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How to Get the Most Out of Your Word of the Year

Updated: Apr 7

Do you choose a word of the year, and then passively keep it in your awareness without a clear system for working with it? This causes you to miss out on an abundance of potential insight and transformation available to you. Would you like to know how to maximize your benefit from this practice all year long? Read on.

First, let me share how I choose my word because this is an important part of the practice. At first, it may feel random or forced, but it is—like any practice—an evolving relationship. Today, I would say that my word chooses me more than I choose it. It makes itself known to me and then I consciously agree to work with it. However, that was not always the case.

The first time I remember doing this was in 2016. I chose a phrase that had been in my awareness for some time and actively invited it as a guide to help me navigate my life. The phrase was Choose Joy. This is still a hugely important concept/action for me.

As I look back with curiosity, I remember attending a day-long yoga retreat many years before. As a part of the experience, we were prompted to choose a mantra to work with. The one that floated into my meditation that day was Live Happy, Live Healthy.

Starting that day, I worked consciously with that mantra for many years. As I did, I realized that more than these two phrases each being directives on their own, they were inviting me to explore the relationship between them. Through this exploration, I can now clearly see how the more I take action to increase my happiness, the healthier choices I make. Likewise, the more I take action to create a healthier lifestyle, the happier I am.

This eventually evolved and the more I made choices in service of my health and happiness, the more I experienced joy. Energetically speaking, having worked with the frequency of happiness for some time, I had recalibrated my natural state of being and opened the potential to access higher vibrational frequencies. Happiness was now my baseline and joy could become my muse.

Deciding to choose joy as an active directive was a major turning point for me. It began in the small moments with a slight shift in perspective or in taking an action I knew would bring me more joy than other available options I had at any given time. About four years after making this choice, I received a significant insight: that joy is an indicator of a successful venture for me. I now follow this guidance with devotion in my life and my business.

Working with joy has calibrated me to its energy so that I live in this realm regularly and has opened my capacity to experience bliss. It’s not that I live every second of my life in a joyous state but it’s a frequency I can access quickly and with ease whenever I make the effort. I have activated my connection with it and attuned my energy to this wavelength.

When I first started working with a word or concept like this, I did so intuitively and with curiosity, yet somewhat unconsciously. My choice to work with them was conscious, yet how I went about it was happenstance. Over the years, I’ve developed a framework to support me which has elevated my experience and expanded my outcomes with my word-of-the-year practice.

I don't recommend getting too rigid or disciplined, as that can create so much focus on the structure that you miss the subtle yet powerful insights which require presence and playfulness. However, having a framework to support you, allows you to be more playful while still connected to the intention of your practice—your journey of evolution.

There is a constant dance occurring between the form of my framework (action) and the flowing intuitive play of opening to and integrating the insights I receive through my practice. This is true all throughout the year as well as how and when I choose my word to work with.

I let the word, phrase, or concept appear to me over time. I’ve found that it generally starts showing up in subtle ways for a couple of weeks or even months before I recognize it as my next guide. I first notice that I find myself saying it often or having multiple conversations about it. Once I recognize this, I spend some time engaging with it more actively:

  • I set an intention to notice when it appears and ask my soul wisdom if this is in alignment with where I am and how I desire to grow.

  • I am open to the possibility that it is my guide as well as to the potential that it is not; that it is showing up as a stepping stone to lead me toward something else.

  • Eventually, it becomes crystal clear and I can articulate the new guide in a word (or words).

    • At this point, I can usually see how this new word or concept is an evolution of whatever I previously worked with. Yet sometimes this takes a little bit longer.

    • It is less important for this to make sense logically, but it is essential for it to resonate with how your soul wisdom receives a clear yes.

  • I write the word or phrase in a place where I see it often.

    • Personally, I like to create a vision board for the year. I create this as an artwork comprised of many images, words, phrases, and concepts that I want to work with over the coming year.

    • Once completed, I scan it and make it the backdrop of my computer screen so I see it consciously and feel it energetically for several hours almost daily.

  • I usually do this actively sometime between the winter solstice and the beginning of February when the lunar new year begins.

    • While New Year's Day on the Gregorian calendar is a popular time to do this kind of activity, it is not the only time or even the best time for everyone. Universally speaking, there are many supportive energies occurring at this time of year. The Gregorian calendar shifting into the New Year plays really well with your thinking channel and makes sense analytically. If you are more sensory or emotionally fluent, you may resonate more with the Winter Solstice or the Lunar New Year as a marker of a new cycle.

    • To learn more about the wisdom channels (Thinking, Images, Movement, Emotional, and Sensory), take the Soul Wisdom Language Quiz and download the Devotional Practices guide to help you Activate & Attune to your channels.

You can start this process at any time, yet there are powerful opportunities available to you by knowing when you are most supported energetically as this will amplify your intentions and support you as you receive, release, and integrate.

For instance, my birthday (solar return) and the beginning of my 11th house—well aligned with the energy of choosing the seeds for your next harvest, or in other words, creating a vision board, setting intentions, etc.—both fall near the beginning of January, so doing this work around the first of the year works well for me. My point is though, that there are multiple opportunities for you to begin this journey. Whenever you get the urge, the time is ripe!

If you are interested in exploring your personal calendar of the year and when there is Universal alignment to amplify your intentions, I am teaching a workshop on 1/22/23 called Charting Your Course in 2023. You can learn more here.

In my early years of consciously working with a guiding word, concept, or theme, I absolutely benefited in many ways. However, I can now see that these insights often took me years to receive, process, and integrate. I bumped my way along not really thinking about how to work with it to create transformation in my world, yet grateful for the wisdom nonetheless.

Since developing a framework to help me work with my guide, I take clear action and can see results much faster.

My framework contains three parts:

  1. The intention

  2. A supportive action

  3. A question for contemplation

I see the initial word, phrase, or concept as the intention. My intention for this year is: to evolve.

Then I choose a supportive action to help me achieve this. The one that I have chosen for this year is: measured progress. As with most things, this may change throughout the year as I progress along my journey.

This supportive action is the anchor that will continue to bring me back into my intention when (notice I did not say if) I stray too far off course. Some great indicators of this can be found in emotions such as confusion, frustration, and bitterness. If you're familiar with your human design, your not self-expression will tell you when you've drifted off alignment with your purpose.

I use my question for contemplation to help me take supportive action and engage my intention all throughout the year. It is through this engagement that I receive powerful insights that lead to my ever-evolving transformation. My question for contemplation this year is: How can I evolve with/in this fill-in-the-blank (moment, opportunity, challenge invitation, relationship, experience, etc.)?

Using this framework is how I have evolved from using my word of the year as a playful curiosity that occasionally brought me insights into a beautiful and frequently prosperous relationship. May it bring you much joy, wisdom, and prosperity along your journey!

In closing, I will share one final tool/insight that I’ve gained through this practice over the years. Both in my personal practice as well as in the work I do as a Soul Wisdom Mentor, I create a Soul Wisdom Compass inspired by my intention/guiding question. This is a channeled artwork and written message designed to help you chart your course throughout your journey and keep recalibrating to your guide—your North Star, the point with which this journey is moving you towards, your purpose.

Your guiding word, phrase, or concept is not your purpose, but an expression of it and an invitation to live it through your exploration of it.

Your purpose is to live authentically as yourself and to do so through your relationships, your internal evolution, and your sacred work. Everything else is just a tool to help you do so. I wish you all a joy-filled and insightful journey ahead!

If you would like support in creating this experience and working with the tools I've mentioned throughout this post, you can do so here. Make sure to mention that you read this post.


The images in this blog are from a channeled artwork and message titled Potential. You can experience the full message spoken in my voice on my YouTube Channel below.

The message is all about how to navigate the unknown and invite the gifts of potential in any experience life offers you.


Have you taken the Soul Wisdom Language Quiz yet?

Make sure to download the pdf at the end for lots of great tools to get started today!

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