2012 Word Of The Year

When the year changes many people set resolutions – things they will do (or not do) to make this year different. I stopped doing resolutions a few years ago and started doing a word of the year instead, a word to inspire and guide me through the year. In 2010 my word was intention and in 2011 it was engage. I’m sure I had one in 2009, but I didn’t have a blog then to help me remember what my word was.

I started thinking about my word for 2012 about half way through December. In the past picking my word of the year involved dedicating a chunk of time to the process. I sat down with a worksheet, thought about it and reviewed my choices and decided what felt right for the New Year.

This year the process was completely different. Each time I the concept of a 2012 word of the year popped into my head it was immediately followed by the word “create.” Since it continued to happen, I knew that “create” was my word for 2012 and didn’t do the longer process with the worksheet.

I don’t exactly know why my word of the year process was different this year. Perhaps I’m hearing that small quiet voice and recognizing it as something to pay attention to, instead of ignoring. And I’m not as tied to needing a process laid out by someone else to pick my exact right word of the year. I trust myself more than in previous years.

Regardless of the process, my 2012 word is “create.” And in December it appeared in my vocabulary in a significant way even before I started thinking about my word of the year. It popped into my head one day in the form of a question: “What do I want to create today?” And I was able to answer it with clarity and enthusiasm!

“What do I want to create today?” is how I start each day now and sometimes how I end my day. It gives me a direction or a path to follow each day and energy for it too!

Last year I set several specific strategies about how I could be “engaged.” Right now my only strategy is to ask myself “What do I want to create today?” each day and be open what comes up.

There’s a lot of energy behind the word “create.” So, I’m excited to see how this word (and the energy) will appear for me in 2012.

Have you selected your word for 2012? I’d love to know what it is! Leave it in the comments below.

Year-End Review of “Engage”

My 2011 word of the year was “engage.” You can see the other posts about it here and here. Today is a year-end review of “engage.”

Looking back, the funny thing about my 2011 word of the year being “engage” is that I learned the most from where I wasn’t engaged or when I stopped being engaged. My coach says “who you’re being anywhere is who you’re being everywhere.” And it’s certainly true.

Many of my strategies for being engaged revolved around setting intentions and goals. And that’s a great way to tackle being engaged (or any goal). I apparently am very tied to how I see things going. Meaning – when I set intentions or goals I have a very clear idea how I see them working out. Which is ok and probably to be expected. However, when things don’t work out quite the way I thought they would I’d disengage.

Yep, instead of re-evaluating the situation I’d throw my hands up and say “well that didn’t work. I guess I should try something entirely different.” And set a new intention or goal without really reviewing why things didn’t go the way I expected or thinking about what could be slightly tweaked or changed to allow it to still work – or work next time. Apparently I was an all or nothing type girl this year.

I’ve struggled this year with things not going the way I expected and beat myself up over it quite thoroughly. Negative self-talk – ohh, I had a lot of that this year. High expectations with little wiggle room with how to reach those goals, yep, got that too! Do you see the problem? I didn’t for quite a while and when you add high expectations with no flexibility and negative self-talk you end up with a lot of beating yourself up!

The past month has been the best and worst month this year – and I type that with a smile on my face. I looked back at the year and saw the patterns – beat myself up about it and then forgave myself. That last part can be the hardest part to do – forgiving yourself – and it’s the most important. It lead to me to letting go of a seemly small and insignificant obligation that I’d been thinking about letting go of for months. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it because of what I perceived as other people’s expectations of me. Letting go of that one obligation seems small, but was huge. I was actually putting myself first and letting go of expectations (mine and others).

That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is that I don’t know what the future will hold and despite my best efforts, I can’t plan it into exactly what I want it to be. So, maybe I can enjoy the ride a bit more. And enjoying the ride means letting go of how I think things should go and enjoying them as they are.

This doesn’t mean I’m not going to set goals, intentions or make changes. It does mean that if those goals, intentions or changes don’t have the exact end result I anticipate then I’ll spend less time being disappointed and upset about it and more time enjoying the unanticipated outcome.

Part of the process this month was done with my coach (the friendly different perspective and prompting was invaluable) and resulted in me writing about what happens now after all the self evaluation, disappointment, anger and (of course) forgiveness. I’ll end today with the last line of the page I wrote:

I don’t know exactly what the future will hold or exactly the path I will take to reach my goals – and that’s ok – the path will unfold as I go and I can stop and look around and enjoy it a bit more.

2011 Word of the Year – Update

It’s been exactly six months since I wrote about selecting my 2011 Word of the Year: engaged. So, this is a good time to review how this word has challenged me and how I’m doing with the strategies I came up with.

I still find myself struggling a bit with the word “engage” and found that default settings aren’t called that for nothing. Anytime you’re trying to change your default, you need to work on it. I’ve been reminded of this a few times so far this year.

I still struggle with jumping from one task to another. Generally it’s to check email or facebook or something like that “really quick.” The good news is that I more readily recognize when I’m doing it. The bad news is that I sometimes don’t realize it until a half hour has gone by. Yesterday I downloaded a tool recommended to me by a friend. One feature of the tool is to watch and time what sites you visit. If you spend too much time (you can set this) on a non-productive site, it will let you know.

Another default setting is the tendency to withdraw into myself when I’m in a new or uncomfortable setting. Like I said six months ago, I like to get a lay of the land before I participate. I’m doing better with this one. I’ve consciously dove into conversations a couple times when I wasn’t completely comfortable. There are times when I’m uncomfortable and I don’t dive in, but I recognize those situations more as they occur and look at what it is that makes me uncomfortable. Looking into why I’m uncomfortable has been extremely useful.

I’m doing pretty good with staying involved in activities that I feel fully engaged in. Even when I find myself coming up with excuses not to go before hand, they tend to be pretty rewarding. Sometimes the reward is that I felt the uncomfortableness and went and had a good time anyway! I found one of my favorite groups this way.

So, how am I doing with those strategies I came up with?

  • Set an intention for each meeting/event/outing I attend. I don’t always do this. The times when I don’t set an intention, I tend to have a more frustrating experience. However, when I do set an intention things go pretty well. Sometimes the intention is simply to have a good time and that’s enough. Intention setting for meeting, events and outings is important to me because they remind me why I am there and what I hope to accomplish.
  • Only attend meetings/events/outings that I have a high potential to feel fully engaged in. I’ve done a good job with this one. I stopped attending a meeting I really enjoyed, but didn’t feel fully engaged in to try another meeting that I thought had a bit more engagement potential. It paid off! I love attending the new meetings and am fully engaged. And, I continue to sign up for events that are outside of my comfort zone, but I feel have potential.
  • Set an intention for each day. I haven’t done this one for a while. The main reason is I generally had the same intention for each day: I am fully engaged in each task. Actually, I think I’ll write that down and post it in my office right now (see the picture above).
  • Meditate daily. I did this daily for about a month and for some reason stopped. This is definitely something I want to recommit to.
  • Set goals for each week. About two weeks ago I pulled out my six month goal list and broke it down into individual tasks and assigned them to specific days. This has worked out pretty well for me.
  • Set goals at the beginning of each day (or the end of the previous one). In April I got an accountability partner. We talk each morning and tell each other our goals for the day and how we did with the previous day’s goals. This has been a GREAT help to me. I found it was even more useful when I made sure I had my goals for the day listed before we got on the call so I wasn’t coming up with them as we talked. That’s where setting up the tasks in advance really paid off. Some things still get moved, but they all get rescheduled.

These are the strategies that I’m recommitting to:

  • Set an intention for each meeting/event/outing I attend.
  • Only attend meetings/events/outings that I have a high potential to feel fully engaged in.
  • Meditate daily.
  • Set goals for each month based on my long term goals.
  • Set goals at the beginning of each day (or the end of the previous one).

Did you select a word of the year? How are you doing with it?

2011 Word of the Year

In my last post I wrote about my 2010 word of the year.  In this post I’m going to share how and why I picked my 2011 word.

I started my 2011 word of the year search by looking at a list of possibilities and picking out the ones that grabbed my attention.  Those words were: growth, presence, attention, focus, present and engaged.  After thinking about the list for a bit I narrowed it down to three: presence, present and engaged.

I thought about how the words are similar for me.  They all demand that I am fully involved in whatever activity I’m doing.  This is something really want to work on this year.  After my first month working from home I realized how much time I spend jumping from one task to another without really focusing.  I also tend to multi-task, which doesn’t always work out for me, neither item gets what it really needs: my full attention.

The word I selected is “engaged”.  It speaks to me the most.

This word will challenge me a bit this year.  You see, I have a tendency to withdraw into myself when I’m in a new or uncomfortable setting.  I like to get a lay of the land before I participate and that can take a while.  This word challenges me to be involved in any setting I’m in.

This also means I need to stop multi-tasking and jumping from one task to another.  It challenges me to focus on whatever I’m currently doing.

Being “engaged” also means letting go of or saying no to activities I don’t find myself fully engaged in.  This allows me to say no, or not now, to at least one thing I’m currently involved in.  It also gives me a new lens to look at other possible activities through.  If I don’t think it’s something I will be fully engaged in, then I won’t participate.  This doesn’t mean that I get to say no to all activities outside my comfort zone!  Instead, I’ll look for activities that I am excited about (regardless of my comfort zone).

I like setting myself up for success whenever possible, so I came up with some strategies.  They are:

  • Set an intention for each meeting/event/outing I attend
  • Only attend meetings/events/outings that I have a high potential to feel fully engaged in.
  • Set an intention for each day
  • Meditate daily
  • Set goals for each week
  • Set goals at the beginning of each day (or the end of the previous one)

I’m excited to see how “engaged” will focus and challenge me this year.

Have you selected a word of the year?  If so, let me know about it in the comments!


This post is a little different than my others.  Last year I picked a word for the year instead of New Year resolutions.  This is how my 2010 word wound itself through my year.

Last year when I started to think about what my word for 2010 would be, the word “intention” kept popping up.  Initially, I thought this meant I needed to set an intention to find my word.  The more I thought about my word, the more I heard “intention”, but that just couldn’t be my word, it was too big.

So, I looked up “intention” to find a word that was similar, but felt smaller. Nothing I found felt right.  I kept coming back to “intention” and in January realized that “intention” was my word for 2010.  I heard somewhere that if you’re not growing, you’re dying.  I think there’s a lot of truth to that and I wanted to keep growing.

It was a year of big changes for me.  Over the course of the year I tackled many fears and learned to trust my intuition.

I hired a life coach to help me find a new career.  Anyone from the outside looking in would have said I had a good career and great job.  They would have been right too, I did have a great job, and I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t right for me anymore.  So, I set an intention to find something that was right for me.

I made the biggest change while working with my coach: I decided to become a life coach.

This decision was an extremely scary step for me.  Who was I to think that I could successfully be a life coach?  After all, I’m a left brained analytical person! My inner critic was especially loud one day while I was driving.  It told me that if I took this step I was going to be a huge failure.  Identifying that voice as a fear, and NOT reality, helped me handle the situation. I do have the skills to be a life coach; I just wasn’t using most of those skills at my job.

From the outside, the biggest change was leaving my job at the beginning of December to focus on my life coach training and to start my own business. This was going to happen in February, after my training completed, but my intuition told me that it needed to happen sooner (and that voice wouldn’t go away no matter how many times I asked it to).  So, I trusted my intuition and made it happen three months earlier.

Intention was a really powerful word for me this year.  Without being conscious of it I evaluated where I was to where I wanted to be and, most importantly, took steps to get there.

I continue to set intentions and take steps to make my life what I want it to be.  It might not be perfect, but I’m enjoying the process.