
In short, what do you want to create in your life next year?

Answering those questions will entail another session for thought and consideration. You may want to do some journal writing about them here and there in the next couple of weeks. This is a perfect time to start to think — and dream — about the year you want to create.

Wishing you all the best for the end of this year, and abundant happiness, love, and creativity in the new year.


If you’re looking for another way to change your year, you can consider having a coach to support you to get clear about the life and work questions on your mind — to live the big life you long for — so that you can set clear objectives and get help to step into your future with intention and commitment. If that’s something you want to explore, I welcome you to set up an Introductory Coaching Call with me. There’s no cost or obligation for us to meet. Simply complete the Coaching Inquiry Form and I’ll be in touch to make a date with you.

Endings and beginnings

Here we are in mid-December. As we count down the last weeks of 2016, and before we get to New Year's eve resolution-making, it's a perfect time to think about what you want to STOP doing, in order to open up space to create in big and new ways in 2017.

What will be your big YES for 2017? What have you been wanting, or trying, or yearning to do but not been able to make it a reality or bring it into full flower? What is calling for your attention and exploration?

Has something gotten in your way of going after this big desire? Have you been pulled in too many directions? Have you avoided really going for it out of fear or doubt? These are big and important questions to ask yourself. And, this an excellent time to give yourself space to getting clear about what has been getting in your way.

Consider what changes can you make that will make space for focused action to fully realize your big YES for the new year. They may be small changes, like starting your day in a new way, or getting more sleep so you have more energy. You may realize you need to become more alert to things like not getting sucked in to long conversations that drain you, or not letting yourself go down social-media rabbit holes. Making small changes can have a big impact.

And, be aware that to say "YES" to something important you want to realize in your life, you must be ready to say "NO" — a lot. In addition to saying "No" to things and habits that you want to shift away from, you will find that you have to say "NO" to interesting ideas that will pop up, or opportunities that will come your way. As interesting as they are, they will distract you from your big YES. A big YES demands time and attention to become a reality. It's not always easy to say "No" to great things, but when you are really clear and committed to your "Yes", you'll find you can more easily say "No".

Take a little time during the last days of 2016 to ponder these ideas. You may want to do some journal writing to explore these questions. You can talk about your ideas with a trusted friend, or, consider partnering with a friend so you can support one another to do this important thinking and planning.

Wishing you a new year of clarity and focus. I'd love to hear about your big YES and how you are going for it!