Instead of setting a list of goals at the start of each year, I want to promote a new tradition: setting a one-word theme for the year. I got this idea from My One Word - Mike Ashcraft (myoneword.org). And it’s a powerful one.
You can remember one word throughout the year. It’s easy to think about and focus on just one theme. It’s also a lot easier to take action and make progress towards this one theme. Having one theme also makes it possible to set realistic follow up goals and milestones.
My one word theme for 2015 was BOLD.
Focusing on one word is so much easier, more powerful, and more rewarding than focusing on some arbitrary goal and because there is only one word, there is no struggle to make decisions on other goals.
You want to embody this word in everything that you do in the new year, it's your cornerstone.
Whenever you set goals or to-do's you can use this word as a guiding light or filter.
Having one theme allows you to laser focus on the one thing you need the most.
I also love the one word theme concept because a single word can be interpreted in several ways, thus I can always find a way to integrate the word into my day, without the heavy feeling of disappointment for not hitting a random goal.
How to Find Your Word
When you ask yourself, “What do I want this year to be about?” you may instantly and intuitively feel an answer pop out. If not, try answer the following questions on a piece of paper (instead of just thinking about it) and see what words emerge for you:
What does your ideal life look like? What do you want? What do you want to be doing? How do you want to feel?
Complete the sentence: I want to feel ____.
If you had to pick just one thing? What do you want the most?
Does the word feel good? There are no wrong answers. What you pick is personal and meaningful to you. If it feels good, go with it.
Don’t continue until you have your word.
Use Your Word
Once you have your one-word, here are some thoughts on integrating and using the word into your life.
Expand on the Word
One word can have many meaning. Clarify what your word means to you.
Ask yourself the following question:
What does this mean to me?
Additionally, you can dive deeper into what this picture looks like for you, by answering the following question:
What does “a life of [insert word]” look/feel like?
When answering, write down each block of thought in bullet points, without editing. Keep writing until you have nothing else to say.
The more clear you can be in describing your picture, the easier it will be to further integrate the word into your decisions, goals and year.
Create Goals From Your Word
If you completed the above exercise on clarifying what the word means to you, you’ll notice that many of the items you wrote down can be converted into mini goals that contribute towards your one word.
Set short-term goals that will support your word, instead of a list of random goals that you think you should be doing.
Allow whatever answers to show up, and write them down without judging or editing.
One Goal at a Time
If you did the above exercise or creating goals based on your word, you will have a list of goals, you will get overwhelmed if you try to work on all of these at once.
Pick just one sub goal, and focus on that. Once the goal is reached or becomes a habit, you can move on to the next mini goal.
Be Kind to Yourself
A year is a long time. There will be days when you're not "insert word" and there will days when you totally rock it out. Through out the year, you will experience days where you feel like you are moving in the opposite direction of where you want to go. Be kind and patient with yourself and use your one word as a lighthouse to find your way again.
Would you share your one word for 2016 with me in the comments below?
Or post it over here in my FREE Facebook Community - Society of Self-Mastery.
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