‘Word of the Year’ appears to be overtaking ‘New Year’s Resolution’ as a way to convince ourselves that we are actually doing something—possibly because 80% of NY’s Resolutions fail by the second week in February anyway.

And, since 64% of us make the same resolutions every year, what is the point, really?

Word of the Year Not New

So now we have something new to try. But it’s not really new, as dictionaries have been picking a word for the year for a while now.

This year Merriam Webster picked “Gaslighting,” which tells us a little something about the world we are living in:

A driver of disorientation and mistrust, gaslighting is “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.” 2022 saw a 1740% increase in lookups for gaslighting, with high interest throughout the year.

As far back as 1938, there was a play and then a movie about a man trying to make his wife insane by telling her, relentlessly, that what she thought was true about the gaslights in their home was not.

Now the term applies not just person-to-person, but culturally and politically too. So many people are accusing many other people of lying.

In an earlier post I wrote on “The Truth About Lying,” my research suggested that most folks actually do lie, and that even though it is developmentally normal for kids to lie, it is also something we are supposed to outgrow. Oh well. Maybe someday.

Meanwhile, here’s another 2022 Word of the Year, from Oxford Dictionaries, Goblin Mind:

It defines the term as “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”

There we go again, me, me, me, me, me… Reminds me of the 1979 book, The Culture of Narcissism.

Narcissism here then, here now, and for who knows how long. Which brings me to my own Word of the Year.

My Word of the Year

“Period.” I picked this word because I have been hearing myself use it a lot with my clients who bury themselves in overthinking.

Often, they are thinking about who did what, why they did it, why they did it to them, what it means about them that they did it to them, what they should do back… On and on it goes ‘til they are exhausted, and can’t think straight anyway, so why think at all?

Look, the holidays are here, and there other big things going on too, as you know. So people may be stressed and behaving badly to each other more than many of us would like. But there it is. So why not put a period on it, rather than dragging it out.

Why not put a period on it, then breathe, and use your word, at least until the insanity stops. Go here for a quick and easy breathing tool that I would love everyone to have.

Then, who knows, there may be nothing else to do at all. And if there is, chances are it will be smarter and better executed than it would have been otherwise.

In other words, put a period on it when the mind goes out of control, and that’s my word for 2023: Period. Now for yours.

Your Word of the Year?

If you don’t already have one, and would like one, here is a list of 300 words to give you some ideas for a central organizing word—to help you focus on how you want to live your life.

You can also click here for tons of articles with explicit instructions on how to choose your word if you get stuck.

And if you find yourself overthinking it, you can use my word: Period. Pick a word and be done. Period.

Would love to hear what you came up with, so feel free to pick one and let us know.



Photo by  Unsplash Susan Holt Simpson

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About the Author: Madelaine Weiss
Madelaine Claire Weiss (LICSW, MBA, BCC) is a Licensed Psychotherapist, a Board Certified Executive-Career-Life Coach, and bestselling author of “Getting to G.R.E.A.T. 5-Step Strategy for Work and Life.” sfas

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