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.