What’s your word for 2024? Mine is…


I’ll explain more about the origin of my guiding word in a moment but let me tell you where the idea for this exercise comes from, and what the self-coaching exercise is first.

There’s been a cool, quick, self-coaching exercise floating around the internet for a few weeks and I wanted to share it with you. I took inspiration from amazing neurodivergent coach Martine Ellis, who is an expert on well-being driven productivity (which is the ONLY form of intentional productivity I am prepared to get behind!). If you’d like to see what her resources are like, there’s a great recent post about a weekly journalling check-in that I really enjoyed here.

What I like about the word-for-my-year exercise is that it is a neuro-friendly way of setting a course for the coming year but it doesn’t come with some of the disadvantages of setting new years resolutions.

Some of you will know that I don’t really rate new year’s resolutions. This is because they get set at a fixed time and due to societal expectations often, resolutions can be hastily picked, for the wrong reasons, and can be unrealistic and unachievable. This means we can fail fast and feel bad about it, if we’re not in a good relationship with failure yet. (Btw if you’re not in a good relationship with failure, yet, that could be something we can work on in coaching. Hit me up if you need!)

Now, I don’t believe that we should not have any goals for 2024. I am a fan of achievable goals. Plus, it can be useful to reflect on the past year and the coming year at this time because the change of year provides a natural way marker for remembering to do this.

However, it is important that any goals or desired outcomes for 2024 or authentic, self-chosen, meaningful to you, and are something that you could actually have a chance of doing, taking your energy, spoons and authentic needs into account along the way. This is where “word of the year” might be helpful for you in deciding what to do or focus on in the coming months. If you pick a word to guide yourself next year, then your word is autonomously chosen by you and should feel more authentic to you, which can mean that demand avoidance and anxiety are lowered about any goals or desired outcomes that you do choose to work towards.

With all the above in mind, choosing a word for 2024 is helping me to set goals or work towards concrete outcomes that that are authentic, self-chosen and feel good to me.

My word will help me to
– decide if something can and should be a desired goal/outcome for me
– say yes to investments of time, energy and attention in things that are aligned to my word
– say no to things, people and commitments that are not aligned to my word (and, therefore, the general direction I am trying to move in)

As I said above, my word for 2024 is legacy.

This is a bit of a deep one but, when I have hopefully lived to a ripe old age and have shuffled off the mortal coil, I’d hope that the world is in a better place when it comes to the coaching of autistic and ADHD adults. In years’ time, when I am dead and gone, the only way for me to be around in any way shape or form is to leave behind the research and the impact on practice that I hope to generate. That is my legacy.

The word legacy has been important to me for a few years but I somehow still did not manage to get as far with my research as I wanted. I’m not ashamed or cross with myself. I can be understanding of my genuine obstacles or challenges. That being said, I’ve hit 40 and I’d like to get a shuffle on!

For this reason, focusing on “legacy” to generate motivation and guide my attention is going to be really powerful. Making the decision to be guided by this word has already led to me doing lots of reading and writing in the last two weeks.

I’ve written LEGACY on the whiteboard above my computer and have told close friends and family that I’m allowing myself to be guided by this word, which is serving to keep the word front of my mind so I don’t forget to use the word as a guide.

Now you’ve read about what I’ve done and how it’s helping me, the invitation if you choose is to ask yourself:

Would a word for next year rather than a laundry list of resolutions help you?

What could your word be? Why?

What’s the origin story of your word? Where does it come from and what does it mean to you?

If this word could focus your attention and intention, what would the tangible benefits be to you in a few months’ time? What makes you say this?

Feel free to let me know if and how this exercise helped you over the coming months. I’ll be curious to see if it makes a positive difference for you and why!

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