Style + Green Living from the Heart of DC

How to Choose Your Guiding Word

Washington, DC, USA
This is a post about something near and dear to my heart.  Like a time capsule in my mind,  just hearing my one little word from each year brings back a flood of memories, feelings, and lessons learned. Your guiding word, or "one little word" for the year ends up making a big difference. As weeks and months of the year go by it is incredible to see the ways this seed of intention flourishes. This is a tradition I learned of in 2011 and I am excited to share it with you today!

My attempt to write this as succinctly as possible still left quite a bit to share, so I hope you will enjoy this post with a cup of tea and a pen in hand to start jotting down ideas for a guiding word of your very own.









Choosing one little word to carry throughout the year is a precious, meaningful way to promote self-reflection and achieve the kind of goals that breathe fresh air to your soul. Life moves fast, we know this. And when the intensity of circumstances we find ourselves in pushes hard down on us, it is perhaps even more important to reflect and make sense of feelings. 

Do you ever stop and wonder, "How am I doing?" I know I do. But how does one even answer a question like that? From comparison games to pure speculation, there are so many dead ends. I know because I have fallen into those very traps. How can I compare my walk in this life to that of anyone else? Each of us are moving, growing, changing in our own ways. Self-reflection helps to intimately and honestly assess ourselves. Sometimes self-reflection happens casually, but this is an intentional process. 

So how do you do it? I can only speak from my experience. And yes, I typically choose my word by the end of January but I believe it is never too late. Here is how to get started...
Think about what has been inspiring you lately. 
This is important: have no judgments! Inspiration comes from anywhere so do not feel silly when your mind wanders to random things. This is not about social media. There are no "goals" for what inspires you. They do not need to fit any mold of what others expect of you or even what you typically expect of yourself. When I do this, I start to hear various opinions in my mind: Oh that's just ridiculous. Haven't you already done enough of that? Is that even a goal? Aren't there more important things to focus on?

Ignore these opinions that weigh you down.

Approach this with a free spirit and an open heart. This is deeply personal so try to accept your feelings for what they are, no filters! How do you dream of living your life? What is about that person/place/thing that inspires you? Describe it.

Write down words that come to mind about how you want to feel or how you would want another to describe you. 
It all depends where we are in life. 
I just wish I could...
I can't wait for...
This year is going to be...
I want to be more...

Fill in those blanks, and be honest. If you are dreading something or feeling negative, just admit it. I'm a big believer in emotions as my teachers, or visitors. My one little word this year started with a negative mindset I was dealing with. Addressing it honestly has helped bring goodness where there was once doubt. If you are nothing but excited for life at this moment, brainstorm words that capture how you want the experience to shape you. The year I was getting married I sought to embrace the new role of wife with grace and love, so blossom was my one little word that year.

Browse a list of words others have used.
When you finally hear your word, you just know it. It will feel like it has been waiting for you all along. Some days my word barely crosses my mind, and other days it is my saving grace, bringing my mental state to a place where I feel centered. It helps me find myself when I feel lost. 

My one little word for this year is capable. I carry it with me. It is written on the first page of my planner that I open daily, and every so often I do something I used to tell myself I could not do and I am beaming inside because the self-doubts I have are slowly disappearing. Years of subtly telling myself "I cannot" are slowly but surely being replaced with this new energy. I am capable



It is not too late to chose a word, so go for it! You will love it, I promise.


Kristen


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