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PURPOSE: What’s YOUR Word of the Year for 2021?

Word of the Year 2021
First selfie for '21
What’s your word of the year for 2021?
Do you have a word of the year for 2021, yet?

Identifying a word of the year for yourself is a great tool to easily help you to remove some of the overwhelm that inevitably comes when you consider ALL the things you want to achieve at the beginning of a new year (especially after the year we’ve just had.)

No matter where you are in your health caper – just starting out or a seasoned AIPer – having a strong sense of purpose can be the difference between staying the course in the face of adversity or taking a tumble.

The first step to lowering the volume on some of your mental chatter and simplifying your intentions is to create a strong word of the year for yourself. This very personal single word serves to give you a sense of focus, not to mention help you to head things in the right direction. Especially when the universe seems to be conspiring against you! Your word of the year is a giant step forward in taking personal responsibility and really making this health caper yours.

I like to think of my word as my intention for the year.
How do you decide on your word of the year?

It can help to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve when it comes to identifying your word of the year. I mean, how the hell do you narrow it down to just one?

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Have a think about what kind of person you’d like to be by the end of 2021? And for this exercise, I want you to go deeper than simply, ‘I want to be healthier’. In an ideal world, who do you want to become in the next 12-months? Get as specific as possible. Visualise what this looks like. Feel what it feels like.
  2. Once you have a clear picture in your mind of your end-of-2021-you, it’s now time to identify the characteristics you need to embody that person. What’s it going to take to get you there? Do you need to engage in more kindness? Perhaps doing some work on (re)connecting with your values is needed? What are the qualities of the person you want to become?
  3. Now, comes the fun bit. It’s time to pick a word. You may well have a list of things you want to focus on (I do!), but it turns out that successful multi-tasking is a fallacy. You need only to commit to ONE WORD. This one word will provide you with a high-level framework from which you can make changes, as well as a way to determine whether or not change is occurring. This process can be challenging, I know. So many words! But this can be a profoundly rewarding exercise. And, it can help guide your decisions during the year.
Word of the Year 2021
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What’s my word of the year FOR 2021?
Word of the Year 2021

Last year, my word was LESS. As in  LESS worry. LESS unnecessary complicating. LESS stress. LESS over-analysis. LESS excuses. LESS waste. LESS acquisition of ‘stuff’. LESS being in my head. LESS food that doesn’t serve me. LESS beating myself up for things that are outside my control. LESS comparisonitis. Sadly, LESS coffee.

Well. They say you should be careful what you wish for. COVID gave all of us a whole lot of unexpected LESS in 2020.

I’ve learnt my lesson. This year, I’m being a little more targeted with my word.

And, because it’s my word, I’m making it unashamedly all about me.


Chris Germer wrote, “A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”

My intention for 2021 is to extend my moments of self-compassion into strings. Ropes, even.

The notion of self-compassion isn’t new to me. I have written about it before. What is new is the idea of making it front and center as my overarching intention for the whole year.

When you first start digging into the idea of self-compassion, it can be common to think it is really just a form of self-pity. Worse, a form of self-indulgence.

In fact, self-compassion can be an antidote to self-pity. While self-pity says “poor me,” self-compassion recognises that life is hard for everyone.

As Dr Kristin Neff explains, “Research shows that self-compassionate people are more likely to engage in perspective-taking, rather than focusing on their own distress. They are also less likely to ruminate on how bad things are, which is one of the reasons self-compassionate people have better mental health.”

Given the mental health crisis that our world is currently facing thanks to COVID, I’m all for building my resilience.

Actively dropping from my head into my heart

I have a tendency to live very much in my head. I’m a queen of analysing and thinking and assessing all the ‘stuff’ – both internal and external. And when it comes to my ‘stuff’, I’m more than a smidge judgemental. I have a tendency to hold myself to a higher standard than I hold other peeps. It’s not healthy and it’s bloody exhausting.

So this year I’m working on:

  • Asking myself, “What do I need?” rather than “What should I do?”. Every day, as part of my morning ritual.
  • Seeking moments of joy in the everyday
  • Talking to myself as I would my best friend
Relaxing the work ethic (A LITTLE)

I have a tendency to spend endless hours in front of my computer being busy about my coaching practice. My fabulous crew in AIP Mentorship have let me know that more is not always better. Sometimes less is more.

I trust their collective judgment and I’m listening. This year I’m experimenting with:

  • Working smarter rather than harder
  • Setting boundaries to better manage my time
  • Noticing when my imposter syndrome feelings rear up
Focusing on my strengths (as opposed to obsessing over my weaknesses)

I can list all the myriad of the things I’m not good at. It’s a bloody long list. In fact, despite the fact that I bang on a lot about above the line thinking, I spend more time considering all my failing than the alternative. Pretty sure that I’m not unusual in this trait.

This year, I’m:

  • Doing more of what makes me happy and fulfilled
  • Deepening some of the personal rituals I know work for me
  • Reading more (because I love to read)
(Continuing to) MakE choices that serve my health

I’m well-practised at setting regular health goals. It’s part and parcel of being both a health coach and following an AIP way of life.

This year, I’m sticking to my AIP knitting, but with a more mindfulness-focused bent:

  • Continuing to set monthly health goals (and tweaks) to enhance my health
  • Utilising the principles of my Wheel of Health to help me continue to develop my AIP way of life in a way that serves me.
  • Pursuing self-compassion within this paradigm. (I’m starting with the Ten Per cent Happier 21-Day New Year Challenge)
What’s YOUR word for 2020?
Word of the Year 2021

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