2017 is officially off and running and I don’t know about you, but my inbox was slammed with a crushing amount of New Year’s resolutions emails these past few weeks – how to set them, why you need them and what to do when you break them…which for many of us has {cringe} already happened.

Now, I personally love what New Year’s resolutions represent: intentionally putting in the effort to make changes that will ultimately improve your lifeand I think that the newness of a year is a great time to think about those things and all the possibilities that come from starting with a fresh, clean slate.

The Year Of...with Vicki Marquez

BUT a few years ago I decided to ditch the idea of setting random resolutions for a slightly more valuable concept that I call: The Year Of…!

The Year Of…is pretty straightforward. You simply choose a word that you want to represent your year — love, no, strength, quality, kindness, perspective — and then you let that word guide your decisions, keep you focused on your top priorities and help you achieve your goals for the next 365 days.

Words are simple yet powerful, and what I like most about choosing a word is that you can apply it to all of your resolutions. For example, if you decide that this is The Year Of Strength, you can tape “strength” to the bathroom mirror as a reminder to not let the morning hustle get you down. You can scribble “strength” on the palm of your hand when you’re having a difficult conversation with a loved one so you remember to stay strong. You can think “strength” (like it’s your mantra) when you’re at the gym trying to get through that last set of squats.

It’s like this:

Setting a resolution is like a using a shovel – it helps you clear the path so you can get where you want to go, but choosing a word is like having a snow blower…it’s far more powerful and effective.

Trust me, words work.

Last year my word was ABUNDANCE – a word that led me to a lot of “yeses” – and as a result 2016 definitely overflowed with a fullness of work, success, opportunity, adventure, excitement, emotion, struggle and growth, both personally and professionally.

This year, I chose the word INTENTION. After reflecting on the past twelve months I realized that I wasn’t always intentional with all of those abundant “yeses”. I took on projects without having a clear vision why, I hustled hard without stopping to evaluate if I was on the right path, and I allowed a few unnecessary (and time-consuming) activities to pull me away from my big goals and the things that mattered most.

So, how do I pick my word?

As you may have noticed, I used last year’s successes and setbacks to help me discover which word would help me accomplish my goals for this year. There’s so much wisdom that comes from looking back in the rear-view mirror and self-reflecting…hindsight is always 20/20.

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” – Margaret Wheatley

I use this “three-question-reflection ritual” to help me reflect on the previous year — what worked and what didn’t — leveraging what I’ve learned to help me get clear on my goals, choose my word and prepare for a great year ahead.

I journal the answers to the following questions in three key areas of my life: self, relationships and career.

  1. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  2. What mistakes, experiences or situations did you learn and grow from?
  3. What will you commit to this year?

These questions help highlight wins (so that you can have more of them), identify weaknesses (so that you can learn and grow from them) and take focused action going forward (so that you can keep improving and inching closer to creating the life you really really want).

The Year Of...with Vicki Marquez

Once you’re clear on what you want and where you want to go, you simply pick a word that defines your vision and then you prepare to dominate the new year.

Ok. Now it’s time to rock this out and give it a go. Let me know how you feel about choosing a New Year’s word over a resolution? Have you ever done it and if so, how did it go? What’s your favorite self-reflection ritual?

And, if you feel like sharing, I’d love to know…what’s your word for 2017?

Conversation sparks inspiration so comment below!

Wishing you The Year Of…Everything You Wish For And More!