My 2023 Guiding Word

About this Post: For the past several years, I’ve chosen a Word of the Year, a Guiding Word, to help set my goals and intentions for the New Year. Here is my Guiding Word for 2023.

In 2017 I choose the guiding word, Courage. It was the beginning of me ditching resolutions, looking back on the previous year to see what worked and what didn’t, brainstorming my goals for the coming year, and choosing a theme – a single word – that would help guide me through the next 12 months.

Since that first year, I’ve greatly enjoyed the process of choosing a word and it’s often the very first thing on my “New Year To Do List” right after “Buy New Planner.”

But this time it’s been different.

While choosing a “Word of the Year” is typically a process I enjoy, I’ve been completely overwhelmed with needing to pick the “right” word, pounding out exactly what it means, finding the right images for a blog post, and releasing it into the wild! (Note… you’re the wild).

By the time you’re reading this blog post, I’ve written and re-written the hell out of it to the point that I’m not even sure it makes sense any more! I’ve played with dozens of words and read countless posts to see what everyone else was doing…but while I read and wrote and re-read and re-wrote…none of the words I tested seemed to work for me.

And then it hit me…

You see, 2022 broke me. Literally had me on my knees. Mid-year, I was diagnosed with depression (I’ve always dealt with anxiety but depression was a new one for me) and since then, I’ve been doing the work to un-funk my brain. It’s been incredibly difficult and while I don’t in any way want a repeat of this past year (or the few that preceded it), every guiding word I brainstorm to help me move forward seems too BIG. I want to choose words like BRAVE, ADVENTURE, ENERGIZE, ABUNDANCE or BALANCE but I feel like it’s a bit too early to set any of those intentions. When I ask myself the tough questions…the “why’s”…it turns out that I’m afraid I’ll fail.

I’ve come a long way, but I’m still in the baby steps of my healing.

So…after much reflection and getting super honest with myself (and now you)…I’ve come to the realization that I’m not quite done with 2022 and with that in mind, and all of the hope I have for the year ahead, my word for 2023 is RECOVER.

In the months ahead, I will continue the work I started through therapy to help me recover from a broken heart and a screwed up brain. As I continue to move forward, I’m focused on recovering. Recovering personally, and also recovering financially as my business took a sidestep while my brain decided to go on vacation!

How will RECOVER look for me this year?

  • I’m going to practice more self-love
  • I’m going to spend more time with people who fill my soul
  • I’m going to celebrate my successes
  • I’m going to make my health a priority
  • I’m going to stop comparing myself to others
  • I’m going to rest without guilt when I feel overwhelmed
  • I’m going to be kind to myself
  • I’m going to do the things that make me happy
  • I’m going to let go of the things that pull me down
  • and so much more…

As I work through recovery in 2023, it’s my hope that the rest of the words I’ve been brainstorming will naturally fall into place. Where I’ll feel braver, more adventurous, more energized, more abundance, and much better balanced.

But first, I’ll work on RECOVER.

If you’ve chosen a guiding word for 2023 I’d love to hear about it.  Drop me a comment on the blog and if you’re wondering about past words I’ve chosen, here are the links:

2022 – Forward
2020 – Daring
2019 – Embrace
2018 – Nurture
2017 – Courage

4 Replies to “My 2023 Guiding Word”

  1. Hi Colleen: Recover is a great word and probably a lot of people could use that word after the last 3 years. Recover holds a lot of meaning emotionally, physically, and even spiritually.

    I have never chosen a word for the year until this year. My word is “perseverance”. I felt this was a good word for me because I am persevering with my Etsy store to make it as good and profitable as I possibly can. I also started a course in proofreading in July of 2022 and was hoping to be done by the end of the year. With everything that goes on with family and a household, I’m almost at the end but probably won’t be writing my exam until the end of February. But I will “persevere”! It is also a word that fits because family doesn’t always encourage what I am doing. I’m sure many people deal with that when trying to start their own business. My husband and kids are great with encouraging me, but it is extended family that just don’t get what I am trying to do. I’ve also learned in the last year not to care what other family members think and persevere, but it has taken me until my late fifties to figure that out.

    Anyway, best of luck with your recovery. I wish you all the best for 2023 and hope that you find all that you are looking for.

    • I agree Anne…after this pandemic, many people could use the time to recover. I wish you best in your Etsy shop…I have one as well and work at it full time. Your family will jump on board once they see you shine!

  2. Hi Colleen
    RECOVER will also be my word of the year. After losing my dear sweet Steve 10 days ago my heart hurts with the overwhelming loss of my best friend. I can barely put one foot in front of the other but the word RECOVER will be etched in the back of my mind encouraging me to keep trudging along. Thank you.

    • You and the girls have been in my thoughts and prayers Ann. Steve was a wonderful man. I will think of you as you begin to heal through this grief. xo