A Twist on ‘Your Word for the Year’

15th Dec 2022

You’ve probably done an exercise where you choose your word for the year. It’s a really helpful way to bring focus to your reflections and intentions.


Here’s a twist on that.


A couple of days ago, I ran my final leadership team workshop for the year. We kicked it off with each team member sharing a single word that described their experience of 2022. Here’s what they shared:



Towards the end of the session, I asked them to share a single word that described how they’d like to experience 2023. Here’s what they shared:



What do you notice about the difference between the two sets of words?


To me, the first set has a flavour of ‘WTF just happened?’ The second set has a more aspirational and hopeful flavour.


Another way to put it might be that the first set describes how they experienced a world where things happened to them, and the second describes a world where they have slightly more agency, choice and impact.


Finally, I posed this question to the team:


Imagine it’s December 2023. What would it take for you to use the same words you’ve used to describe how you’d like 2023 to be once you’ve experienced 2023? 


In other words, how can you live those words next year?


No doubt 2023 will be just as challenging, complex and messy as 2022 was. How we experience those conditions will be up to us. We can be people for whom 2023 becomes a challenging, discombobulous blur, or we can experience it as a year of clarity, renewal and cohesion.


It comes down to mindset, and habits.


Mindset: adopt a mindset of choice.

Habits: build in habits of renewal.


To close off 2022 and look ahead to 2023, here are those questions for you:


  • What’s one word you’d use to describe how you experienced 2022?


  • What’s one word you’d use to describe how you want to experience 2023?


  • What would it take to get to the end of 2023 experiencing the year in that way?