Dec 24, 2022

 How to Pick Your Word-of-the-Year 

 We are almost at the end of 2022, and I honestly can't believe it! This year has just flown by. As we get closer to the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, the New Year brings about thoughts of resolutions and goal-setting for the things one wants to accomplish in the upcoming year.  There is excitement in this, but also a tad bit of stress.  We’ve all heard the statistics on the number of resolutions that fall by the wayside by the end of January, but I want different for you.  I want you to be able to follow through on your goals and resolutions so you can create that happier, more fulfilled life that you want.  This episode is more than just New Year’s resolution tips and information about New Year's resolutions and how to keep them.  Instead, of focusing on lofty goals, I’ll share with you the power that one thoughfully and carefully chosen word can have on reaching your goals in the upcoming year. In this episode, I’ll explain why I believe so strongly in having a Word-of-the-Year and how to choose your Word-of-the-year.  I’ll also explain how having a Word-of-the-Year instead of a resolution can keep you focused on your goals so that you can create the personal and professional life you want. 

If you've never heard a Word-of-the-Year, it is simply choosing a word that has meaning and relevance and that represents your goals and what you want for yourself in the upcoming year.  But it is different than a resolution. To me, resolutions always feel like rules and I feel like I'm setting myself up for failure. We feel like we have to accomplish these goals that, for me typically had to do with weight or running distance. While there's nothing wrong with resolutions, they typically have to do more with something you want to do or something you want to accomplish and that creates pressure, and I feel that we just don't need any more pressure because we are already under so much!  

In my opinion, choosing a Word-of-the-Year and setting a resolution work side-by-side because a Word-of-the-year helps you to focus on how you want to live and how you want to feel. And through powerful reflective practices such as reflecting on your last year, you can choose a word that is so powerful, and inspiring that it will be the driving force you need to reach your goals and to live the way you want to live.  I've had so many different Words-of-the-Year, and I did an episode a few years ago where I went through my entire process of creating a Word-of-the-Year step by step

My word of the year that I had that I created for this last year was fun. I felt like I had lost the fun in things, the fun in my personal life, the fun in Burned-In Teacher.  I felt like I was just being too serious and taking everything so seriously. Yes, life is serious, and I take my business of Burned-In Teacher and serving all of you very seriously, but also want to have fun. Fun is part of the reason that I want to be a teacher, I want to have fun with my students and I want to show them that life and school can be fun and that learning can be fun.  I want my students to know that even hard things can end up being a little bit fun if you make that a priority, and that’s the main reason why I choose the Word-of-the-Year that I did. 

I know that I am extremely futuristic - I’m always moving the goalposts and I'm always looking at the next thing to accomplish.  But at times I need to remind myself that we're not “human doings”, we're human beings. I believe so strongly and creating Word-of-the-Year because it has helped me to focus and be intentional with everything that I do and spend my time on. I’ll ask myself: Is this fun? Would this be fun? Or wouldn't it be fun? 

I'm going to take you quickly through the four basic fundamental steps of creating a Word-of-the-Year, but before I do that, I want to invite you to a free workshop where I am going to go through this process in depth with you and anybody else who registers. It’s so much more fun to do this kind of work -  to dream about how you want to feel and how you want to live within the next year - with people who are also on this journey and are on a path to bettering how they feel and how they want to be in the upcoming year. This workshop is going to take place live on Monday, January 9, at 8 pm EST.  When you register, I'll send you the Zoom link and I will also send you a link to get my Burned-In Teacher Word-of-the-Year resource from my Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s store which I encourage you to purchase as it will support and enhance the work that you’ll be doing in the workshop.  I have found so much power in creating a Word-of-the-Year, and I know that you’ll experience the power it has to change your perspective and support you in being more intentional with how you spend your time and energy in 2023


The Fundamental Steps to Create Your Word-of-the-Year 

Step #1: Reflect on your previous year 

Reflect on the past 12 months and brain-dump it all onto a piece of paper.  Think about how this past year felt. What did you do? What did you not like? What did you not like about the way you felt or the things that happened? 


Step #2: Brain dump your goals

Now, you’re not going to set a New Year’s resolution nor are we creating long-term goals right now. We're just thinking about what it is that you want for yourself in the upcoming year. What are some things that you'd like to see happen in your life? What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? Who do you want to hang out with? What do you want to see happen? 

 And then if you'd like to, you can even extend this practice to thinking about what you want in 3 and 5 years. What are your goals in the next three to five years? Where do you want to see yourself? Do you still want to be in the classroom? Do you want to be doing something else in education? Do you still want to live where you're living? Do you want to meet that special someone? Do you want to run a 5k? Or a marathon? What are some things that you want to do?


Step #3: Identify words that repeat or are synonymous with each other from steps one and two 

Think about what words are repeating or which words are connecting in some way and highlight them.  You’re going to choose/create your word of the year based on the words/phrases that you highlighted. 


Step #4: Decide on your Word-of-the-Year

Look at the words/phrases that you highlighted and decide on the ONE that encompasses all of them. This process is different than creating/choosing core values.  They sort of go hand in hand, but the Word-of-the-Year is that one word that you're continuing to strive to feel and striving to be and live as such.  


I shared with you that my Word-of-the-Year is fun, so what I've tried to do this year is focus on the fun  I've done so many new things just because it sounded like fun, and it's worked!  It’s kept me feeling ignited.  I've tried new things just based on the fact that they sounded fun or it sounded intriguing. 

This mindset has helped me to avoid burnout because as you know, burnout can show up in many different spaces of your life. It can show up in entrepreneurship, it can show up in parenthood, it can show up in your teaching profession, But if you have something to help you to remain intentional and help you to focus on how you want to feel, who you want to be, and how you want to live - the sky’s the limit!  Deciding on a Word-of-the-Year is going to help you to understand why you're doing the things that you're doing every day.  It's going to help you to reach those goals/resolutions that you set and to check if there's any misalignment.  Misalignment is a key factor in burnout and dissatisfaction because if what you're doing every day is not aligning with how you want to feel and how you want to live, that's a problem. 

Let's start this new year by being intentional about what it is that we want to feel in 2023!



  1. Reflect on your previous year.  Think about how you felt, what happened (or hasn’t happened), and what you did and write it all out on paper. 
  2. Reflect on what you want for yourself for the upcoming year.  Think about what you want to do, what you want to accomplish, and how you want to feel, and write it all out on paper.  
  3. Use the reflections that you did to determine your word of the year!  Looking for more on writing your Word-of-the-Year, check out my TpT product and make sure to sign up for my FREE workshop where I walk you through the entire process! 








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