There’s been a big buzz the last few years about choosing your “word” for the year. Your word is what you anchor your intentions and goals around from January to December.
I don’t know about you, but January me is usually in a completely different place than October me. That’s why in 2018 I adopted a new practice—choosing a word for each quarter. This keeps my goals in life and business aligned with my mission and vision and helps me lean into the natural flow between seasons.
Quarterly goals = better alignment
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by misalignment.
*Raises both hands*
Misalignment with our business goals or priorities is something we run into ALL. THE. TIME. as entrepreneurs. That’s because we’re working at the speed of light compared to the rest of the world. We are constantly reading books, listening to podcasts, taking courses, and networking to better ourselves and our businesses.
And with that comes a metric ton of alignment work. We are especially susceptible to shiny object syndrome, and unless we’re vigilant, it can be downright hard to remain aligned with our goals and priorities, and even harder to re-align when things go off the rails.
Choosing a word for the quarter makes it so much easier to combat shiny object syndrome, and therefore remain aligned with your goals. This is because we only need to focus on one area at a time, three months at a time. And that eliminates the pressure to be working hard on your January priorities come Q3.
Quick Action Tip: Choose your word for Q1. Grab my free quarterly word planner here and write down projects you have coming up, clients you’re working with, products or programs you are launching, people you want to connect with, life stuff you have going on, and how you want to feel at the end of the quarter.
Give your list a once-over to see what themes start to emerge. Maybe you’re focused on growth, or maybe you’re coming off of a busy holiday season and want to slow down a bit. Whatever it is, just know that you’ll have a fresh start again in April for Q2.
Go with the flow
Just like the actual seasons, we flow through seasons as entrepreneurs.
In the winter, I am usually plotting, planning, and strategizing. By spring, I am ready to be seen through networking and launching something new. In the summer, I am hustling hard and getting things done. And in the fall, I’m ready to slow down, savor the season, and reflect.
Choosing a word for each quarter gives you permission to lean into the natural ebb and flow of your life and business. If you’re a wedding professional, you’re busy AF during wedding season, but your off season probably looks a lot different. On the other hand, makers and product-based owners have huge pushes around the holidays and might have their ‘slow’ season during the spring. And service-based entrepreneurs might have their own rhythm that’s entirely different.
The point is that your seasonal shifts might look different depending on your industry, so take some time and choose your word based on the natural flow of your business.
Quick Action Tip: Add your quarterly planning and goal-setting sessions to your planner right now so you don’t have to remember them later in the year. Make a special note to choose your quarterly word, too.
Why this year will be different
There are two types of people I’ve seen when it comes to yearly-word choosers.
- You set your word for the year and never think about it again.
- You don’t set your word at all because you can’t possibly narrow it down to just one word for the entire year.
If you’re in camp one, you are so not alone. There’s always buzz around choosing your word for the year in January and then nothing about it again until this time the next year. Which means that even though you have really great intentions, it’s just hard to remember to keep your word top of mind as you make strategic decisions throughout the year.
If you’re in camp two, you are also in good company! You might have beaten yourself up a bit for not being focused or strategic enough, but it makes total sense that January you has different priorities than June you. I get it! But when you choose a word every quarter, it gives you permission to start fresh every three months, which means you have four different things you can focus your energy on (and that’s the sound of creatives everywhere breathing a sigh of relief!).
Quick Action Tip: Check in with your word weekly! Make a date to remind yourself what your word for the quarter is, and ask yourself how you’re living that out. It’s a great way to keep your word top of mind as you make decisions in your life and business.