How One Word Can Change Your Life

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Every year for about the last 10 years or so, instead of making new year’s resolutions, I choose a word that will become my guide for the coming year. I use this word as a way to stay focused and move my life in the direction that I want it to go. When I feel like I’ve lost my way a little, all I need to do is remember my word and it helps to put me right back on track.

A single word is a powerful thing. It carries both focus and clarity – two things that can help you achieve your goals more easily, and ultimately make positive changes in your life. A word also comes with no rigid expectations like resolutions do. This means there’s room for making mistakes but then getting back on track and beginning again right from where you are – without guilt or a sense of failure.

My Word for 2020

This year my word is change, or to be more exact “embrace change”. Embracing change can be a difficult thing, as it often makes us feel uncomfortable. It shifts us out of our comfort zone and forces us to look at things in a different way; sometimes pushing us in a different direction. The secret to embracing change is resilience and learning to flow with life’s changes instead of pushing against them.

Developing Rituals

Right from the beginning I’ve really embraced the whole concept of using a word as a guide, and over the years I’ve developed a ritual for giving my word some extra magic. Every year I make a piece of art that represents my word using images, symbols, colors, fabric and stitch. In essence I create a talisman.

I believe that when we create from the heart and soul, our energy and intention is transferred and embedded into the artwork. This type of art becomes sacred and special; holding a personal type of magic for the creator.

This year I created a visual journal and went deeper into the process of identifying what the word means to me. I enjoyed the process of working in a journal which offers lots of pages to explore all the different aspects of the word. “The Visual Insights Journal” is now an online class and you can find details here.

The Visual Insights Journal - a stitched mixed media fabric journal

The Visual Insights Journal - a stitched mixed media fabric journal

In previous years I’ve made “vision cards” which are small pieces of art in card form, that represent my word.

How One Word Can Change Your Life

How One Word Can Change Your Life

How One Word Can Change Your Life

How One Word Can Change Your Life

How One Word Can Change Your Life

I even turned one of the cards into a small wall hanginging so I could hang it on the wall and look at it every day.

How One Word Can Change Your Life

How One Word Can Change Your Life

Another year I made a book cover for my sketchbook which I use just about every day, so I never forgot my word.

How One Word Can Change Your Life

I also sometimes like to dig deeper by making small journals that use a single word. This concept challenges you you to consider what a journal really is, and is the next video workshop I’ll be presenting in Creative Art’n’Soul Journaling. You can find more details about Creative Art’n’Soul here.

How One Word Can Change Your Life

Last year I made a mixed media wall hanging with a tiny journal to hold my word. This was so much fun I turned it into an online class. You can find details about it here.

How One Word Can Change Your Life

How One Word Can Change Your Life

How One Word Can Change Your Life

Whichever way you choose and use your word, it’s a wonderful way to get through the year. At the end of the year looking back, I’m always amazed at how things unfold in the most amazing way, often bringing profound change along with it.

To choose a word I use this simple 3-step process:

1. Get Clear about your Vision
The first step to finding your word is to get clear about what you want. How do you envision the coming year? Are there changes that you want to make such as discarding old habits and creating new ones? What is it that you want to be, do or have? How do you want to feel? Take time to make a list.

2. Define Your Vision
Once you have clarity about how you want the year ahead to look, define how these changes or things will impact you. It’s not enough to make a list of all the things you want, without also understanding why you want them.

3. Choose Your Word
Now it’s time to choose a word that captures the essence of how you envision your coming year. Make a list of all possible words and pick one that feels right. I generally use my intuition when choosing a word. Intuition comes from a place of deeper knowing and understanding. It’s never wrong.

I hope your word brings you an amazing year ahead.

And if you have already chosen a word for the coming year, free free to share it in the comments below.

18 thoughts on “How One Word Can Change Your Life”

  1. Thanks so much for your timely post. Without really thinking about it, over the last month, one word kept popping into my head. After reading your post today I know it’s the word of the year for me. And so the journey begins……

    1. So exciting to incorporate ONE WORD to embrace .knowing and stepping forth in life that if sincere your life will change to
      In ways U can’t comprehend.
      I look forward to it.

      My word for the year is MINDFULNESS

  2. Diane Foote-Taylor

    Thank you so much Linda, you have touched my heart and my imagination.
    Seasons greetings!

  3. Thank you for this lovely post. I think you have touched a lot of people with your positive outlook. It certainly touched me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. As I read this in its entirety a word for me came immediately to my mind ! It is change. I am a senior and do think about all the changes I am experiencing but I want to embrace them enthusiastically and so my word is “ change “

  5. Your vision cards are lovely…what a clever idea to jump-start the year creatively. FOCUS is the word I chose for this year (and I see that’s one that you’ve created a card for already!) After reading a few books on “clearing clutter” and visiting websites dealing with the subject of artistic focus, I realized I need to hone down my techniques to those that will keep me on a path to ultimately creating a cohesive collection of works, rather than just producing a bunch of fun art projects (although there’s nothing wrong with that!) So this year, I vow to FOCUS on surface design techniques on fabric, to eventually produce wearables and/or quilted art pieces. And that commitment feels good! Happy Holidays, everyone!

  6. Catherine de Seton

    I too have my word – it happened unexpectedly when I was commenting on another blog about their “word” – saying I couldn’t “see” my word – when all of sudden it was there, after I hit “post” so I posted my word EXPLORE.
    Right now, I’m exploring my storage shed, mainly fibre related items out their, all carefully bagged/boxed…I’m about 3/4 way through, and have dedicated a good part of each week to that…
    If I’m thinking of saving something either from the bin, the thrift shop or another human – I put what I can through the washer…and then it’s reaccessed at the next level…making good progress.

    1. Catherine de Seton

      and ideas on what to do with “saved” materials are surfacing, so I’m feeling very positive that in February – things will begin to evolve…

  7. After reading your post I sat here thinking. What would I like my word to be. Thought I pop into my sewing room and it came to me ENJOY. I had a year in 2018 where everything was a struggle. Both mentally and physically. So this year is to enjoy the thing I do . Starting with making a card. Thankyou Linda

    1. Catherine de Seton

      Linda, I was supposed to sort/sift up everything in the “shed” last year – where there is 50/50 of craft/other – but all I did really was put more in there, a bit better organised.
      Then early winter (remember I’m New Zealand), around April and my health worsened, no medic seemed to work out what until bingo in August severe pains and ended up entertaining a surgeon. I finally felt better in early December…
      However, within all that my art program kept calling me, even if I had gotten a medical certificate, I would still need to catch up…

      So EXPLORE fits well with me, and I’m working at quite a speed in my shed/many things have gone into the washer (it’s summer now, here); and there are nice piles with ideas swimming in my head. I know EXPLORE is the right word…at this point in time

  8. Shari J Adkisson

    I have been choosing a word for the year for about 8 years, and they always just come to me. In 2017, 2018 and 2019 I had some medical issues and then depression, so for those years my word was CONTENTMENT. If I could be content I could survive. 2020 will be much better, and while reading something (not sure what it was) I came up with GRACE (also the name of my niece and gym buddy) but I mean grace in all the connotations. I am now inspired to make at least an art card for my word. Thank you for the post.

  9. For a while I have been trying to find a focus amongst all the different types of craft and art I do. I have also moved to a new neighbourhood so getting to know people, finding interest groups and exploring is my now. The word that has come to mind for me is CONNECT. Connect to people, my emotions and to join up all the different parts of me and my art and craft. So not so much a focusing but creating different things though new connections.
    Thank you Linda for the inspiration.

  10. I just found your blog 2 days ago, and I am so glad that I did. I couldn’t think of a word that inspired me. Yesterday morning I was reading an article, and 2 words popped off the page, Gratefulness and Positivity. (The words actually popped). I wanted to choose both words, but chose Gratefulness, even though I do need to be more positive at times. (Maybe that will be my word for next year). I am so Grateful for all that I have, a wonderful family, and adorable friends. Thank you for this very wonderful and timely article. XO

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