In the last few years, I have noticed January is full of reminders about identifying your “one word” for the year. There are posts on Facebook, group meeting agendas, and casual conversations all centered around the topic of identifying and sharing the word that best reflects your focus for the year.

I have practiced the one word exercise the last several years, and found it helpful in focusing my intention and reminding me of my priorities. I find it also encourages creative thinking, as I explore different ways the word can be applied to my life.

This year, something slightly different happened. I discovered that people were discussing different approaches to defining their “one word”.

I heard about the first approach when I attended a workshop where the facilitator suggested we select a verb as our “one word”. I thought about how that changed the meaning and focus of the word for me with this perspective. For instance, if I choose the word connection – how does the experience change if I use the word connect instead? For me, it created a stronger sense of forward motion and being engaged in action. In addition, I also found more diverse ideas popped up when using the word connect – connect with others, connect the dots, find the common thread that connects the ideas, for example.

I heard about the second approach, when I was part of a group sharing and one person spoke about an approach where the “one word” was an emotion. I was intrigued by that concept as emotion is typically a felt sense. In transformational work we often explore the idea – where do you feel that – which helps focus the work and shine a light on the kinesthetic patterns. In returning to the word connect, for example, how would that feel? Would it be a feeling of connection or connectedness?

The third approach was one I considered while having a conversation with myself to clarify my word for the year. I sensed I needed one word for my professional life and another for my personal life. However, while considering this approach, I wondered if it would split my attention, or if it was appropriate to have a different focus for two separate facets of my life? Would it create a more realistic alignment or create an inner conflict? Several people I spoke with about this concept were very clear their one word transcended all aspects of their life in a cohesive and positive way.

I find it interesting that the “one word” exercise has taken a strong hold as a beginning of the year activity and has led to numerous variations in practice. Whether you choose a verb, an emotion, or something else, there is a common outcome – define a focal point that is personally meaningful as a touchpoint throughout the year.

I ultimately chose connect as my one word for the year. Have you chosen your one word for 2020? Does it keep you in motion, focus your intention, or create a feeling? Feel free to share your one word as a comment on my blog.

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