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Word of the Year: Listen

Has the shine of the new year worn off? Did you have resolutions? If so, how are they coming along?

I don't make resolutions. They're kind of notorious for being hard to keep. For four years now, I've followed Christine Kane's practice of choosing a word for the year. With this method I choose a single word to reflect on throughout the year. It sets an intention. What do I want to invite more of into my life?

In 2012, my word was Clarity. And yes, I gained some. I became more clear about what I want to do with my life and what directions I want to explore with my writing.

At the beginning of 2010 I was very pregnant awaiting The Little One's arrival. I couldn't begin to imagine what my life would look like that year, so I simply chose Joy. Then I tried to find ways to bring more joy into otherwise difficult new mom moments.

This year I considered the word Wonderstruck (appropriate, right?) but when I thought about how I wanted to grow, a different word kept returning to me: Listen.

The things I want to focus on this year are:

  • paying better attention to my family, individually and as a group

  • getting serious about my writing

  • being present in the moment

  • a healthy body (eating better and moving more)

So, how does the word Listen figure into all this?

  • Family: I want to truly listen to my family- share their joys, help with their needs.

  • Writing: I need to listen to my muse- spend time with a pen and a notebook or my computer and let words transpire.

  • Being present: I want to listen to the sounds around me to help connect with any given moment.

  • Health: I want to listen to what my body needs- when is it hungry; what is it hungry for? What hurts? What needs to be moved or stretched?

Previous experience tells me this word will probably teach me in ways I haven't even thought of yet. In fact, this weekend I learned that true listening isn't just about the ears; it's about the eyes, too. Observing facial features, body language, settings, and situations contributes to understanding what's really going on or being said.

The word of the year teaches in unexpected ways. That's how these things tend to go. I wonder how Listen will continue to unfold for me the longer I reflect on it.

Do you have a word of the year? Resolutions? What have they taught you about yourself?


  1. I've always thought having a word for the year is a lovely idea, but I've never been able to stick to it. My first attempt was with joy, something I really struggle with. If I had to pick a word for this year, it would be along the lines of discovery or exploration.

  2. Lovely idea -- I think "listen" is a great word, and I like how you're applying it.

    As for me... there are so many that I need to heed: believe, joy, persevere... and that's just for starters.

  3. Oooh... discovery and exploration are great words. Maybe if keeping them for a year doesn't work, try just a month. Or even one day at a time.

  4. Thanks, Ellen. There are a lot of great words. I usually start thinking of my word around Thanksgiving and keep refining through December. Usually I'm ready to go by Christmas.

  5. […] listen. “Listen” is my word of the year. It seems like it should be easy, but it’s surprisingly tricky to truly listen- without […]


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