I like the idea of choosing a word of the year to focus on and guide you. In order to choose a word, I took some time to reflect on the main themes from the previous year. I wrote down five words (direct, self-worth, self-advocate, self-esteem, and introspective) then winnowed it down to the one I felt strongest about.
When I reflected on the year and my strengths and weaknesses I kept coming back to the idea of self-worth. Self-worth and self-esteem are often thought of as synonyms but they are a little bit different because self-worth is more intrinsic and self-esteem is more extrinsic. I read an article that said, “Self-worth should be less about measuring yourself based on external actions and more about valuing your inherent worth as a person. In other words, self-worth is about who you are, not about what you do.” It reminded me of something my dad said recently when we were walking home from dinner. He said, “I’m proud of you, not because of what you’ve accomplished (although you’ve accomplished a lot) but because of your values.” It’s not about feeling good because you published an article, got a promotion, or had a “win” at work — it’s about feeling worthy regardless of external factors.
My main word is self-worth. When I reflected on the past year (and few years) the common themes were: not standing up for myself, not advocating for myself, and not practicing direct communication enough. To put it bluntly, there were times personally and professionally where I would walk on eggshells, be a doormat, and be quiet instead of being forceful.
Then I came up with a few short action items:
1. Be direct. Figure out how you feel then express it clearly.
2. Be your own best advocate.
3. Say no when necessary.
4. Focus on self-care.
Here’s How to Choose Your Word of the Year:
1. Reflect on the main themes from the previous year: How did you feel? What did you learn? What were some strengths and weaknesses?
2. Write down four or five words that you want to work on throughout the year.
3. Choose one word from the list.
4. Find a few action items you can focus on.
5. Think about that word (and act on it!) throughout the year.
What is your word for the year? Happy 2017!