How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year

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As this year winds down, I’m already in planning mode for the new one. I consider this month an overlap time. It’s an excellent season for reviewing all that I’ve accomplished this past year…and a time for gearing up for an exciting fresh start in January.

Two of the creative tools that I use as I enter a new year are choosing a word and a symbol. The word becomes my theme for the year while the symbol is a visual reminder of that theme. Truthfully, these practices are so much more than tools. Together the word and symbol guide me through the year, inspire me, encourage me and remind me of my purpose in life.

Interested in learning how to choose a word and symbol for the year? Read on!

How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year title meme

Why Choose a Word and Symbol

I began the practice of choosing a word fifteen years ago when I became a realtor. Choosing a word and a symbol was more about building a business initially. Those words, such as Reach, inspired me to expand my thinking and my business. Being a visual person, adding a symbol for the year came naturally, as did creating a yearly vision board.

Within a couple of years, I realized that the words carried greater significance. The words inspired my LIFE, not just my work. I learned an important lesson. My work flows from my life, or ideally it should. The process of choosing a word shifted as my awareness increased. Words such as Change showed up.

I know now that choosing a word and a symbol for the year creates a guidance system for life and for business. The word is a “heads up” about the growth that is occurring as I journey. And both tools serve as markers along the way, keeping me moving in the right direction.

How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year
2019 Vision Board with my word Enchantment and the word Queen, representing my symbol.

How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year

There are several ways to find your word and symbol for the year. See which of these works best for you.

Choose a Word and Symbol that Carries Significance

Is there a word and symbol that already have deep meaning for you? Use those. Perhaps you are currently experiencing great joy after a season of trials. Joy may be the word to guide you through the next year. Or perhaps the Butterfly symbol draws you. Transformation might be the word to accompany that visual.

Make a list of words that resonate

Another idea is to make a list of words that resonate. What words draw you or inspire you? Write them down. I’d suggest writing quickly and allowing the words to pop up as you write. Don’t overthink.

Look over your words and circle the ones that most intrigue or interest you. Select one of these words as your theme for the new year. If all the words on your list appeal to you, write them on slips of paper, drop them into a jar and draw one out randomly. You know how much I appreciate randomness!

Now think of symbol that represents that word or is a companion to the word. Sometimes the connection between the word and symbol is a very personal one that only has meaning for you.

Allow the Word and Symbol to Choose You

This is my favorite way of acquiring a new word and symbol. The year that Believe was my word and the dragonfly my symbol, I realized I was not the one doing the choosing. I accept the gifts of a word and symbol, rather than choose.

Here is how it works for me.

The word shows up first, mid year to early fall, through synchronicities and repetition. I see and hear and read the word everywhere. In a conversation with a stranger, the word pops up. I hear it in a commercial. I read it on a license plate. The repetition is my signal to pay attention. Once I acknowledge the word, the symbol begins to show up in the same way…synchronicity and repetition.

This year Enchantment is my word. It began showing up last summer, in print form, conversations and by just popping into my head. Then the queen chess piece appeared, sometimes as often as five or six times a day, until I acknowledged that she was my symbol. Read the significance of that word and symbol in this post, Queen of Enchantment.

I know that enchantment and the queen chess piece appeared in connection with a question I woke up with one morning:

Do you want to be the queen of your own kingdom, or a pawn in someone else’s?

My word and my symbol guided me through a year of changes that beget the creation of my own tiny…and now expanding…kingdom.

How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year Enchantment
Art I created using my symbol and a variant of my word.

Guidance from the Word and Symbol for the Year

Once your word and symbol for the year are in place, watch for the magic to happen! The word and symbol will pop up in a variety of ways, to remind you of the journey you are on and your purpose in life. They are like a private joke between you and the Divine, when they show up.

I call forth the power of my word, when I need it.

In a challenging real estate situation this year, I reminded myself that I am a the Queen of Enchantment, building my kingdom. My words carry weight and meaning and through speaking aloud…enchantment…I am creating my reality. How would a queen handle the situation? What would she say? It helped!

As bonuses, create a vision board to hang in your office or bedroom that incorporates your word and symbol. And, for fun, find a song for the year too. The song is usually the last component to arrive for me. I add it to a playlist on my phone so that I can listen to it often.

Song for 2019
Song for 2019, Ever Ever After, from Enchanted Soundtrack.

A Podcast to Listen to or Watch

Have fun choosing a word and symbol for the year. Know that both will accompany you throughout the next 12 months, offering guidance and presenting reminders about who you are.

I’d love to know what word and symbol you end up with!

For more info about the process of creating a powerful start to the new year, have a listen to this podcast, or watch it below on YouTube. I appreciate Dan with Impact Training & Development for having me as a guest!


Create Your Own Vision Board

And be sure to include your word and symbol for the year!




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4 Replies to “How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year”

  1. I enjoyed this Cindy as I have just started thinking about my word for 2020. A photo of myself jumping in puddles, instead of walking around them, (taken by my husband from behind), resonated with me and I’m seriously thinking of ‘jump’ as my word for 2020. It will be my last year in my 50s so if I take the leap and jump at every opportunity then it will be a good year is my thinking! This year my word of the year was Time and it has worked well. I’m not sure about a symbol as that’s a new one for me. Thanks for the ideas and significance of how you’ve chosen your word of the year and what a great word it is too! #senisal

    1. I saw your jump photo and love it! I think jump is the perfect word for you. May you jump into 2020 ready for adventures and opportunities! The right symbol will come to you too, if you desire to have one.

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