Creating a Powerful Next Year: The Beauty of the One Word

Creating a Powerful Next Year: The Beauty of the One Word


Over the last ten years I’ve chosen a word for each upcoming year.

A word that embodies what I want the year to be about. It’s a sort of intention set for the year ahead.

It started out semi-seriously together with friends at an after-work. In 2010 for instance, the word was champagne.. A bit of a joke, but also a reflection of wanting to enjoy life more.

It quickly became an important practice.

One year was nature, another growth. My friend’s word this year is dance.

My word for 2019 was healing. And it was an intensely introspective, healing year.

I quit alcohol, read a lot of books, journaled (future-self-journaling FTW), wrapped up therapy, got clarity in my coaching and consulting business, and studied physiology and psychology at University. I spent time in nature hiking, created new communities and important friendships.

How to choose a theme for your year

I’ve never had a practice for it. It’s something that’s evolved naturally over the years.

If I journal, meditate, or have a moment extra, I ask myself: What is this next year about?

It’s a wonderful question to think about. The simplicity of the questions makes it powerful, it automatically invites us to think about what we want to create, do more of, embody, and contribute. And summarizing your intention into one word is not super straightforward.

By September or October, when there are about 100 days left of the year, I quite naturally begin to put next year into my field of sight. I start asking; what’s this next year about? There is no stress. It usually grows and comes to me at a certain point.

Sometimes, it appears in November, last year, it came to me on New Year’s Eve. My friend’s word came to her a few weeks into January 2020.

My word for 2020 became expansion.

I felt like I wanted to be more, do more, contribute mote. What I thought would be expansion (travel, adventure, fun) is not what has manifested. Instead, 2020 so far has been rough. The world is suffering, and our systems are crumbling before our very eyes.

Expansion has meant contribution, as I started as a volunteer as a hotline operator, left my full-time gig and started my own business. Expansion has meant stepping more into who I am. With the freedom and responsibility of my own business, I’ve had to grow in ways I haven’t before.

Choosing a word for your upcoming year is not homework, or a task that can be considered well done, or not well done.

It’s for you only.

It’s a practice that might be helpful if you wish to live with more intention and focus. If you want the feeling of walking a path during your year.

Do you have a word for your year?