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Is The Word Of The Year Practice Stressful?

I’m grateful to two readers who commented on my last post about my Word of The Year 2019, saying that they found the exercise stressful. I was a little surprised. In fact, I switched to this practice about 5 years ago, to avoid the stress and guilt that was associated with New Year’s resolutions. Do you pick a word of the year for yourself? Is the word of the year practice stressful for you?

Is The Word Of The Year Practice Stressful?

I find the Word of the Year (WOTY)practice empowering and inspiring. Rather than a list of things I ought to DO, the WOTY pushes me to BE.

Like Susannah Conway says, ” You can’t “break” a word like you can break a resolution. The word (or words!) you choose is there to inspire you whenever you need it. Your word is your ally.

There have been times, 2019 included, where I’ve chosen a word and then forgotten about it. And suddenly, at a point when I’m overwhelmed or losing focus, my WOTY comes back to me, reminding me of why I chose that word in the first place.

The WOTY practice encourages you to use imagination not will-power. Let me quote from one of my favourite books, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, how this can translate:

Enlisting the powers of your subconscious mind is not like pushing against an obstacle. Working harder does not lead to better results. Use no will power. Instead, visualize the end and the state of freedom it produces.

And that’s all the WOTY practice is. A visualization of what you want to be during the year. No pressure. No guilt.

I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.


Tracee Ellis Ross

Here’s a list of my ‘words’ for the last five years. I’m working on my WOTY for 2020 and should be ready to share it with you soon.

23 Comments

  1. Shilpa Gupte Shilpa Gupte December 30, 2019

    I started following the WOTY concept since 2017, and you know what? The words I decided would guide me in 2018, actually did, thanks to the turns life took back then. This year, too, I have chosen a WOTY. And, I agree..it is something that keeps you motivated as you focus on fulfilling your goals. It is also what plays your ‘conscience keeper’, which alerts you when you forget about your aims and goals and helps you stay on your path and acts as your powerful ally. 🙂

  2. Hi Corinne – I actually like WOTY for the same reason you do, it gives me something to think about as I narrow it down to one word, then I find it really interesting to see how it develops throughout the year. My WOTY for 2019 only really clarified itself to me towards the end of the year – it’s like it was sitting in my subconscious and the rest of me finally caught up with it!
    I’ve chosen my word for 2020 – another slightly convoluted choice, but I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me. I’m also going to be looking for guest posts if you’re interested! Merry Christmas xx

  3. Jayanthy G Jayanthy G December 23, 2019

    You have chosen lovely words/intentions Corinne.

    I’ve broken lists than I’ve broken hearts Sometimes it’s better that way right? Somehow new year resolutions have not crossed two weeks of January for me. In 2018 when I chose Simplify, I honestly felt I made the right choice and it helped me so much. When I chose Calm in 2019, I felt I was in desperate need of calm, however now I feel I’ve been better with Calm, but Survive would have fit the year perfectly. So, when it comes to choosing a word, it again needs to be something that lights us up and let’s us be. The word for 2020 will help me after seeing the madness of 2019. This exercise was stressful in 2019 for me, because I was desperate, but 2020 is going to be better.

  4. Janet Miles Janet Miles December 18, 2019

    Great post. I have chosen a WOTY for the last five or six years and they have all proven to be very helpful throughout the year.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 20, 2019

      Thanks, Janet. I look forward to reading what your word is going to be.

  5. Obsessivemom Obsessivemom December 18, 2019

    Whether it is resolutions or a WOTY in the end what matters is intent and how seriously you take it. Though after reading what you wrote I am beginning to feel that WOTY offers a little more flexibility.
    Your post makes me want to have a WOTY – one that allows me to go with the flow as well as meet my aims. Is there a word like that?

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 20, 2019

      You’re very right, our intentions do matter. But with the best of intentions the resolutions never worked for me.
      Look forward to seeing the word you choose, if you do, Tulika.

  6. Rajlakshmi Rajlakshmi December 18, 2019

    I feel WOTY is really helpful when focusing on goals – whether it is self improvement or learning new skills. It is a great way to streamline all energy into what we truly want to achieve. I haven’t chosen a word yet, but next year I would like to concentrate on gaining a new skill.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted..Musings under a dystopian sunMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 20, 2019

      Yes, it does help to keep us focused, Raji. I’m looking forward eagerly to knowing what skill your going to be working on.

  7. Nabanita Dhar Nabanita Dhar December 17, 2019

    I don’t think it’s stressful. Resolutions definitely are. But a word is just an idea, a path which guides and I think that doesn’t necessarily have to be something that makes us nervous. That said, I don’t really have a word just a general idea of what I want to be or do next year.
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted..14 Top Reads From 2019My Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 20, 2019

      Yes, personally, I’m trying to make choices that avoid stress and this practice helps a lot.

  8. Esha M Dutta Esha M Dutta December 17, 2019

    I agree about the WOTY being an ally, Corinne! It feels like an assurance because it isn’t a resolution and just as you say, one can’t “break” it. One can unknowingly drift away from it and come back to it and that is the beauty of it. Last year, I went with the word ‘Flow’ and consciously or unconsciously. accepting things as they came helped me go with the flow. My mind, heart and soul were all in sync with the word and at every critical point when the going got tough, I reminded myself how I had chosen to go with the flow. It HELPED me hugely!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 20, 2019

      It’s amazing how we are drawn to choose words, little realizing how they’ll play out in the year ahead. Thank you for sharing your experience, Esha. Hugs.

  9. Shalini Shalini December 17, 2019

    Ditto! When compared to making (and breaking) a list of hopeless resolutions, choosing a WOTY actually inspires and help shape the year ahead. I can so relate to everything you said

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 20, 2019

      Yes. My resolutions usually lasted till Jan 15! 😉

  10. Shalzmojo Shalzmojo December 17, 2019

    Well I guess forgetting is a large part of it for me and it just hasnt been whats it supposed to be for me. So I guess thats why I feel the stress for it 🙂

    Thanks for writing this post Corinne in response- feels wonderful to have such a great relationship with you 🙂

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 20, 2019

      I guess. If you choose a word or not, have a good year ahead.

  11. Karen D Austin Karen D Austin December 17, 2019

    I did a WOTY for the first time — grounded. It wasn’t stressful. But I did sometimes get overwhelmed by life and lost sight of my goal to be grounded. Maybe 2020 will by WOTY “Grounded 2.0”?

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 20, 2019

      Grounded! Now that’s a word. I think we all lose sight of our word, but it comes through in the end. I’m sure you’ll figure out another word or a new take on ‘grounded’.

  12. Haralee Haralee December 16, 2019

    2020 marks my retirement and my WOTY is going to be my first and it is , drumroll, your word for this year, Light.
    I want to keep things light, enjoy, be light in spirit and in being!
    Haralee recently posted..Sending and Receiving Thank-You NotesMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 20, 2019

      How lovely and I like your perspective on the word, Haralee. Wishing you a contented retired life!

  13. Modern Gypsy Modern Gypsy December 16, 2019

    I’ve chosen a WOTY for about 5-6 years too. And I’ve found that it, somehow, just shapes my year. I don’t even do anything consciously with it, and yet, the way each year unfolds with a WOTY is quite amazing!
    Modern Gypsy recently posted..The Visioning workbook is here!My Profile

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© Everyday Gyaan 2019
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