This year was the best year of my life.

The.
Best. 
Ever.

What made last year different? Was it the trips I took? Was it the growth in my business? Was it something my kids did? Was it something about my house or the things I own? Nope. While many wonderful things happened in my life, what made my year the best ever has little to do with what actually happened in my life. It had to do with my thoughts about what happened in my life.

We are in charge of our life experience. We get to craft the year we are going to have based on what we think about. We can not control much of what happens around us but we have complete control over how we think about what happens. What we think drives how we feel which influences what we do (or don’t do), and thus creates the results in our lives.

Returning to the question: Why was this year my best year ever? I credit it to my choice to choose a word of the year instead of making New Year’s Resolutions. As long as I can remember, I’ve started my year making resolutions for the upcoming year. Sometimes I called them goals, sometimes I called them intentions. No matter what I called them, the process of making them led me to focus on all that wasn’t right in my life and what didn’t go well the year before: What did I want to improve? What had I done wrong? Where could I be better? If nothing was immediately apparent, I swear I’d sit and try to think of things that were wrong. I don’t know about you but my brain already does a really good job pointing out what I could do “better”; I didn’t need to help it along.

Choosing a word shifts your year in two significant ways:

  1. You get to start your year looking forward with anticipation, excitement and inspiration. Whatever time you would’ve spent making resolutions (and focusing on what you did wrong), you get to think instead of what you’re going to do right and how great the upcoming year can be.
  2. You are set up for success. Resolutions tend to be black or white; you either do them or you don’t. A word is something you aim for, a light to aim towards. There is no possibility of failure. You set your intention on that word and adjust your course throughout the year. You do not fail. You learn and grow.

Let me back up and explain what I mean by ‘choosing a word’? When I choose a word, I am choosing a word that signifies how I want to live my life for the next year. What do I want my year to be like? Who do I want to be? How do I want to feel? For 2016 I chose the word JOY. I wanted to feel joyful. I wanted to make decisions that created JOY in my life. I wanted to be a JOYful person to be around. My year was a success because I routinely returned to this word when making decisions or when in a difficult time. I’d ask myself: “What would bring you joy here Susie?” Having the word JOY guided me in the actual decision making process but also when managing my thoughts on a day-to-day basis.

For 2017 I chose the word LOVE. I routinely ask myself “How can you be loving here?”.

        Sometimes that means to myself. Would watching another TV show feel more loving than getting an extra 42 minutes of sleep? Would eating this cookie feel like love to me and my body right now? How about an hour from now?

        Sometimes that means to people I love. If I stop to meditate for 10 minutes before the kids come home, I can be more loving and present with them and their needs. Putting my phone away from when my kids come home from school until dinner is another way I can show up more loving to those I love. 

        Sometimes that means to strangers or people I don’t love: If I smile at the cashier even after I waited in a super long line or if I smile at my ex-husband even when he’s being confrontational.

That said, not all decisions are rainbows and daisies. Some decisions are hard to make and have consequences: needing to uphold my boundaries, schedule deliberately, budget differently, etc. Life takes work and not all moments are love filled or joyful. But, by managing my mind and not focusing my thoughts on the negatives, I ended up feeling way more loving than usual. In being deliberate with my choice for LOVE, my brain could find the love in the hard pieces of life. So yes, I’m doing this again. I’m choosing a word for 2018 instead of making resolutions and I encourage you to also. How do you want to show up this year? Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel? Think big. What do you want for yourself in 2018?

How To Pick your own Warrior Word?

  1. Get out a piece of paper and answer the question: How do you want to feel this year?
  2. What do you want 2018 to look like?
  3. Read back over what you wrote for #1 and #2. What sticks out to you? It might be one word, several words or a phrase. That’s it! You’ve got your Warrior Word.
  4. Write it out on sticky notes, note cards, or pretty card stock and stick it around your house. You want visual reminders to snap you into the habit of thinking of the word when making decisions. I have an alarm on my phone that says “Love” and reminds me of my intent.

I passionately believe that I am on this earth for a purpose. Resolutions led me to feel badly about who I was. Choosing a word empowers me to accept how awesome I am right now while encouraging me to evolve to the next best version of myself. I encourage you to try something different this year. Please share your warrior word with me and I will share my warrior word of 2018 with you. Let’s do it!

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