Word of the Year – How I chose mine and how it guided me

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Today I’m sharing how I chose my word of the year, how it guided me this year and the word I’ve chosen for 2024.

Choosing a Word

There have been times in the past when I’ve chosen a word for the year, but until last year most of them didn’t have much impact for me.

The key seemed to be that I really needed my word for this year.

At the end of 2022 I realized I was languishing. We’d been through so much as a family over the previous couple of years and we were still going through a lot.

The word Flourish came naturally out of the desire to not be languishing anymore. I wanted to build into my life some conditions so that I could flourish no matter what hard circumstances might come up during the year.

In order to choose a word that will really guide you through a whole year, you will need to make time for some contemplation.

Thinking through the questions I listed last week might be helpful in coming up with a word. 

Keeping your Word Visible Through the Year

For the word to have the most impact, we need to keep it in mind all year.

Starting Flourish52 turned out to be a great way for me to do that.

Writing each week gave me a way to document what I was learning about creating flourishing conditions and to share with others who were also interested.

Chances are you won’t start a newsletter or blog around your word of the year, so what are some other ideas for keeping your word in your awareness all year?

First, if you’ve chosen a word that truly resonates with you, you’ll find yourself going back to it naturally.

Many years ago, I chose the word Expand and it helped me make several decisions outside my comfort zone over the course of the year. As opportunities came up, I would remember my word, then act on it.

It’s also helpful to find other ways to keep the word top of mind.

Some people like to choose an image that symbolizes their word.

You could print a photo or find a sticker to add to your planner or water bottle or hang it on your fridge or by your desk.

I’ve also heard of people buying a piece of jewelry with the word engraved on it.

This year, I’m going to experiment with designing my goals around my word for 2024 as a way to connect with it more.

My word for 2024

I started thinking about what I wanted to choose for 2024 a month or so ago and the idea that came to mind was Bloom.

I really want to continue and deepen the flourishing I’ve done this year. Next year, I’d like to see manifestations of flourishing in my life. I want to see the fruit of the work I’ve been doing.

As I tend to do, I went to the thesaurus with the word bloom to see if I could find something that more fully expressed what I wanted.

I found a new-to-me word: Efflorescence

Here’s the definition of efflorescence rom the Merriam Webster Dictionary:

The action or process of developing and unfolding as if coming into flower: Blossoming.

Fullness of manifestation: Culmination.

A period or state of flowering.

(There’s also a definition that involves chemical reaction, but I’m ignoring that one, because it doesn’t fit what I want.)

I love so much of what the word Efflorescence means. The words blossoming, unfolding, manifestation and culmination all feel relevant to the idea I want to get at.

So Efflorescence is my word for the year and the shorthand for it is Bloom.

I’m looking for an outward expression of inward flourishing.

Other times to choose a word or phrase

This year I also found that choosing a list of word to express my desired feelings has been very helpful. I wrote about that process here.

I also chose a guiding phrase for the holiday season this year and that also has been very helpful to me.

It strikes me that if choosing one word for a whole year is more than you want, try choosing a word or phrase for each season.

What word(s) have you chosen?

I’d love to know if you’ve chosen a word of the year or a guiding phrase and how it’s helped you. Share in the comments below.


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  1. My 2024 word is capable. Self-doubt has been getting the boot for a while now. I know I am capable of healing, releasing trauma, and becoming more of my authentic self.

  2. Picking a word for the year is fairly new to me. 2022 was a rough year. Through a series of events that only God could organize, I attended a couple online events that led to my word for 2023 which was Reclaim. For 2024 my word is Reset. A couple goals for the coming year involve incorporating healthy habits and evaluating habits, routines, systems, and resets.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on flourishing this year. It's given me lots of things to think about.

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