I sit in a small alcove of my small log home, my back the dining table which is stretched to its maximum length. Around its scratched wooden surface friends and family have gathered to play games. Their feet tap to tunes and their voices rise above the din of laughter and good hearted debate. It’s the eve of the new year, of 2024!
Thoughts of the upcoming twelve months have followed me from sun up to sun down for the last week. I’ve been making notes on my computer, planner, phone and scraps of paper. I have ideas and projects enough to fill a few years I’m sure, but they are doable… with one caveat. As 2023 marches bravely towards its final moments, I know that the biggest challenge I face going into 2024 is myself. Yes, it’s me, my mindset and my fears. So it’s on the cusp another year while those around me celebrate that I sneak away from the excitement for a moment to scrawl a single word – my one word.
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Picking a Nudge Word
Making new year’s resolutions has been around for a long time. According to The History of New Year’s Resolutions, humans have been making “new year” resolutions for around 4,000 years. While these resolutions were initially targeted towards gods and deities, over time they’ve lost their religious fervors and been replaced with enthusiasm for personal improvement. North Americans, in particular, love their new year’s resolutions despite the fact that the average resolution lasts just 3.74 months. Perhaps this dismal success rate is how the “one word” or “nudge word” resolution started.
A nudge word is a single word that sets an intention or inspiration for the year. To pick a one word resolution, or a nudge word here’s what’s most often recommended.
1. Reflect on your life this last year.
Take some time to sit and reflect on your life over the past year.
- What brought joy in your life?
- What were some challenges you faced?
- What are the things that you wish you could change about yourself or your situation?
2. Imagine the person you want to become.
Ignore what others have said about you in the past, or what you’ve said to yourself in the past. You have the capacity to stretch, grow and change.
- How do you want to change?
- Who do you want to become?
- What are the traits, values and behaviours that this new version of yourself has?
Books worth reading on the topic of personal growth and change:
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
In this brilliant book, Dweck shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we approach our goals. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are far less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and mentorship. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment. (description from Amazon.com)
Think Again reveals that we don’t have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. It’s an invitation to let go of views that are no longer serving us well and prize mental flexibility over foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom. (description from Amazon.com)
The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power by Brendon Burchard
The Motivation Manifesto is a call to claim our personal power. World-renowned high performance trainer Brendon Burchard reveals that the main motive of humankind is the pursuit of greater Personal Freedom. (description from Amazon.com)
The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life by Mike Rucker PhD
Doesn’t it seem that the more we seek happiness, the more elusive it becomes? There is an easy fix: fun is an action you can take here and now, practically anywhere, anytime. Through research and science, we know fun is enormously beneficial to our physical and psychological well-being, yet fun’s absence from our modern lives is striking. Whether you’re a frustrated high-achiever trying to find a better work-life balance or someone who is seeking relief from life’s overwhelming challenges, it is time you gain access to the best medicine available.(description from Amazon.com)
High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard
Whether you want to get more done, lead others better, develop skill faster, or dramatically increase your sense of joy and confidence, the habits in this book will help you achieve it faster. Each of the six habits is illustrated by powerful vignettes, cutting-edge science, thought-provoking exercises, and real-world daily practices you can implement right now.
If you’ve ever wanted a science-backed, heart-centered plan to living a better quality of life, it’s in your hands. Best of all, you can measure your progress. A link to a free professional assessment is included in the book.
(description from Amazon.com)
3. Select One Word.
After reflecting on the past and imagining yourself in the future, pick one word that will be your guide and inspiration to becoming that version of yourself. Sometimes the word is obvious, sometimes it’s subtle. If you’re feeling brave talk to your partner, children, family or friends about word suggestions. If you need word ideas try this random word generator: Word of the Year.
4. Take Ownership of Your One Word.
Once you’ve chose your nudge word you need to own it, proclaim it and show it to the world. Display the word so that you will see it regularly during your day to day life.
- Frame your word and display it in your home.
- Display your word on your computer screen or cell phone screen.
- Take out some books and resource relating to your one word.
My Nudge Word for 2024 is…
Since 2010, I have chosen one word to guide me through the coming year. Words like connection (2020), focus (2018) and cherish (2010) have helped me become the person I want to be. I had a strong streak going but it gave way in 2023 with the early arrival of my fifth baby and some mental health struggles that needed time to heal. Despite not having a word for 2023, it was a year of great leaning and one that has prepared me to get out of my comfort zone is serious ways. Knowing that 2024 will be filled with challenges, one word stood up and face me: DARE.
My one word to guide me into 2024 is DARE. Dare is defined as “ to be sufficiently courageous to” or “to have sufficient courage” by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It makes me think of my childhood and being “double-dared” or ‘double-doggy dared” by my friends to do something particularly challenging (ride my bike without hands), to do something risky (climb a tall tree) or to do something naughty (knock on a neighbors door and run away). While I have no plans to prank my neighbors in 2024, embracing challenging and taking risks are exactly what I plan to do. In 2024, I double-doggy dare myself to do difficult and challenging things. I dare myself to change my mindset. I dare myself to be rejected. I dare myself to say no. I dare myself to go against the status quo.
Will you choose a word to nudge you in 2024? I would love to hear what word you’ve chosen.