Want to Hit Your Goals in 2024? Consider Choosing A Word of the Year!

With so much intelligence at our fingertips these days—both the artificial and homemade kinds—it’s no wonder that people can feel as scattered, smothered, and covered as their favorite order of hashbrowns. In fact, research has shown that the average human attention span is currently 8.25 seconds, just under that of a goldfish. That represents a decrease of 25% over the past 20 years alone.

I bring that up because the antidote to feeling unfocused and overwhelmed is to embrace simplicity. Let’s take your goals for example. Rather than creating a 10-slide PowerPoint deck of everything you plan to accomplish at work and at home this year, consider boiling it down to just one word instead.

In this article, Slow Living DLN promotes choosing a guiding word of the year rather than a slew of New Year Resolutions to unify your goals and make them more achievable. AARP also notes that “picking a word of the year can bring clarity and focus to who we want to become and what we want to accomplish in life.” Luminaries like Melinda Gates are all about it; she notes in this LinkedIn post from a few years ago the power of choosing the word “shine.”

Selecting a word of the year is a typical practice in the professional coaching space. Besides being one (I’m a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach in addition to serving as a Chief Communications Officer), I’ve done this exercise multiple times with my awesome coach, Michelle Goss. In previous years, my words have included “thrive,” “catapult” and “possibilities.” This year, I have selected the word “momentum.”

To me, momentum signifies positive movement forward. Beyond my corporate job, it means building on my successful experience serving as a Guest Expert Speaker last month at Canyon Ranch Tucson, one of the world’s leading destination spas. Focusing on that positive momentum will allow me to book more keynote and breakout session speaking opportunities that help others get unstuck, activate their full potential, become more resilient, and gain greater fulfillment in order to crush their professional and personal goals.

While I’m talking about a word of the year, keep in mind that you can choose a word that serves as a guidepost for a few months or weeks. It might be something that you kick off in early January, or in the weeks following Halloween.

Here are 3 tips for picking a word of the year that helps you maximize success and happiness:

1. Consider your goals.

What are you looking to achieve more of in the time frame ahead? What limiting habits or behaviors would you like to kick to the curb? Make a list of those items and look for an overall pattern or theme. For example, in the year ahead, you might want to get promoted at work, stop apologizing when you haven’t done anything wrong, and build a healthy, lasting romantic relationship. In that case, an overall word could be something like “confidence,” “authenticity” or “happiness,” which are all qualities that help you achieve those goals.

2. Select a word with strong resonance.

Whatever word you choose, it must feel good to you. Like seeing it in print provokes all sorts of tingly feels of goodness, or a calming sense that you’ve got this. Remember that whatever strikes a chord with one person can be very different for another. Someone who is trying to tame chaos might feel inspired by the word “order,” whereas an individual looking to express themselves creatively for the first time might gravitate to a word like “poetry.”

3. Bring it to life.

Writing your word down in a journal entry or post-it note is a good start, but it’s easy for that document to get neglected. Bring your word to life by reinforcing it in numerous ways. Visually, you might choose a screen saver that has the word in an artistic pattern or contains an image that serves as a powerful reminder every time you touch your phone or laptop. If you are an auditory learner, maybe you make a playlist with songs that contain that word to listen to when commuting or exercising. Choose whatever methods keep your word front and center.

Have you ever chosen a word of the year? If so, what were the results? What word are you choosing for the months ahead?

Leave a Comment