My Thoughts About Words Of The Year

My Thoughts About Words Of The Year

I don’t know if I believe in choosing your word for the year in January. It’s so hard to know what is practical & what will happen & if it will even have any meaning in a month or two.


But maybe this is why I shouldn’t think when I’m tired. For weeks I’ve been waking up at 5am from sun & birds and I’m plain cranky at it now. I just want to sleep in. Please! I’m on holiday. Even “sleeping in” to my work day wake up time of 6am would be great!


Then I think about work. And life. And this weird transition I’m in.


Maybe I’ve had so many reactionary survival years that I don’t get the idea that life is stable enough to choose a guiding word as purpose. 


My Thoughts About Words Of The Year



And why the fuck do people sit at the bloody beach with their car running?! Sorry. I’m typing this at the beach on my phone over the break and my lack of sleep is making me stabby.


Anyway, maybe choosing a word for the year is a level of privilege that not all have. Sometimes a guiding principle is not useful if it is so different to the track your life takes? Right now (and again, full disclosure when I’m tired I pretty much hate everything) it feels like people who tell me my sinus issues can be solved with essential oils. No. I need surgery, actually. Sure some days eucalyptus in the steam of a shower can help. But that’s also with me taking between one and three types of antihistamines the same day.


And now to backflip. The real reason I started writing this is because I think my word is purpose. Perhaps what needs to come out of my transition is defining my purpose. 


But I also don’t want a word right now because then I’ll overthink it and I just don’t think that would help me find my purpose. Only time can.


The more I reflect on last years word, reclaim, the more I think I did do it. But not in the way it might be obvious. Through the ups and downs of 2016, of work, uni & health, I feel like I represented myself more. I did start to re-find my voice & wipe away the generic face I had put on for a few years while in the depths of coping. 


These were often in small ways. But sometimes I think small is more important than big. Small is the building blocks. The consistency. 


There is no real conclusion to this post… just thoughts.




The above part is what I wrote on my holiday. And then I came across this post which linked to this Facebook status. And it resonated with me. I don’t like the SMART goals. But the idea of themes or intentions align much better with me, especially knowing I am a qualitative person. We can’t predict the variables that equal ‘results’ in systems like SMART goal setting. But we can do our best to create and help and grow that way. I’m going to think about it and see what words come to me.


24 Replies to “My Thoughts About Words Of The Year”

  1. You’ll see in my post that I ponder on the usefulness of WOTY as well. But then again I think the same about resolutions and bucket lists and the like. Which is weird as I’m a big list-maker.

    I think my biggest problem is that I’m cynical about achieving goals I set, but I’m hoping that’s changing and I’m being a bit more positive in general.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I think I don’t really know what I want sometimes, so goals can feel a bit pointless to me.

  2. I am a big fan of word of the year. It simplifies the whole process of NY resolutions and brings it back to something you can work with and not give up on. It may reinterpret itself (as your 2016 word did) but it gives a starting point to what you intend for the year.. I’ve done three now – Release; Embrace; and Enough and they have been stepping stones to choosing to live my life with intention and integrity. I hope your new word does that for you too x

    1. It’s interesting that you can see how your words would flow very well from year to year too!

  3. We each need to find a way to move forward in our own ways and a word of the year works for some, resolutions work for others (who I’m not sure!). For me it’s goals but not SMART goals, just annual targets that I break down by month and then action as best I can. That works for me, it might not for someone else. Viva la difference

    1. Sounds like you’ve got what suits you!

  4. Your post had me giggling on the bus – & that’s a good thing! Wishing you a fabulous year – word or no word. 🙂

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Thanks Jo 🙂

  5. I think we should have a different word for every month, particularly silly words. Made up ones, too. Why not?

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Why not indeed.

  6. Vanessa, I do not think I have ever read post from you that does not ask a lot of questions..of you and your readership. I go along with the WOTY thing because it gives me a start to the year..and then, I often forget it!! I do believe your next Uni course has to be are the ultimate thinker!! Thanks for linking up #lifethisweek 2/52
    PS ask a lot of people about the ‘success’ of sinus surgery before agreeing to it. No I don’t recommend anything else..No I don’t have to live with it…but I know of some people who had it…and regretted it…sorry to say. D x

    1. I am certainly not an expert blogger – unless asking questions is an expert 🙂 The sinus surgery is a way off – sadly the public wait list just for an appointment will be at least another year. I know the surgery isn’t always successful for polyp removals but I probably need tonsils and other things out too – so I just gotta wait and hope that I get a good doctor who will talk through it with me.

  7. I sit in my car sometimes when I’m exhausted and it seems all too hard to get from the car to the front door if there’s something good on the radio. 😉 If I was at the beach though… I’d be outta there and my toes would be in the sand! I like the whole WOTY thing, but I also think it’s pretty useless if there’s no specific intentions behind it. We use SMART Goals at work and they drive me a bit batty as they always have to be so data driven and quantifiable and I sometimes want more room to wiggle and get creative with things! Just setting an intention or being specific about how I’m going to do something without obsessing too much over the timeline helps me focus without feeling dragged down.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Haha exactly – use that sand for what it’s there for – enjoying! I think companies get too focussed on quantifiable goals when you can’t quantify every variable that impacts on work.

  8. I agree with above comments about the value of guiding words and that each person needs to find what works for them. I find that my words have each helped me grow in new directions and make changes that I actually wanted in my life (rather than shoulds and expectations).

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      That’s a nice way to define it and think about it – to break from the shoulds.

  9. What the F? Why are they at the beach with their car running? I want to know now!
    So I’ve never chosen a word before because I basically felt the same way you’re describing here. But I’m trying it out this year, because, it can’t hurt right?

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I love that I live by the beach but a few things really bug me, like people who leave the car running, boot camp people yelling on an otherwise silent beach…

  10. I was a bit of a sceptic about the word thing but it’s grown on me.

    SSG xxx

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It grew on me last year but just doesn’t sit with me this year.

  11. There’s no right or wrong. I find a word for the year really gives me clarity, but maybe because I’m now in a space where I can fit it in. Maybe you are getting there. Maybe you don’t need a word for the year, maybe just a word to get through each day to start. I like purpose. I can see it working for you.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Purpose may end up being it 🙂

  12. All I can say is I sometimes sit at the beach with my car running so my kid will stay asleep and I have something pretty to look at :p

    So there you go

    1. Haha I’ll allow it 😉

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