2017 Word to Guide Your Year

Are you still struggling to write down yearly goals in your Happy Balance Planners? Are you still struggling to find your primary purpose and focus for 2017? A Word of the Year might be exactly what you need! 

Last year Jordan and I had our list of goals we wanted to work toward in 2016 but we also decided on words that would guide our year. We wanted to select words that could be our foundation for the year…our compass. Each time we were faced with a decision or an opportunity, we wanted to have a concrete idea that we could come back to and assess if our decision would help us find forward progress in our overall goal for the year. If it didn’t, we’d let the opportunity go so that we could carve out more time and space for all the people and things that truly served our intent for the year.

In 2016, my words were balance + purpose. I was finishing my PhD while working full time and running Sherbert Shop with Jor and so balance was something that didn’t just sound good, it was absolutely necessary. I wasn’t looking for story book balance but was challenging myself to truly define for myself what balance looked like and what it felt like. For me, balance was not perfect or something ever fully achieved but evolved with me through the different seasons. The minute I found myself putting the idea of balance off to the side was the minute I knew I needed to re-evaluate and reset. My second word, purpose, was the reminder to myself that I wanted to fill my days, my work, and my passions with true purpose! I wanted my work to be more than a check-list item. I wanted it to have impact on someone other than myself. I wanted what I filled my days with to bring positive change and perspective to those that needed it.

Words to Guide My 2017

For 2017 I decided on two words. One for my personal goals and one for our Sherbert Shop goals.

Personal Word for 2017: OPEN. When I graduated with my PhD last December and walked across the stage one final time, I realized I had reached the top of a mountain that I had started to climb years ago. A significant chapter of my life was coming to a close and I didn’t (and still am not 100%) clear on what my next chapter or mountain is going to be. I struggled with feeling like I was loosing a huge part of how I defined myself and with time (ok…and a lot of reflection) I decided that I just wanted to be OPEN. I wanted to be OPEN to new opportunities that maybe I couldn’t even imagine. I wanted to be OPEN to possibility in all shapes, forms and sizes. I wanted to be OPEN to new experiences, new places and new people. I wanted to be OPEN to change. 

Sherbert Shop Word for 2017: FLOURISH. We picked this word together almost right away. When we looked back at Sherbert Shop’s journey in 2016, we knew that in 2017 we wanted to help Sherbert Shop FLOURISH organically and authentically. We want to pour our heart into our products and into our customers so that Sherbert Shop can FLOURISH into our vision and into what our customers need. We want each of our decisions to be supportive, lifting and centered around pushing our business forward so that it doesn’t simply grow for the sake of growing, for the sake of numbers or dollar signs, but grows to truly FLOURISH! Flourish means to be in or at your prime and to thrive in growth. We want to embrace this time of growth, lean into and FLOURISH!

How To Define Your Own Word That Will Guide Your Year

Here are a few tips to help you hone in on what word that will guide your year so that it is filled with purpose and intention.

  • Sit and Ask Questions. This step will most certainly take the most time but it is the most vital. The very first thing you should do is just sit and carve out time when you can be intentional about what you want your year to feel like, look like, and include. What were the highlights of 2016 and what aspects of the year do you want to build off of and grow from? Truly think about how you want to end your year: where you want to be literally and figuratively, how do you want to feel, who do you want to be surrounded by, what do you want to mark off your goal list, what new adventure do you want to be on or completing.
  • Make a List. Find YOUR Theme. This is a two part step. The first step is to put pen to paper and write all of these ideas and feelings down that you were just thinking about. No matter how big or how small or how certain or uneasy you are about something, write it all down! Having the ideas in your head become words on paper makes them more tangible and allows you the chance to sort through them more easily. They can be scrambled in your head but on paper you can start to find connections, patterns and focus. You will quickly see where your words and your heart are trying to steer you and this is a sure way to start to uncover this.
  • Carve Out Your Word. From your list and your page(s) filled with your hopes for this next year, start to define your focus with a word (or two). Is there a word that encompasses what you have put down on paper? There should be a theme that is calling out to you and is shining brightly. It might be completely different than what you were originally thinking…that is OK! Let go of all your initial thoughts and lean into what feels right and what feels real to you right now. Trust in that and let that be your guide to carving out your word. If you are honest with yourself throughout this process, your word will come from an honest place and lead you to an honest place.
  • Let Go of IT Words. Put blinders on to what your friend is doing or someone you look up to. Their path is not your path and their word may not be truly speak to your focus and passions. Don’t let other perspectives or opinions muddle what you are feeling and what you are hoping to create this year. Your word is your compass and only you know the direction that you want to go. So don’t worry about choosing a word that is hip, spicy, or jazzy. Pick a word that is YOU!
  • Don’t Feel Stuck. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to remember that you are NEVER stuck to the word you pick. There is no rule to picking a word of the year, a theme, or a focus. We start a year with one intention and then immediately on day one, life happens! There are unexpected turns, there are speed bumps, and there might be completely new roads to discover. During and after these times, allow yourself to revaluate where you are and where you want to go. Maybe you do this at the end of each month or just mid-year, but if you are feeling constricted or if you are not connecting with your original word(s), give yourself permission to let them go! Allow your word to evolve with you through the year, if need be. Define your own word but also define your own rules around your word!

I waited a few weeks to share my words of the year because I wanted to just sit with them for a few weeks. You might say I was taking them for a test drive to see if they felt right. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve already actually stopped myself mid-sentence and said out loud: “I want to be open because…”. This is truly a NEW year for me in so many ways and I’m not one that is big on change so the minute I am faced with it, I want to revert or hide. But instead, I think back to my goal of being OPEN and I try to grow from there. What is your word for 2017? What is going to guide you to living this year with purpose? Let us know your 2017 word below…we’d love to hear your focus for 2017!