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Preparing for the new year with "one word"

In some ways, I expected this year to be an easy year; after all, the world was returning to some form of normalcy after two years of disruption.

Was it an easy year? Not quite.

It was a challenging year, some good, some bad and some quite ugly.

My year started with conflict and loss, and it ended with conflict and loss, the bookends of the year, so to speak. During the period in the middle, I, like many, took every opportunity for work and attempted to cram as much work as possible into a six-month period, so I was exhausted and unprepared for the disruption that came my way.

And this is how I enter my traditional “one-word” exercise.

Exhausted, mourning, and ready for a personal change in the new year.

Simple guidance needed

Each year the “one word” exercise has helped focus my efforts throughout the year. Each of them brought me a simple way to stay focused on the intention I had set for that year.

The question, “what’s your new year's resolution?” just reminds me that, like many of us, I have never kept a new years resolution longer than a few weeks, and every year brings me back to "one word" to keep things simple and agile.

So every year, I choose one word that resonates with me, of what I want to achieve and what I want from life in the coming year. When at a crossroads or when I am uncertain, my one word has helped me make the decision I need, and this exercise has been successful in leading me where I needed to go at the time. Therefore, I do not enter this activity lightly!

One word is continuous improvement, easier to remember, and focus is inherent. It is adaptable, creative and innovative, and it cannot fail.

At the end of this year, events have forced more self-reflection than usual, and the desire is to be more intentional in choosing my one word. To choose something that is a challenge, less work-related and more life-related, more personal.

My journey to one word

When we are tired, when we are struggling, and someone pushes our trigger buttons, we tend to revert back to our inbred settings, especially if we have not taken time to meditate or exercise or use whichever tool we use to maintain calm and non-reactionary.

  • I set a lot of boundaries this year but struggled to maintain them

  • I set out to implement healthy habits but struggled to keep them consistently

  • I enabled a lot of relationships but struggled to maintain energy for myself

My goal this year is not to learn more methods to be at peace and achieve happiness but rather to implement all the excellent tools I already have in my toolkit, revisit the tools I have studied and use them more intentionally.

  • To create habits that create energy and balance

  • To be around people who lift me, challenge me and energise me

  • To elevate work to a new level of creativity and acceptance

But what word summarises all of that?!

I started with the word Growth, but that felt more business oriented, and that was not my intent. It did not resonate with me as I am not seeking growth so much as using what I have more consistently.

Flourish was on the table for a short time, but feeling out of balance at the moment, I feel this would need to assume some semblance of stability that I don't feel right now.

Then I moved on to Process, but this also felt too clinical and did not capture the energy and balance I am craving. (Feedback from friends and colleagues supported this instinct!)

Then my close friend and colleague, Simone Smith, suggested Transcend.

To be honest, my first reaction was that it is too spiritual or meditation related, and I am far from enlightenment, and I accept that!

However, I did the research as I always do, and the true definition resonated with me.

Transcend is about having a desire to do things better, to have a best reaction of no reaction. To use what we know, to learn more, to rise beyond range or limits, to triumph over negative or restrictive aspects, to overcome, to rise above…

Yup, that’s it. That’s what I want in 2023.

Choose your One Word for 2023

There are now many sites that espouse the value of “One Word” such as One Word 365 “One word. 365 days. A changed life.” or My One Word “Change your life with one word.”

These are my three rules for choosing one word that impacts your life -

1. The word must resonate with you personally

It doesn’t have to be complex or over the top but make sure it means something to you. I put a lot of thought into my one word by reflecting on where I am now and where I want to be at the end of 2023; this is an excellent place to start.

2. Set parameters around the word

What are the situations you want to change? Where will it make a difference to you? The word transcend can be implemented as I implement tools from my toolkit. Do they help me transcend my reactionary nature? Will the situation I am entering challenge my own peace and energy? If so, am I in a position of mental and emotional health where I can transcend the challenge?

3. Share the word with your friends and family

This is a surefire way to be held accountable, not slip back into old habits, and adhere to your one word. I find it super frustrating, and yet I am immensely grateful when my friends then they reply to my queries merely by saying my one word! It is so powerful, one word, a mirror reinforcing my intention for the year.

One word in action

In 2022, my word was Abundance.

After working non-stop this year, even while away this November, I did reap the rewards of "Abundance" by surrounding myself with a great team and working with great clients; abundance was the right decision-maker for me.

  • Walks with friends = abundance of gratitude

  • Lunches with colleagues = abundance of collaboration

  • Client projects = abundance of creativity

I only did the things that added value and abundance, and it worked.

For 2023, my one word is “Transcend”

Coming back to the hard work on self-awareness, revisiting my training and coaching, and implementing increased daily meditation so I can transcend the challenges and come to the next step of my journey with peace and energy.

This is the year I will do what I love and spend time with the people I love. Those that challenge me to grow and learn - with kindness and respect as the foundation of communication. Reprioritising so I can create more balance in my life.

So for 2023, when someone asks me to do something, I will think about whether that will lead me to my peaceful and happy self.

Ready for 2023?

Me too.

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