Setting a theme and choosing a word for the upcoming 12 months has been a habit of mine for the last few years. The chosen word is intended to help guide energy and action for the next chapter. A process I usually go through on an annual new years trip.
My word for 2023 came pretty easily and I’ll tell you why in a bit. Firstly I wanted to review some past examples and dig into the approach.
It's good to review once in a while.
When going through this process - having done it now for a few years - thinking about words that have guided me in the past can help. Looking at what each word meant at the start of the year and what it came to mean, can shed a little light on how my perspective shifted and inform future decisions.
It may seem strange but the same word can change meaning over 12 months.
When doing this for the first time however, I remember looking at the common thread for my new year intentions. What tied everything together and what thoughts or emotions were conjured when the word was spoken. It takes a little trial and error, a few days to revisit and then decide.
2021 Word of The Year: Energy
This coming January may be a little different but usually I find a huge spurt of energy after the Christmas break. I love January: excited and energised to get back into work and a routine of sorts. In 2021, even though we were in lockdown, I wanted to carry this energy through beyond the classic February/March dip.
Energy was chosen to encourage high energy and enthusiasm. Reflecting how I wanted to show up throughout the year and apply myself to the areas I wanted to focus on.
After five/six months the word that was guiding me through the year altered slightly. What was once external energy in how I applied myself turned into an inner experience. I thought less about showing up in a certain way and more about my own energy flow. I found myself leaning into my gut feeling and intuition. Rather than geeing myself up for a highly charged experience, I was learning about and listening to my inner spirit.
What I heard was unrest.
Having lived nomadically from 2017 - 2020, and in a continuous state of stimulation for that time, the experience of settling in one place was, in hindsight, having an impact on me. In my head I wanted to settle in one place but in my body I wanted to move again, seeking variety. The variety we experienced from travel, and the energy that comes with that change, is chaotic. My nervous system had been used to that turbulence and by the time we'd been in one place for an extended amount of time I was ready for change, for uncertainty again.
But we weren't going anywhere.
In 2021 I started working with a coach to dig deeper. I was exploring my innate character, my innate energy and peeling back layers of expectation. On reflection 2021 was a turbulent year, not from travel and continuously moving environments but from a place within me.
I learned that my inner energy took a lot longer to settle into the rhythm of the life that we had chosen.
2022 Word of The Year: Connection
What started off being a word to encourage action, connect with people and build relationships, turned into something a little different by the time summer came. I realised that what I needed was to connect with myself in order to connect with others. I wanted to learn more about what makes me tick, so that relating to others could be more meaningful.
We'd been in Bradford on Avon for little over 12 months when 2022 came around. It takes time to settle into a new place and build connections so I didn't want to push too much but certainly wanted to make things happen in the coming year. I thought the word connection would encourage me to say yes to opportunities when I wasn't necessarily feeling social, reminding me that I do want to build a network. This word would guide decision making and instil a certain energy. It definitely did that for a while.
By April energy for connecting ran low. I found out I was pregnant and connection to myself became much more of a focus. Learning about pregnancy and my changing body was fascinating. I also spent time thinking about my identity and what my gifts and interests are.
Considering the impending life change of motherhood encouraged me to connect with myself, connect with my values and connect with my baby. No wonder they give you 40 weeks to prepare for such a transition. I don't know who they are by the way.
And now for 2023...
2023 Word of The Year: Patience
Yep, with a little'un on the way PATIENCE was an obvious choice. Not patience with the baby but patience with myself and with Jim. Becoming parents is quite a big deal from what I've heard, extra calmness and composure required me thinks.
I wonder what patience will mean to me in 12 months time. I'll report back.
Wish us luck!