My Word of the Year: Courage

Last year I was introduced to an interesting idea by Christine Kane in her wonderful LiveCreative blog. Instead of making a list of New Year's resolutions each January, she suggests that you pick just one word to focus on throughout the year.

Last year the word that I picked was "Connection" because I really wanted to connect more deeply with my friends, my family, my colleagues, and my clients.

I kept the word "Connection" on my vision board all year to remind myself of the improvements that I wanted to make in this area of my life.

I found that as 2008 progressed, not only did I bond more with others, but I also re-connected with my spirituality in a profound way. What an unexpected surprise!

This year the word that I have picked is "Courage" (hence the Cowardly Lion in the photo above).

I want to step more bravely into improving my body and health through CrossFit, a Zone diet, and bicycling.

I want to fearlessly develop my Life Coaching practice while I continue to grow my organizing business.

And I want to be more bold and authentic in my writing. I am starting a couple of other blogs related to life coaching and thriving after cancer. It is my goal to be fearlessly open to whatever inspirations may come from these endeavors.

Here's an exerpt from Christine Kane's blog to give you an idea of how you might use this approach as you begin the new year:

Several years ago, my friend Kathy and I decided that, instead of making resolutions, we would pick a word that would guide us throughout the year. It would be our touchstone. It would remind us to live our lives at the BE level.

This didn't mean that we didn't take action. It meant that our actions were inspired from the BE level. In fact, I took more action than ever with this new approach!

For two years, I've blogged about this inspiring way to begin the year. The response has been huge. So have the success rates! I regularly hear from people who have created big changes in these lives because they focused on one word.


Let's say you're one of the many people who would normally choose "Get Organized." You're tired of chaos and clutter. So, you think, "I need to get organized. That will be my resolution."

But then you read this article. You decide to try this new approach.

You sit with your clutter. You spend a few days pondering words. You realize in an "Ah-Ha" moment that you hold on to lots of things. You're scared to let go.

So you choose the word "Release" because it inspires you in a bigger way than "Get organized."

So, every time you approach your clutter you remind yourself of that word. "Release," you say softly. You start to let the clutter go.

Eventually, you realize that you're still holding on to lots more than just physical clutter. You realize that you hold onto resentment at old relationships. "Release," you remind yourself.

You realize that holding on is affecting your diet and health. "Release" applies to some of the extra weight you've gained as well. Throughout the year, you can see clearly how much you hold on. "Release" is your touchstone. It grows you throughout the year. It becomes your guiding force, not your harsh standard.

Your clutter became your teacher simply because you shifted your intent towards it. This wouldn't have happened if you'd opted only to "Get Organized."

What word will you choose for 2009?

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishers her "LiveCreative" weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for her FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at


Cheryl McIntosh said...

I love your comments on the Word for the year. A friend gave me an extended view courage through the lens of an encourager. Encourager - one who infuses courage into another. How true this is. Things I strive for, especially now post surgery, are pushed higher because of the encouragement of another. I try harder and take the next tiny step because someone has encouraged me.
Hey Suellen - interested in taking a journaling workshop? I think I've found one that might be good.

Love you my girl

Suellen said...

Cheryl: I have you to thank for first introducing me to Christine Kane's blog and, therefore, the Word For The Year.

My friend, you are teaching me so, so much about courage as you recover from your surgery. My needs for courage pale in comparison. I'm sending you enCOURAGEment every day, darlin.

I'll get in touch with you about the journaling workshop!