What’s Your Word of the Year?

I had never heard of folks choosing a “Word of the Year” until a couple of years ago. Obviously I had tried to create New Year’s resolutions over the years—and, of course, failed to live up to them.

But all of that changed in 2023. I decided to give this word thing a go. I mean, why not? I love naming things: I named my dog after the hero in my first novel, named the planets/towns/peoples in the multi-author sci-fi universe I’m part founder of, and I even get an inordinate amount of joy reading the dictionary and browsing baby name books. So the concept is definitely up my alley.

Word of the Year Graphic

Identifying what you most want to fix

My word of the year for 2023 was “heal.” And that one word turned my life, my career, and my health around in all the best ways. Such a simple word, but it kept me trucking along on a journey of discovery. While diving into health topics isn’t the main gist of this post, suffice it to say that on January 1 of 2023, my physical and mental health went downhill extremely fast, and at first I had no idea why. Over the period of about two weeks, I lost my ability to formulate words, walk, hold thoughts in my head, and see clearly. And it would happen every half hour of every day all day.

As you may imagine, this was utterly terrifying. I was as close to being a walking zombie as a human could be. And I had no way of knowing if this new normal was going to be temporary or not.

The one thing I was able to remember was that simple word I had decided to focus on for 2023: heal.

My 2023 word of the year—nailed it!

Over the course of several months in those half-hour increments when I was semi-lucid, I studied. Previously, when I was worried about something, I knew one of the best remedies was increasing knowledge my about a subject, and using that newfound information to come up with viable solutions. I studied chronic illnesses, mental health illnesses, productivity systems, physical therapy, speech therapy, EMDR, epigenesis, medications, and even dentistry and ophthalmology etc. And all the while, I kept my focus on my word of the year. Such a simple thing, and but it was so effective for keeping my eye on the ball—especially when concentration and focusing was so difficult for so long.

By month four, I learned what had caused all of my issues, started testing the right medications and the right dosages, began a safer exercise regimen, did vocal exercises to get my voice back, and on and on. As of December 2023, I’ve never felt better in my life. I know what’s going on, I’ve fine-tuned a health plan that’s sustainable, and I’m looking forward to the rest of my life in a way I never thought possible before.

And it all comes back to putting in that work to gain knowledge and that came back to my focus word. It wasn’t just a word for me. It was my life’s goal encapsulated in four little letters. I’ve been seeking answers to my health issues my whole life, and for decades I was ignored by doctors.

My 2024 word of the year—here’s hoping!

My 2024 word of the year will be “abundance.” I would never have chosen that word before now, but for the first time in my life, I feel hope when it comes to my health. Hopefully that it won’t hold me back any longer. That I have a plan that I can stick to, and it has helped me to stay focused, healthy, and dare I say joyful?

Word vs. resolution—which is better?

How about you? Would a “word of the year” be more useful to you than New Year’s resolutions? You could argue that they are the same thing. But for me, in choosing a word, I want it to encompass either my worst problem or my greatest hope. It’s putting a laser focus on what you want to “be” by Dec 31 of the new year rather than what you hope to accomplish.

For me, the word abundance isn’t about “having” abundance. It’s about being grateful for the abundance I already have as well as focusing on hope rather than fear for the future.

That’s my greatest wish for all of us: that we live 2024 in hope and without fear.

So…what’s your word of the year?

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