Another year is winding to an end, with the next right around the corner. It happens every year, but still catches us off guard and can throw us into a tailspin. We fret over not coming far enough – personally, professionally, financially, emotionally, etc. – over the past 12 months, thinking of things we wished would have happened, wouldn’t have happened, and the different decisions we “should” have made. But where does that leave you? In the exact same spot.

Here’s what to do instead. Reflect, learn, and thank.

2016 seems to have been a collectively tough year. But there’s good in there. From little things you glossed over that seemed to pass by without notice, to lessons you learned the hard way, this year shaped you in some way. Get a piece of paper (or open Google Docs and copy/paste this list) and take some quiet time to answer some or all of these questions:

What were you most proud of in 2016?

What is a new skill you learned in 2016?

What did you let go of in 2016?

What changed you in 2016?

What new people did you bring into your circle in 2016?

What was your favorite moment of 2016?

How did 2016 make you stronger?

What were you most grateful for in 2016?

Look at these answers and acknowledge your accomplishments, take what you learned and let it help you in 2017, and thank 2016 for all the new/fun/scary/sad/challenging things that it brought you.

2017 brings possibilities, and we start off with excitement and enthusiasm, but after a few weeks, we gravitate towards old patterns in what we do and how we think. What helps is picking a Word of the Year. This word is meant to focus you on what you want out of the year, and drive you back to your goals when you get stuck in the routine of life.

Your Word will focus you on what you want this year, when you're stuck in the routine of life. Click To Tweet

Maybe one word pops into your mind immediately, but don’t worry if it doesn’t! Start writing words or phrases that resonate with you and how you want to feel in 2017. Take a break, go for a walk/call a friend/do some yoga, then come back to your list and see which words stuck with you.

Now for the fun part! Get a piece of construction paper or a cork board for those really into the crafting, a stack of magazines, scissors, and glue. Cut out large letters to spell your Word and glue them to your canvas first. I like to put a movie or music on and flip the magazines slowly.This shouldn’t seem like a chore, so enjoy the creative me-time and take your time! Cut out whatever jumps out at you, words, phrases, photos, and drawings, anything that represents who and what you want to be in the new year.

Once you’re done, hang or place it by your desk or bedroom mirror; somewhere that you’ll see it everyday. When you’re in the middle of a project, feeling in a rut, or are asked to take on something new, think about your Word. How will the project you’re stressed about get you towards your goals? Maybe it’s teaching you to be a better collaborator which is something you wanted to work on. Does taking the lead of your friends’ book club open opportunities for, or detract you from, your 2017 Word? This word will ground you when you feel things are spinning out of your plan, inspire you when you feel stuck, and help you make tough decisions.

Last year, my Word was Empower. This year, I chose Embrace <3

What’s your Word of the Year?

Published by Samantha Kellgren

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