By Robin Farr

word of the year

Resolutions, goals, commitments – whatever you call them, this is the time of year for setting them. I used to make resolutions and, like many others, quickly forgot about them by the second week of January. They were either too hard or too specific or just too much something I did because I thought I should. And then I discovered the one-word concept and have wholeheartedly jumped on that bandwagon.

The idea behind choosing one word for the year is to have a focus. A theme, if you will. It can be very specific or an over-arching concept, depending on what you want your year to look like.

I first chose a word (“seek”) in 2011 without really knowing where it would take me. I had heard some people say their word came to them (as opposed to choosing a word because you want to encourage yourself down a particular path), and that’s what happened for me. As it turns out, it was the perfect word and guided a year of big change.

So how do you choose a word? Here are some things to consider.

Let the word come to you

This might sound hokey, but it really does seem to be what happens for a lot of people. In the last three years, I have chosen a word twice only to have it pushed aside by another word that kept speaking to me. If a word comes to you, sit with it for a bit and see if it feels right. The word I keep coming back to for 2014 is one I would never have imagined choosing, and at first it seemed totally wrong. But it’s still lurking, and I think it might actually be the right one for this year.

Make a list

Get out your journal or a scrap of paper or a chalkboard and just start writing words. Free writing is a great way to let your subconscious guide your thoughts.

Use categories

Do you want to focus on a goal? Maybe you need an action word like embrace, run, or explore. If you want to bring a particular quality into your life (beauty, peace, acceptance, joy) then maybe an adjective will help guide you. Or maybe your word will be something of a combination of both, like dream, light, or inspire.

Look at words others have chosen

The one-word concept is everywhere, so it’s not hard to find a list of words others have chosen. Ali Edwards is a creative leader in the one-word sphere, and her 2014 one-word post and the comments on it provide a great list to ponder. OneWord365 also has an easy word ideas tool.

Incorporating your one word

Once you’ve chosen your word, how do you make sure it doesn’t just become letters on a piece of paper? Make it come alive by incorporating it into your life in one of these ways:

Put it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Make it your wallpaper on your phone or computer, create a one-word vision board and put it on your fridge, or write it on your mirror in lipstick. Whatever will give you a boost of inspiration.

Wear it. Put it on something – clothes or a hat or an accessory – that you can wear to remind you of your word. In 2012 I had my word (“vibrant”) put on a spinner ring.

Use it in passwords. Take a form of your word, adding numbers or other characters, to create a (secure) password for some of the things you log on to.

• Build a project around it. Start a photography or art or writing project that incorporates your word. If you read magazines, look for the word as you read and create a collage. Whatever inspires you can bring your word to life.

Join a one-word community. OneWord365 can help you find your tribe.

Whatever word you choose, and however you choose to incorporate it into your life, may 2014 see your dreams come true.