Guest Blogger: Emma Tempest – The Play Coach

Emma is an early childhood education consultant, speaker and teacher coach specializing in the power of play and managing your teacher stressed mind.

You can find out more about her on her website Yes to Play.

You may have come across people sharing what their ‘word of the year’ is. This is a really powerful exercise you can do to totally change the outlook on the next 12 months ahead. I have had a word of the year for the past three years and it really does help to have that reminder to keep going and to see the highlights and difficulties of life in a new light.

For 2019, my word was ‘smile’ 🙂 It got me through some tough times, reminded me to always look for something to smile about and was used a LOT in the times of pure joy and uncontrollable laughter (I am so glad I have all my years of teacher training of holding my bladder because I do wonder if I am going to make it sometimes, ha!)

This year, my word is ‘shine’. For me, to shine can mean to glow and show your best self to others, but it also means to shine like when light hits a mirror – reflect on what you are thinking, feeling and doing, both in your personal and professional life.

How to pick your word

So, how do you actually start if you want to choose a word for the year? It’s important to take the time to find a word that FEELS good in your body. Here are some tips to help you work out what your word could be this year.

Think about who you really are or want to be as a person. What words come up for you? When you think about who you don’t want to be, what thoughts and feelings do you have then? Take some time to think into the future – what do you want to feel like at the end of this year? Think back to December of 2019, did you feel the way you intended back in January 2019?

When you have thought about who you want to be, what parts of you that you would like to keep or perhaps even change, what characteristics come up for you? Can you imagine what a person with those characteristics would look like? How would they behave? What qualities do they have and how do they show these to others? How do they show up in their own life and what impact do they have on other people? Think about the impact you want to have on others, but remember to focus on the impact you want to have on yourself.

Show up for yourself. Put yourself first. When you spend the time honouring who you are, where you have been and where you are going you are able to say “I love myself for who I am.” Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a good friend. Choose the thoughts you have about yourself in order to create your feelings. If you want to look at 2020 with a certain lens, work backwards and think about how you want to feel then ask yourself, “What thoughts do I need to think in order to feel that way?” When you are clear with what you want, the steps to get there become easier to navigate as you begin to make choices that will lead you to where you want to go.

You might end up with a list of multiple words once you go through this exercise. That’s ok. These words will give you the insight into what changes you are wanting to make in your life as well as allowing you to see which path you are already wanting to travel on. The next step is hard: just choose one word. You can do it! You got this! This can be really tricky, but narrowing down your focus to just one word will help you in times of trouble. It always helps to remember that sometimes the word can feel a little uncomfortable, even if the overwhelming feeling is a good one. That is because you are choosing to look at your life in a different way to the present. Just like with any new goal or challenge you undertake, your body and brain will initially show resistance to this strange, new feeling. Stick with it and I promise it will get easier the more you sit with it.

Share your word

Finally, make your word public. Don’t keep it to yourself. Send it out there to the universe! Make it real by sharing it with a family member, a friend or even displaying it somewhere. I have a post it note in my journal, an image I created for my desktop wallpaper and I have shared it here with you! There are many other ways to display your word – printing it out and framing it, purchasing or making a piece of jewelry or a keyring perhaps. However you choose to share it, make sure you have it somewhere to-hand so it’s always there to remind you.

I hope that my word, ‘shine’, gives you some inspiration for 2020. Have you chosen a word yet? If you have, let me know in the comments. If not, spend some time thinking about how you might want to look at 2020 – what lens do you want to shift your perspective to? What will help you when times are tough and what will help you savour the amazing times? Let’s make 2020 an amazing start to this decade!

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