Im not one for resolutions, so a couple of years ago when I came across the practice of choosing one word for the coming year as a focus, a theme, catalyst to help bring about transformation I was surprised how the idea appealed to me.

Change is the driver of most of our failed resolutions so why did choosing one word resonate with me and seem to offer the possibility of success?

It was choosing a word, not a list of desires. One word as an every day reminder of an intention, made at the beginning of a new year, to take positive steps towards change. A word to help define how you move towards who you want to be, what you want to achieve, how you want to live.

There’s plenty advice out there about choosing your word should you like the idea but how do you put it into action?

As 2015 was drawing to an end I was reflecting back over the year. I was at a point in my life where things were going wrong. I had become complacent and neglected my business, it wasn’t in a good financial state. I was in a battle with a developer about damage to my home, add the end of a long term relationship, I felt stuck, trapped by circumstances and had no vision of better times ahead.

The one word theme struck me like lightning. Don’t focus on those things gone wrong, don’t try to put them right. How can you move forward, add, enhance, grow personally and professionally? What one word sums up what you feel needs to happen to change, bearing in mind the things you have no influence over? Presto my 2016 word came to mind – Expand.

A definition of Expand “ to increase in size, number, or importance” and synonyms: develop, supplement, enlarge on, add detail, flesh out.  Also the words I used to describe what needed to happen for me to change: grow, add, enhance – expand was my word.

So there was my theme, my focus, a way to break out of the box of restrictive circumstances and thinking. Throughout the year I would look at situations, experiences, challenges, problems from the lens of that word – Expand. I made an effort to build new friendships and business relationships, grew my private client base, increased my yoga retreat business. I also focused my own self development and furthered my studies in mind body practices. I fed my passion for travel, other cultures, nature – to coin a phrase “ I expanded my horizons “

I actually expanded more than I could possibly imagine, beyond Gail Smith Yoga and  took the first steps towards creating my wellness business, Wellness WorkSpace. An idea hatched from an opportunity I had been given by a client, one of the new relationships I had forged, to talk to her management team about mind-body wellness. By the end of 2016 Wellness WorkSpace started to take shape just in time for my 2017 word – Nurture.

In deciding Nurture I asked myself – what word was now appropriate to both my personal and business circumstances? I had worked extremely hard during 2016 to expand. I realised that to continue at such a pace could cost my health, affect relationships and my business. I also had a new hatchling Wellness WorkSpace. So my word Nurture seemed a right choice. A definition “ to care for and protect (someone or something) while they are growing”  and synonyms: take care of, attend to, look after, support, tend, cultivation, advancement….

Throughout 2017 Nurture was there in the background. I still worked hard but this time it was in a nurturing way. I spent much more time with my family. I now have a very small, close circle of real friends. My travels and education continued. My yoga business flourished. At the beginning of the year my idea for Wellness WorkSpace gained me a place on a business accelerator programme and Wellness WorkSpace became a company in June.

So as 2017 is nearing a close I already have my word for 2018. This word has been shouting out to me for several months. It makes me smile when people say it or I come across it when reading etc

A definition of my word “unspecified qualities of a promising nature” “ a thing that may be chosen or done out of several possible alternatives”. Related words – chances, likelihood, prospect, hope, choice, achievability, alternative, solution, course of action.

The last two years I have expanded, broken free of the box. I’ve built new and hopefully strong foundations. Nurtured those foundations, those seeds of change, in an effort to create a new way of living and working that will keep evolving, changing, growing.

In using the one word theme I’ve realised limitations live only in our minds. Believe in yourself, have hope, understand there are always choices, chances, alternatives, solutions –  all synonyms of my 2018 word – Possibilities