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Do you set a word of the year?

When I first heard of choosing a word of the year, I thought it was a little hokey. However, I’ve been setting New Year’s resolutions (and goals for the New Year) for years, and after choosing a word of the year last year, I realized just how much a word of the year can help you stick to your goals.

If you’ve been struggling to set goals that you can actually achieve (or even stick to a week after you set them), these steps for setting goals and choosing a word of the year will help you finally reach your goals.

Here’s how to finally choose a word of the year that helps you keep your resolutions and reach your goals.

Divide your life into sections

Do you set goals for different areas of your life?

When setting goals, think about the main areas of your life:

  • Health
  • Family
  • Home
  • Work

Before you even begin to set goals, spend some time reflecting on the different areas of your life. What went well last year in those areas? Is there anything you want to improve this year? What changes do you need to plan for?

Set goals for the year

Think about the things that you’d like to achieve in the next year. Are there any big goals? As you’re setting goals, decide what you’d like to accomplish in each of the four main areas of your life.

Then, think about what it will take to reach those goals and quantify them.

Every time I had an issue, one of my former bosses would say “quantify it” before I could even finish my sentence. While that was super annoying, it really helped me problem solve!

As you’re setting goals, make sure you’re setting things that you can control.

For example, instead of saying “lose 30 pounds” (which is technically a number that you can quantify), think about how you can lose weight. Choose goals like “eat a salad for lunch every day” or “exercise for 30 minutes five days a week.”

Anticipate challenges

As you’re thinking about your goals, think about any possible challenges that may arise. Is there anything that could get in your way?

For example, my daughter will start kindergarten in September. While that will open up time for me to spend on my business, I also want to make sure I’m spending as much time with her as I can before she starts school. What do I need to do this year to prepare her for kindergarten (and have fun in the few months we have left)?

Avoid overwhelm

If you set too many goals or goals that are too broad, you may get burnt out.

Avoid goal overwhelm by focusing your goals. While it’s normal to want balance in your life, it’s more realistic to be “well-lopsided.”

In Pick Three: You Can Have it All (Just Not Every Day), Randi Zuckerberg shares the concept of being “well-lopsided” by choosing the areas that you want to focus on. To have a successful day (and life), you need to focus on the areas that are most imporant to you.

According to Randi, every day, you can only choose three things to focus on between work, sleep, fitness, family, and friends. The great thing is that you can always choose a different three the next day, so that over the course of a week, month, or year, you’ve created a well-lopsided life.

As you’re setting your goals, choose a focus and make sure that you’re not overwhelming yourself by trying to do too many things at once.

Tie your goals together

Make your word of the year fit your life with this free printable worksheet. Break your goals into sections and track them so you stay inspired throughout the year.

The beauty of choosing a word of the year is that it helps to give your goals a theme. Think about how a word of the year could fit your goals for your health, family, home, and work.

For example, my main goals for this year are losing 30 pounds to get to a healthier weight, spending more time with my kids before my daughter starts kindergarten, building a new house (and decluttering my current home to get it ready to sell and move), and growing my virtual assistant business.

To quantify those goals, I thought about what actions I needed to take to reach those goals.

I wrote down those goals and decided on the word “transform,” which would tie them all together. During the year, as I think of new goals (or distractions), I can refer back to my word and main goals. If the new tasks don’t fit, I can save them for later.

Sign up to get a copy of my word of the year worksheet here:

If you’re struggling to find a word that fits your goals, I used this list for inspiration. This word of the year generator is also a fun tool!

As you’re setting goals for the year, make sure you’re setting goals that you actually want to achieve, are realistic, and won’t burn you out. Also, avoid distractions by choosing a theme and tying your goals together.

Happy goal setting!

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