Can a word for the year really impact your life? It can as long as it is YOUR word for the year!

As many of you know, I am a coach and speaker certified with the John Maxwell Team. Highly respected by leaders around the world, John Maxwell always chooses a word for the year for himself.  I became exposed to the idea after hearing him speak of it year after year, and after watching many fellow coaches adopt the practice for themselves. I always thought it was a cool concept, but never understood the impact that choosing a word for the year could make on my life. Until 2021, when I chose my word, which was ‘Grace’. I realized although I was nice to people, I didn’t give them much grace when they messed up, and I needed to really learn how to do that well–just as so many people give me grace when I mess up. Because I was intentional, I grew in this area.

Maybe you’re not even familiar with this concept, or maybe you have heard about it but never thought it would really make a difference in your life. Let me share how to go about choosing your word for the year, and how to get the biggest impact for positive life changes as a result.

What area of your life do you want to work on? Maybe it’s an area of weakness or maybe it’s an area of strength, For me, I like to choose a word that focuses on a area of weakness that I need to mature and get better. Once you have identified the general area, you can do an online search of all of the subcategories of that area. For instance, if you want more peace in your life this year, words that pop up in an online search include tranquility, balance, quiet, freedom, harmony–and you can then spend some time and ask yourself, is it really peace that you want to focus on, or is it one of those subcategories within peace such as balance? What word resonates with you? John Maxwell says that if two words come to mind, you don’t have your word yet….keep pondering on it until you have your word, and you will know without a doubt once you have it.

Allow this word to become part of your identity for the year. It’s not just a word that you claim out loud or on paper; it’s a word that you live out externally through your actions, even when you don’t feel like it, and that word will eventually become a huge part of who you are. How do you do that?

Here are five ways that have worked well for me:

1. Once you have your word, do a google search for that word and then type “definition” or “meaning”.

2. Go to other resources that describe what that word lived out looks like. As a Christ-follower, I look up all of the verses in the Bible with that word.

3. Next, write out what that word looks like in your daily life. What are some examples of you how you can externally live out this word as you go about your day?

4. Share your word with your inner circle and your coach, and other close friends who you know will help hold you accountable for living out your word for the year.

5. At the end of every day, reflect on the day and how you succeeded or failed living out the word. And write it down. This is the deal maker or the deal breaker depending on if you do this. What eventually happens is that since you know you are going to have to face your journal at the end of the day, it is a great way of holding yourself accountable and keeping your word top of mind throughout the day.

What’s my word for 2022? Humility. It is a trait I need to work on in my personal and my professional life, and once the word came to me, I knew I could fully embrace it as a challenge for this year.

Do you have a word for 2022? If you do, I’d love to learn what it is, and why you chose it!