Ep. 137: Review Reflect and Align – Word of the Year

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We’ve arrived at the final few days of the year, and how we participate in this transition will set the tone for the next one to come. If we want to be active creators of our own life instead of passive observers of our life (letting things happen TO us), it’s important to get clear and move, think, and feel with intention.

One of the best ways we can do this is by trying to think of a phrase or word that encapsulates our intention. It may sound cliche or too woo-woo to pick a “word of the year,” but I’m telling you – it works!

I use my word of the year to guide decisions, make plans, and to set goals. Most importantly, it also guides me in how I achieve those goals, ensuing I move forward with integrity and in alignment.

A lot of people go straight into what they want to create or what they want to do differently, but before deciding what we want to choose for our word of the year, it’s essential to reflect upon and learn about ourselves and our patterns so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes and find ourelves in the same old patterns – again.


Today I’m going to combine content from a couple of related episodes into this nice package for you so you have a simple process for going into 2023 with clarity and intention.


We benefit from reflecting on what journeys we’ve been through, what’s happened within us in the past year, and how we showed up so we can approach the next year more skillfully and with deeper wisdom.


Not doing this is why many intentions – aka “resolutions” – fail. I believe this is why “resolutions” are now often seen as clichéd and de-valued.


People usually enter into intentions without a deeper mindfulness, true emotional investment, or reflection on what would really make a difference, and a solid plan…so it makes sense things don’t change much.


It’s only in knowing what we do right now – our default mode, our habitual patterns – that we can choose how to do things differently in the future, or choose what patterns to keep and which to let go of.

The word of the year focuses more on intention than a goal. A goal focuses on the future, on external accomplishments. They have a specific outcome, describe what you want to do, and are future-focused, like to run a marathon. Go surfing in Hawai’i. Create better sleeping habits.

An INTENTION focuses on a present, internal state of being that you want to cultivate. Intentions describe how you want to be or feel in the moment, how you want to move through life, and how you want to show up. Some of my clients have had the intention to live with more confidence, compassion, mindfulness, inspiration, joy, generosity.

Intention helps guide how you get to the goal, how you align your life with your values, and how you create the life you are meant to live.

Some people think they should choose a goal and set intentions to support that, but aligning with our intentions first will keep us from wasting time, money, and energy on goals that won’t fulfill us.

To set an intention, think about how you want to show up in the next year. Who do you want to be at the root of all your actions for the next 12 months? (Be sure to not stress on creating the perfect one because you aren’t sure what the next year will bring. It may change as you learn and grow and that’s totally okay!).

Another way to think of this is to ask, “What would help me live more authentically in the next year?” Or, “What quality would help me show up the way I want to in the world?”

Sure, joy, confidence, love…those sound great, right? But sometimes what we need isn’t so comfy. Surrender. Forgiveness. Vulnerability (that’s what mine was last year)…can make us want to squirm a bit.

When we head into that territory, it’s more like we’re asking for something like a bitter medicine that heals. So sometimes, to find our word of the year, we can ask, “What medicine do I need for the next year?” or even, “What would crack me open and reveal my authentic nature?”

As for goals, they’re the action part of your intention. They’re the things you will do so your vision becomes more tangible. Once you’ve set your intention, you can set your goals. Look at how each goal aligns with your intentions (and other goals) and ask yourself – do they support each other, or conflict?

The trick can be in staying connected to your intention as the days go by – with all the distractions like emails, to-do lists, work obligations, daily chores and tasks and all the other crazy shizzle life throws our way. One thing I’ve found really helpful is to find a talisman for your word of the year. It can be as simple as a piece of jewelry, a special article of clothing, a rock or a shell, an epic song or playlist, or a picture. Some people even get tattoos (but don’t blame me for that idea later). Either way, having a physical reminder can help you stay connected to your word.

I’m on mission to be cracked open in 2023. What about you? What will help you live your most authentic life? May it be just the medicine you need.

In this Episode you will learn:

// The difference between goals and intentions – and why it matters

// When an intention becomes medicine

// How to pick your Word of the Year – and have it actually mean something

// Strategies for saying connected to your intention when life gets in the way


// Check out Episode 32 – How to Review Your Year

// Check out Episode 33 – Living in Alignment

// Download the A Year in Review worksheet here

// If you want to deeply dive into this work immersed in nature on retreats and with a small group of like-minded seekers connecting regularly throughout your journey, apply for the next cohort of the Adventure Mastermind at AdventureMastermind.com It’s unlike any program you will ever do in your life. Ever.

// Want something more self-paced with access to weekly group support? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out.

It’s where you can get individual help applying the concepts to your own life, and where you can learn new coaching tools not shared on the podcast that will blow your mind even more. It’s also where you can connect over all things freedom with other wanderers, just like you and me. It’s my favorite place to hang on the interweb, and it will change your life, I guarantee it. Come join us at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there.

// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist private group, and tune in every Wednesday as I go live with new inspiration and topics.