A Word for 2014 and a Giveaway

defaultNever a friend of New Year’s resolutions, I recommend another ritual that’s more powerful and has more potential than New Year’s resolutions: Choosing a word for 2014.  You choose a word that will symbolize the year for you–set the intention or create a verbal amulet.

The word should be limber and supple, without any stiffness of punishment, or benchmarks to measure yourself with and find yourself coming up short.

Choose a word that has possibility for you–a word that will inspire you or keep you at peace, a word that makes you reach in anticipation or offers a rich depth of exploration.

Verbs are good, because they are action words. And taking action is a favorite step of mine to get unstuck or move ahead.  Of course, there are also the state of being verbs: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been. Small verbs, but powerful.

Other people prefer nouns–things or ideas: creativity, intuition, freedom. Nouns can be things you hold in your hands–paper, pen, seeds, feathers. Or they can be things you hold in your heart: wishes, wisdom, peace.

Now is a good time, at the end of the year, to think of a word you can hold and use for all of 2014. Choose a word that will last, that will build you up and support you. You can choose a word that is both a verb and a noun.

You can, of course, choose a description of your first inner hero to honor in 2014. Something like Stubborn Kindness (which has a long history in my family), or Explorer, or Spark-Striker.

Your word can be any part of speech, and you can use it in as many ways as you תרגוםwant–present tense, active voice, transitive with an object or not. Use it as many ways as you can and see how you change it and how it changes you.

If you keep a journal, you can write it down and visit it every week or month and see how that word has shown up in your life at the end of every week and how you would like it to show up the next week. You can write it on a piece of paper and put it in your pocket and rediscover it every day. Write it on a key you use every day and remember it when you unlock the door.

What is the word you want to invite into your life for the year? Leave it in the comments, and tell us why. I’ll pick two winners on Friday and will send a copy of my new book Inner Hero Art Journal to the winners–as soon as I get my copies!

Update:  Pia from ColourCottage won one of the new Inner Hero books! The other winner was Suzanne Ourths–congratulations to both winners! As soon as my shipment arrives, two books will be on the way to new owners!

—Quinn McDonald is choosing a word for 2014. Right now, she is inclined to choose an inner hero and re-visit it once a month.

94 thoughts on “A Word for 2014 and a Giveaway

  1. Pingback: Year of the Horse 2014 | Colour Cottage

  2. Very late in adding my thoughts, but better late than never! My word for 2013 was “prepare”, because I had monumental changes in my life. As I just returned from a breast biopsy a couple of hours ago, I am seriously contemplating what the results could mean for this year. I am toying with the words “faith” and “believe”. I’m leaning toward “faith” because it is more specific to me than “believe”. Faith to trust that all will be well and all is for a purpose designed by God. I also have been watching a lot of Dr. Who lately, and I just love his attitude about confronting the unknown with the word “Geronimo!” So that may figure in the equation somewhere as well!

  3. I never had a word for 2013. But when I look back to my artwork, it must have been balance. It came back many times on my art journal pages. For 2014 I think it might be DARE. I want to dare to do more stuff on my pages and multilayer.

  4. My word is Listen. I’ve had a few other ideas but this one would not go away. I like the idea of listening:

    Listen to my: body soul heart brain and gut
    Listen to others: be open, stop and hear as opposed to preparing a reply and choosing receive
    Listen to the universe: pay attention and see the signs, listen to messages

    I think I could do a lot more listening and if I can manage it, I think it will change my year (and life) profoundly.

  5. For the third year in a row, I feel compelled to carry “Salt & Light”… and I will…BUT already, bad and sad things are happening and ushering in major life changes that I do not want!!! And so I feel like I will need to pick a personal word to get me through. Is there a word strong enough? Sigh. I don’t know…maybe that word will be ONE; as in one day at a time…one thing at a time…just stay in the moment and keep my focus without looking at the big picture…

  6. I have been doing this the past few years and find it very powerful and quite interesting. I am working on my blog post about my word of the year.. I have a list of words that I am contemplating. I am learning towards ‘believe’ or ‘joy’, however I really haven’t locked onto my word yet.

  7. I know I’m coming late to the party; I have to think about things for a few days before I get to something concrete! 🙂 My word for the year is going to be FLOW….flowing with the river, not rowing against it…stopping and starting things with ease, only going as fast as the slowest part of me feels safe to go… -Julie

  8. The word that came to me is NOW. It has several meanings in my life at this time. Now=living in the present, not focusing on the past or the future. Now is the time to start living my life and pursuing my dreams, not those of others. Do it now, stop procrastinating. We all have a certain amount of time and don’t get a do-over.

  9. As per your suggestion, last year I picked my first resolution word…accept. It is supple, has many definitions and involves no punishment. And I did it! This year my word is “do”. I’ve accepted, now I need to do. Still no pressure and the meaning, for me, is complex. Thanks!

  10. My word for next year is “Change”. I remember when a friend of mine picked that word, back in 2010, and I was horrified by it. Why would anyone invite change into their life? And then, life happened, change happened, whether I was comfortable with it or not. So, I’m hoping that by focusing on change, for a year, that I, too, will become more comfortable with it.

  11. Last year’s word was “Fly” and it was supported by “Positive”. It was a challenging year for me in many ways, but I am on course to complete 12 stories in 12 months for an anthology of my own work. I may not have flown in 2013, but I have certainly chugged along. Perhaps my word should have been Steam-engine.

    This year’s word is FOCUS and my support word is “Persevere”. I need to have my creativity be my distraction and I need to keep on resisting Resistance and press on through the disturbed weather of my soul. “Healing” is in there someplace too, but I think it will come as a welcome side effect to completion of my projects. So many good words.

    Thank-you should be one word, like the French, “Merci”, which I say to you Quinn, and to your faithful followers who have shared so much wisdom this past year. Merci beaucoup.

  12. I would like to make “little by little” my “word” of the year. I feel frequently overwhelmed by things to do (cooking a Christmas dinner for 14 persons, working through a book/project to get better at drawing, painting…… As soon as I break up the work in little tasks, possibly distributed over the day, I find that I can accomplish something; but I tend to forget!
    P.S.: Do you know a verb more suitable?

  13. I pray for one thing everyday and it is something that I always need. STRENGTH – I need strength. There is a song from a wonderful movie (Grace of My Heart) loosely based on female songwriters of the 1950’s – 60’s. After a bad break-up the lead character sings “God Give Me Strength” (written by Burt Bacharach) pleading to move on. I need Strength to pick up and move on with some things in my life. I need strength to overcome some things in my life. So that is my word for 2014. Thanks.

  14. I pray for one thing everyday and it is something that I always need. STRENGTH – I need strength. There is a song from a wonderful movie (Grace of My Heart) loosely based on female songwriters of the 1950’s – 60’s. After a bad break-up the lead character sings “God Give Me Strength” (written by Burt Bacharach) pleading to move on. I need Strength to pick up and move on with some things in my life. I need strength to overcome some things in my life. So that is my word for 2014. Thanks. reading my diatribe

  15. My word for the new year is “mantra”. Mantra will be my mental shortcut to my personal truth for 2014: “Is what I am doing/thinking/creating in this moment help me achieve my goals to be healthy, wealthy and wise?”.

  16. My intention for 2014 is to find BALANCE. I want to balance my time with self-care (health and fitness) and my artwork and set aside a specified number of hours per day for each. Two goals that I need to find a way to mesh.

  17. I think my word is going to be “Accept” since I’m facing a year of many changes in my life. I need to accept that the changes in my job are inevitable and I need to accept the responsibility for creating a new position for myself. I also want to accept myself as I am and to move forward gracefully with the changes that are occurring to my body as a result of aging. I also want to accept (and believe) that I really am an artist. Thank you for this opportunity to win one of your books.

  18. My word for 2014 is FOCUS. In today’s world everyone and everything is competing for my attention. I need to focus on my painting, creativity and self. Focus also means a point where something converges. Like rays of light. I need to focus/converge my thoughts with my art. Focus on creating what is in my head, heart and spirit.

  19. commit
    last year my word was trust, so much happened , which i wont go into, but i am a shocking procrastinator, and i really want to get my art out there, make big changes for 2014, so i think the word for me is commit & therefore a little friendly reminder with this word , will refresh my memory that yep i am committed to my own life & only me can make it happen..

  20. My word is joy. I did 2 journal pages that resonated with me in 2013. I have tried to incorporate them into my life. They were kindness now and be joyful. I choose JOY because if you lives joyful life you will spread it and how can you help but spread kindness. 2013 seemed to be a very mean year. I want 2014 to be kind and full of joy – in what we do, what we spread, how we feel and how we live. Thank you for getting me to think this through.

  21. My word is Art! Write, sketch, paint — whichever the moment commands. Why art? Because I’ve spent too many years believing that art is worthless because it’s not profitable. Who cares if it doesn’t bring in the cash? Art comes in handy when nothing else will do.

  22. My word is Growth. It came to me last night as I was thinking of this year’s word and how it had entered my life throughout the year. Then suddenly, the word Growth came to my mind for 2014. Somehow it seems fitting that after a year of Possibilities, there would be a year of Growth. Growth in spirit, growth in artistic abilities, growth in kindness, love, hope, growth in self-belief, growth in strength, be it spiritual, mental, physical, or emotional, Growth. That’s my word for 2014. Growth……in me.

  23. Unless something else comes to me in a flash of inspiration, it’s ART. Or really, MORE ART. That’s it… all-encompassing. Make more, add more to all situations, put it everywhere I can.

  24. This year it was content both verb and noun. Yesterday, as I sat suspended under a pohutukawa tree in my garden with a sketchbook and pen, I realised I am very content with all I have and all I am. There was a time when I would not have thought that possible.

    For 2014? I think it will be KISS as in Keep It Simple Sweetheart, my approach to life, my responses to others. There is also the concept of a kiss as a blessing too and a loving kiss is indeed a great blessing . . . I need to give and receive to retain what I have gained this year.

  25. I wanted to choose one word from the Serenity Prayer, but serenity, acceptance, courage and wisdom are all so important for me in 2014 that I will choose as my word(s) the entire Serenity Prayer: “G-d grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”

  26. Sometimes the word picks me as in the case for this year. The word “Depend” keeps coming to me. Being newly married in my second marriage, I’m quickly finding how I have never really had a partner to depend on yet I now have that but it is proving to be challenging because I have to learn new patterns. I no longer am flying solo so I have to learn to let go and know I can depend on him to be in life with me. In the process, I am learning to depend more on God to teach me how to do this. Learning to let go of control in this way is hard! So, for 2014, I will learn to “depend”.

    p.s. In 2010, my words were “cease striving”. I had the words engraved into 2 rings that I wear still, as a reminder.

  27. For several weeks, the thought of picking a word for 2014 has been on my mind. I love this practice, Quinn. I am so thankful that you shared it with your readers. A new favorite tradition. I will be sharing my decision soon.
    Much Aloha to you, always.

  28. Resilience is my word for 2014 because I know there are lots of changes ahead for me. After living in New York City for 40 years which I love, but find it doesn’t work anymore for partner. With limited mobility now due to advancing arthritis we need to move to a warmer climate, likely across the country. Change is difficult. Leaving friends, my professional network, and health support network will be hard. A new place is exciting and scary and challenging. I need to be resilience to find and hold on to the joy and wonderful possibilities offered when starting a new chapter in ones’ life.

    • Marilyn, I admire your courage. If it’s any consolation, or inspiration, my dad moved from the northeast to FL when he was in his late 50’s and started over from scratch. He did well. I wish you well, too.

  29. Shoot … now I need to pick a word, lol. I really want your book!
    My word will be … PRESENT. I will be present in my life. I will accept any presents that come my way and give presents freely.
    (and I hope I get this book as a present, lol!)

  30. Last year I chose ‘shadow’ as in light and dark, cause and effect. Too esoteric. Changed to ‘pragmatic’ as in down to earth, being honest with one’s self. This year it is ‘percentize’, verb form of percent (?). Not thinking in minutes and hours because some tasks take longer on different days. How much of my time is used for socializing, creating art, rectifying a bad hair day. I want to rebalance my 100 %.

  31. Dear Quinn,
    What a fabulous idea! Simple and straight forward! My word for 2014 is going to be “Stretch” (To stretch out of one’s comfort zone). Thank you for a wonderful year of encouragement, humor and the incentive to keep moving forward. Happy New Year!

  32. My word for 2014 is progress, a noun and a verb. 2014 is a transitional year for my family and focusing on progress will get me to where I want to be in 2015. It encompasses everything about my life.

  33. My word is BLOOM. It’s a hopeful word…and it bring positive energy to every day I am a gardener, mother, artist, builder, lover and student of the world …. & for 2014 I see each day as a new bloom! Your new book sounds amazing…mahalo for inspiring me!!

  34. There are two “f” words that I am torn between: forgiveness and flexibility. Forgiveness is so key to moving forward in life and I have had two very hard situations and people to forgive that I keep coming back to, so perhaps I have not forgiven them yet. Flexibility is also something I need to work on, as I can become very rigid in my thinking and this also translates to my body posture, etc. I am doing as much yoga as I can to try and open this mind/body connection and open up to all of life’s possibilities!

  35. To be MINDFUL, deliberately paying attention to the present moment, aware of the taste of that first sip of coffee, the smell of fall leaves, the way a streak of ink paints a page, leaving its viewer to ponder whether it was planned or random. To be MINDFUL is to be fully alive in your body and your environment.

  36. I am choosing kindness as my word for this year. I am reading a book titled “The Power of Kindness – the Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life” by Piero Ferrucci. Examples of chapters are: forgiveness, humility, respect, flexibility, service…. I’m thinking much of life is about kindness.

  37. “Art”, of course! Perhaps, if I SEE this word every day, I will make more time for it in my life. It brings me such joy!!

  38. I was going to pick a number, but that seemed too obvious, so my word is meromorphic, as in meromorphic function. Mero comes from meros, or part, and a meromorphic function is one that’s plotted on the complex plane — and now it gets interesting. The complex plane is like a regular cartesian X-Y plane (graph paper) except it’s for plotting complex numbers. The X-axis is real, but the Y-axis is imaginary. A meromorphic map, then, would be a map plotted on the complex plane where every location is part real and part imaginary.

    The nature of a meromorphic year is left as an exercise for the reader.

  39. My word for 2013 was ‘artist’ and it was an interesting choice.I wanted to know what that word meant to me and my life. It gave me some interesting insights of which the biggest surprise may be that it’s not a word that defines me as much as I thought it might. It brought me some struggles (hello ego) and some good stuff, one of them being that I cut down on my job hours so I could play more for which I will be forever grateful. Play is key, pleasure, passion, fun. Not so much whether I do it through art or my other interests. It’s about joy in living and spending my time. I’m looking for a word for 2014 that will express a kind of peaceful joy and playfullness so I can explore it more and not take everything so damned seriously and be so hard on myself. I haven’t found the perfect term yet, but I will.

    • It sounds like your “artist” taught you a lot. Maybe it’s time to make it a hero for you! (OK, so my book came out yesterday and I’ve got heroes on the brain!). But it does sound like the word did you a lot of good last year–exploring your mindset and your path.
      Mine came to me on my walking meditation this morning.It is such a different word for me, I have to let it sit for a few days to make sure.

  40. I have an inner circle of women friends. We actually do this as a ritual each year. Last week we met for dinner and each of us reviewed the previous year – how the word we chose played out – and then chose one for the upcoming year. It’s a wonderful ritual and way of setting intent.

  41. My word is “YES”.
    It’s my reminder to myself to – follow that urge!!
    It started with my foray into improv last year – as my resolution was to have more fun. A rule of improv is agreement, say “yes and…” It’s a good rule for life. One I want to remind myself to do more of.

  42. Congratulations on the publication of your new book, Quinn! Looking forward to seeing it. Are you working on the next one yet? :):)

    “Space” – I desperately need more space. It would be a good thing during the next year to do things that would create more space. Organizing, throwing out things, giving away things. Even creating storage that would give the illusion of more space. Making non-tangible space wouldn’t be sobad either.

    • Dear Debbie,
      Very good word. A good one for me as well. Storage giving the illusion of space and the “non-tangiblle” space is something not everyone thinks about. It is about the illusion of space, isn’t it? I keep re-arranging my art room to create the ability, or the illusion, as you said, to feel like I can “stretch” (there’s my word for 2014) both my arms out to each side and not come close to touching anything! Thank you for a word I may add to my choice.

  43. My word for 2014 is “Accomplishment”. My goal is to have this feeling of personal accomplishment and achievement in as many area of my life as possible. Part of this is to recognize my own talents and fully value my work.

  44. I have been choosing “one word” for the past 3 years now and it has become an important ritual each year for me. Last year my word was “Forward.” A friend gave me the idea to write it on a mirror and so I used an oil stick and wrote it on my bathroom mirror so that I would see it every morning and evening (and sometimes in between!). Having that daily, visual reminder was such a great idea as it caused me to focus on the word every day and set an intention for the whole year to “move forward.” The word has served me well. For 2014 I am leaning towards choosing the word “Gratitude”. My intention is to create a gratitude journal and list at least one “gift” from every day — more if they are evident. I am inspired by Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” as well as Gretchen Millers’ Revo’lution Bits: 365 Days Project to keep a daily, handmade journal listing things from each day that I am grateful for. Setting my thoughts on the positive things happening in my life on a daily basis and capturing them on paper is something that I am excited about. Thanks so much for a chance to win your new book, Quinn. I would love to own a copy. Congrats to you!

  45. Dear Quinn, my word(s) appeared during a visualization. First, the word Truth appeared, but it was more like a question or a plead (I want to know the Truth). Then, this word was given to me: Trust. After reflecting on my experience and the gifts received, this year will be different: I will not just have one word, but this is my Intention for 2014: to trust my inner truth. This is especially relevant in my life at this point, as I feel 2014 will be the year of starting to put out in the world what I feel is my Soul’s work, and living the Heroine’s path. Thank you so much for a chance to win your beautiful book! Many blessings during the Holiday Season and for the New Year…

  46. Like in all other things, I probably can’t pick just one and stick with it for a whole year (funny how I have a blog post scheduled about that for tomorrow). Perhaps I should simply choose intention. Change? I just know that if I pick one, I’ll have an epiphany next week for one that feels better. 😉

  47. I was just thinking of this today. My word for 2013 was Believe, and I’m thinking that my word for 2014 is going to be Change. I have a new planner / journal all ready to go, I would love a copy of your new book, thank you for the chance to win.

  48. Good timing Quinn as I was contemplating my thoughts/journalling what I want out of 2014 and what I am committing to put into achieving what I want and the word that keeps coming up is FINISH… So my word for 2014 is finish…. To finish what I start, to finish what I say I will and to finish some of my already unfinished projects…. And importantly to finish organising my space before 2014 starts so I can achieve better things…. A busy year ahead….

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