Choose Your Guiding Word for 2024!!

The letters "WORD" on an old fashioned black and white typewriter

It has become increasingly popular for folks to abandon New Year resolutions and substitute a focus word instead. If you have been following me for some time, you know that I have been using this strategy for quite a few years and it has been tremendously impactful on my brain. Here is how it works.

According to the authors of the book Words Can Change Your Brain, focusing on positive words can change the way your brain interprets reality and influence how you manage stress. Having a focus word for the year allows the brain to increase attention allocation and harnesses the powerful non-conscious mind to work towards goal fulfillment. The opposite is also true: giving the brain too much to focus on will exhaust your cognitive circuits and make you more likely to give up and make bad decisions.

Now, let’s talk about this one-word- annual-theme-thing. You would pick one or two words that will be your guiding light throughout the year. Research in neuroscience has shown that the human brain thrives on simplicity and clarity. When we choose a specific word as our focus, we provide our brain with a clear and concise target. This focus activates the brain’s reticular activating system (RAS), which filters information and prioritizes what’s important to us.

By selecting a word like “Gratitude” or “Presence,” we’re giving our brain a North Star to follow. The RAS then begins to filter and highlight experiences and opportunities related to that word, making us more attuned to them. It’s like giving your brain a powerful GPS for personal growth. Last year, my word was “focus” given the robust activity and opportunities that were flowing to my business.

Moreover, the act of choosing a word and consciously working towards it triggers the release of dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, in our brains. This not only boosts our motivation but also enhances our overall well-being. Research indicates that people who set clear, one-word intentions are more likely to stay committed to their goals throughout the year.

To make a word of the year more personal and meaningful, consider the following tips:

  1. Daily Visibility: Ensure that you see your word every day. This can be achieved by writing it down and placing it where you will see it regularly, such as on a sticky note, as your phone’s wallpaper, or on a piece of jewelry.

  2. Embrace the Word: Once you have chosen your word of the year, embrace it and keep it at the forefront of your mind. This will help you integrate the word into your daily life and decision-making.

  3. Reflect and Choose Intuitively: Reflect on your goals, values, and areas of your life you want to improve or emphasize. Choose a word that truly motivates and excites you, and don’t overthink it. Trust your intuition to select a word that feels right for you.

By following these tips, you can personalize and infuse more meaning into your word of the year, making it a powerful and guiding theme for the year ahead. So, my friends, let’s embrace the wisdom and the insights from neuroscience research. Choose your word for the year wisely and with the enthusiasm of a kid in a candy store. Watch as your brain gets all jazzed up and guides you through a journey of self-improvement.

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