words are vibrations
they impact your energy
choose yours with due care
Each year I choose 3 words to guide my year. It’s a ritual I received from Chris Brogan a decade ago.
The idea is that these 3 words provide a framework for the year. They are not a substitute for “goals.” Instead, they serve as daily reminders or guideposts. My three words become a filter for decisions, a supporting structure in the architecture of my plans.
I keep my words in front of me all year. I write them on a Post-It note, create artwork with them, use them as screen-savers on my devices. I work them into mantras. My 2016 words are engraved in the back of my iPad, which tells you how often I upgrade my technology 😉
In considering my words, I think a lot about what I want to create and how I want to be and grow and what I’m working on. I mind map words, I look up definitions, I feel into them. I take them for a walk.
This process is about choosing words that have meaning for you. It’s not just about the actual meaning.
The right words can really shape a year for the better. But when the words are off, my year tends to be off.
Some things I’ve learned from this process
This is a personal process, so everyone’s experiences vary. Here are some things I’ve learned from my experience.
- My best years tend to be when I choose words that are specific enough to be actionable on a daily basis. If the word is too general, or can’t be applied daily, it becomes more like a goal than a filter or guide.
- I tend to prefer verbs or other action-oriented words.
- The words have to sound good together. They need to have resonance for me, both individually and as a set. Taking them for a walk really helps.
- I tend to do best when I let the words come to me. The years when I have gotten stuck in overthinking the words and creating too many word trees were not good years.
Searching For Resonance
I typically announce my words on January 1 or 2nd. The years I didn’t do that were not good years. In 2015 I sustained a brain injury and never shared my words. That was a depressing year.
In 2020 I got hung up in indecision and didn’t share my words until July. I don’t think I need to say more about the shit-show of 2020.
So I’m mindful of approaching this with a sense of urgency. At the same time, I don’t want to rush into something.
This year, I had a set of words that came to me. I was all set to share them on January 1. But then I took them for a walk on New Year’s Day, and they felt heavy.
They felt like “things I need to work on” — more like desired outcomes than guide posts.
Words Are Vibrations
Words are vibrations. They carry energy. They set the tone. If words feel heavy, if they don’t energize you to get out of bed in the morning, you’re going to struggle.
I’m going to live with these words every day; I want them to feel good, to pull me forward. So I put those words on a shelf for now, and I’m continuing to listen and feel into the words that will support me.
In the meantime, I’ve been reading my past blog posts about my 3 words from each year and reflecting on what words and sets of words nourished me.
It reminds me of what my writing — and my life — can feel like when I approach it from a place of intention, instead of reaction.
I’m mindful that I don’t want to take too much time, because I don’t want to get stuck in the tangle of decisions.
Don’t Choose. Listen.
For now, I’m walking the line. Being in the emptiness of what wants to emerge.
Staying focused while also allowing it to come to me in its time.
Listening to the wind, taking sound baths and hearing the crystal bowls speak to me.
Trusting that the right words will emerge.
They always do.