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The word that sums up my intention this year

January 11, 2023

Happy New Year ! I hope you’ve had a good start to 2023. Did you get chance to do the review of last year in the previous post? The last note I received before Christmas was a thank you from someone who’d treated themselves to a rare pause in a café to reflect on their year. It was lovely to hear they’d been inspired to take that important time out to acknowledge their accomplishments.

The final stage of that review exercise is to reflect on what you’ve learned and think how you can use it to your benefit in the coming year. What I realised is that things go better for me when I relax and stop striving so hard. With that in mind, instead of creating a specific goal this year, I’ve chosen a word to sum up my intention for the months ahead.

Shaping your intentions

I’ve done this before and find it really useful. Goals are great when there’s something specific you want to achieve, but it’s not always the moment to be single-minded in your focus. This is when I find a word or phrase helpful. Its looseness makes it flexible and broadly applicable to shaping how you think, what you do and how you do it.

So what’s my word for 2023? Well, I’m tempted to pick ‘naughty’ as an antidote to the serious issues in the world, but I’ve gone with ‘ease’.

Ahh. Ease. Even just thinking about it I can feel my shoulders dropping. It reminds me to take things easy; to move with the ease of a child; to look for the easiest way to do something because, boy, can I over-complicate things sometimes.😆

Finding the path of ease and flow

I was inspired by the idea of finding the path of ease and flow – a concept in the mental fitness work I teach as a PQ Coachâ„¢. It deliberately challenges the opposing belief of no pain, no gain which I know is partly behind my striving. No pain, no gain implies important things are always difficult and only come when we push ourselves and that success achieved too easily is less worthy and deserved.

The trouble is, beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies. So if you believe you’ve got to work hard or overcome massive obstacles to get where you’re going, that’s what you’ll look for and that’s what you’ll find. Your mind won’t see the easier paths in front of you. Whereas if you expect that the best path forward is the one with ease and flow to it, then easier options will start to appear. And if something is proving hard, you can ask yourself “What’s making this feel so difficult? What’s an alternative way I could approach it?”

How do you want to be this year?

So that’s my intention this year, to look for the easier options I might be missing. If you were to have a word, or phrase, to guide how you want to be this year, what would you choose?

Take ‘balance’ for example. Having balance at the forefront of your mind might change how you prioritise things, what data you review before making a decision, where you go on holiday. Or ‘growth’. An intention of growth might give you the assurance to accept a role offering a greater challenge but a similar salary over one with more money but fewer learning opportunities.

Do you see its broad application? Here are 21 other suggestions to get you thinking:


Once you’ve settled on your word, put it where you’ll see it regularly. I turn mine into a graphic and add it to the pictures that appear on my desktop background. If you use Windows go to settings > personalisation > background to create your own motivational slideshow.

It’s not too late to do that reflection piece to think about what you’ve learned from last year and what you’d like to stop, start or continue in this one. You’ll find the exercise among my self-help resources.

If you do decide to pick a word to inspire and guide your intention this year, I’d love to hear what it is, especially if you decide to go with naughty!

About me

I’m Celia Clark. I’m a career development coach based in the dreaming spires of Oxford. I help you think clearly about your job, in all its ups and downs, so you can be happy and successful in your work.

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