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5 Steps to Choosing Your Guiding Word for 2020 (And Bringing Closure to the Last Decade)

In my last blog I was talking about alternatives to the New Year’s resolution, one of them being choosing a Guiding Word instead. In this blog, I want to walk you through my process of not just picking a word out of a hat that sounds good, but really deliberately finding a word that serves your goals, your needs, and really helps to guide you through the new year.

Watch here or read below.

5 Steps to Choosing Your Guiding Word for 2020 (And Bringing Closure to the Last Decade) Click To Tweet

Now, just a quick disclaimer: I actually have a small course on how to choose your guiding word.

I’m going to walk you through the steps that are in that course, giving you some tools, and some tips, and strategies that you can use right now. However, if you would like to take this a little bit deeper, you can clear to check out the entire.

Step #1 – Set the mood

Your very first step to choosing a Guiding Word is to set the mood for the process by creating a space and setting some intentions.

There’s a lot of ways that you can do this, but the first thing that you need to do is just find some open time on your calendar where you can sit down undisturbed and go through this process. I also like to grab my favorite pen. I actually like to print out the worksheets so that I can do this longhand, and I’ll diffuse my favorite oils for this process. Namely, I like Clary Sage, which is all about clarity, as well as Frankincense, which is a very spiritual oil, to just kind of open up your intuition.

When it comes to setting the intention, I recommend that you set an intention based on how you want the process to go, whether you want to go through it calmly, whether you want to have fun, whether you want to make sure that anything that comes up during the process stays on the page. Whatever it might be, set those intentions ahead of time with any sort of rituals or practices that you prefer.

Tara holding u a sign that says "kind"
Step #2 – Reflect On the Last Year

The second step is to do reflection on your past year. Or if you’re doing this based on a season of life or closing a chapter, then you’ll want to look at it in terms of that instead.

I recommend doing this in two different ways, and I’m going to share some of the questions that are in the course to help inspire you.

The first way is to look at the challenges that have happened over this past year or season of your life. Some questions that might help you to do that are things like:

  • What challenged you the most in this past year?
  • What got neglected this year?
  • Why did it get neglected?

This is going to give you a lot of insight that you’re going to use in the following steps.

But, don’t just focus on the negative. I also want you to focus on the positive. Some questions that will help you to do that are:

  • What got prioritized this year?
  • How and why? (And yes, I realized that this could actually be negative if you were prioritizing the wrong things.)
  • What was absolutely wonderful about this past year?
  • Who or what never failed you?
  • What were your top achievements?

Things like this will help you to do the reflection on where you’ve been, which will give you the insight of where you want to go next. I would love for you to drop me a comment below and let me know your biggest wins of this past year.

Step #3 – Bringing Closure

Step number three is about bringing closure to the past year of your life.

Some questions that might help you to do that are things like:

  • Are there any habits, choices, projects, or commitments from the past year that you need to release before you can move forward
  • Is there anyone from the past year you need to forgive?

Asking questions like that helps you to do a little bit of planning of what you want to do before you move ahead into the next year.

If we don’t take the time to bring closure to things, a lot of times we feel like we’re dragging this year into the next one. And I don’t know about you, but dragging this past year into the next one is not my idea of fun.

Step #4 – Look for Patterns or Lessons

Step number four is to take all of this that you’ve just worked on, all the questions that you’ve answered, everything you’ve journaled out and look for patterns or lessons.

The lessons and the patterns from this past year are going to give you the guidance for your next year. And particularly, what I want you to do is look through all of these things for common words or themes that have come up again and again.

As you write all of those down, you can do some reflecting on them. You can dig into them a little bit to really understand what each word means to you. You can even break open a thesaurus and find some similar words. In fact, one thing that I like to do is take a couple of my words and pass them on to somebody that I know and trust and ask for their feedback, ask them for a word that kind of embodies all of the things that I might be working on.

Once you’ve found your word, you can move on to the next step.

Step #5 – reflecting on the word

Step number five for finding your Guiding Word is to reflect on the word itself.

This is where you will define the meaning of it for yourself. You’ll look at how and where you want to embody it in your life. You’ll even look at how you want to use it to influence other intentions or goals that you’re setting for the year.

This fifth step is the most important step, and it’s the one that a lot of people breeze over too quickly.

When I go through this with people in the course, I really help them to look at this from every angle. Because the more awareness, and mindfulness, and intention you can bring to this aspect, the more you’re going to see your Guiding Word really making an impression on you throughout the year.

Most people don’t do that. Like I said, they breeze past it. Then, a couple months into it, their Guiding Word has turned into a resolution that they’ve totally forgotten. Don’t allow that to happen. Really sit down and dig into your guiding word, vision some things out for your life, and figure out how you this to start showing up for you. The more time you spend in step #5, the more you’re going to see your guiding word come to life in the next year.

If this is something that you would like some support on and some deeper coaching around…

Grab my course Your Guiding Word. It’s very inexpensive intentionally, and it’s something that you can use again and again, whether it’s the new year or just a new chapter in your life.

What about you, Boss Lady?

Did you have a Guiding Word for this past year? Comment below to let me know what it was and how it went


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