stone on an altar inscribed with the word vitality to illustrate the power of creating your word of the year.

Start Smart: Create Your Word of the Year

My last few minutes of 2023 were filled with silly, interpretive dances.

I get this way every year.

My sensitive soul feels the infectious energy that envelops the world on New Year’s Eve as we let go of the old and make room for the new.

As I danced, I shed a few tears, acknowledging both the tough times and the many blessings I recieved. Watching the ball drop, I expressed gratitude for the clarity I’ve gained around my desires and identity. 

New Year’s has always been MY holiday. 

Even during my party hearty twenties, I made time for introspection, preparation, and connection—elements that continue to define my celebrations. 

Over the years, my celebrations have become quieter and end earlier, but the holiness of this period has never waned.

On the morning of New Year’s Eve, I participated in a ceremony at the spiritual center I belong to where i chose my word for the year.

The ritual included short meditation followed by an opportunity to write down the things we’re ready to let go of. Afterward, we burned our lists in a communal fire. This was followed by a second meditation where we sat quietly and listened for the word we’ll carry with us through the year.

As I prepared for the second meditation, words bubbled up like worthiness, trust, and awareness. But I knew they came from my thinking mind, not my soul. So, I pushed them aside. That’s when Vitality rang through me and I knew that was the one.

At the end of the meditation, I wrote it on the stone in the photo associated with this post.

Later that day, I outlined the six facets of vitality I plan to work on during 2024:

  • Strengthening my body
  • Cultivating a peaceful mind
  • Nurturing my nervous system
  • Feeding my creativity
  • Embracing my joy
  • Connecting with the truest part of my soul

If you haven’t created a word for yourself, I highly recommend it. That word can serve as a guiding force that helps you truly understand your yesses and nos, which is critical if you want to get anything done.

To come up with your word of the year, try the following activities:

  • Click on this list of core values and see which one stands out to you.
  • Go for a walk in nature. Clear your mind by focusing on the sensation in your feet as they touch the ground or something in your surroundings. Then listen for a word. Trust that whatever you hear is right for you.
  • Complete your version of the ceremony I participated in. To do this, go for a walk and select a stone that catches your eye. Choose your favorite meditation, or pick one from Insight Timer’s vast catalogue. Listen to the meditation, then write down a list of 2023 beliefs, feelings, or situations you’d like to let go of. Tear up, burn, or bury your list to symbolically let it go. Complete the same, or a new, meditation, then sit quietly and listen for the word to appear. Write your word of the year on your stone. If nothing appears draw a symbol. Don’t worry about making sense of it. Instead, trust that the meaning will be come clearer as the year unfolds.

Once you’ve chosen your word of the year, explore it further by considering the six facets you will work on by trying out one of these exercises:

  • Explore the etymology of your word of the year. See if one or more of its roots leads to a facet you could work on. 
  • Use the wellness wheel to identify four to six parts of your life where you’ll use this word as a guiding principle.
  • Make a list of the goals you want to accomplish and consider how this word will influence them. 

As I completed this post, and considered how incredible you are, I did another silly interpretive dance on your behalf, . I can’t wait to see how our words intersect, and how that intersection changes the world.

May your word help you always write on.

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