Word for 2022 – Messy

Have you heard of picking a word for the year instead of New Year’s resolutions?  My word for 2022 is Messy.

Messy Oxford definition

The traditional way ‘messy’ is defined by the dictionary

Messy urban dictionary definition

Urban Dictionary offers up user-generated definitions.

Quotes On Messy

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”  – Ms. Frizzle, Magic School Bus

Ms. Frizzle Get Messy quote

Ms. Frizzle, a teacher in the Magic School Bus animated book & video series, as always inspired me with this mantra.

The middle is messy, but also where the magic happens – Brené Brown 

Brene Brown quote on Day 2, the middle is messy

Brené Brown, researcher and inspirational author, discusses her thoughts about how there are three stages to learning, and it’s the middle that’s messy and needs to be that way!

“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.” Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Anne Lamott quote on being messy

When sharing my word “Messy” with a friend, along with my desire to write a book/movie, she shared this wonderful author and her outlook on life being messy.


Don’t fret, you’re simply in the Messy Middle, the crazy ups and downs that are an inevitable part of anything worth doing. – Scott Belsky, The Messy Middle

The Messy Middle by Scott Belsky quote

Scott Belsky, who has been involved in such start-ups as Pinterest, Periscope and Uber, wrote this business book to help others push through the tough parts of a new business.

Why a Word of the Year?

A few years ago I came across the concept of choosing a word for the year instead of making New Year’s resolutions.  Past words which have impacted me include 2018’s “Consistent”  and 2021’s “Intuition.”  2020’s choice of “zany” didn’t have the outcome I expected – I had hoped for more action than facing a ton of pandemic-induced fears.  

Intuition is a great word for me, as it means trusting myself and my inner knowing more deeply.  When someone challenged me on making intuition a “goal” and said that’s not how it’s done – I trusted myself to know she didn’t understand the concept of Word of the Year as I do.  I’ve come to believe that my word is a guide, a reminder, a soft whisper in my ear about where I want to go or expand in my life.  It’s not a goal, to be reached and then move on to the next bar.  It’s a way of being that I choose to incorporate into my life.

You may be the type of person who is goal-oriented, and that’s wonderful – for you.  Maybe bucket lists (and I’ve had my fun with those!) and resolutions work for you.  Go for them!  I spent a career in sales, where life was supposed to be about reaching and beating goals.  No wonder my corporate life stressed me to the point of ill health!  I realize I resist goals, and prefer to help clients with solutions. Others reflect on the past and create ways to make the future more fun – like Jeff Harry’s Fun, Joy, Play Index

Have you tried picking a word for the year yet?  Don’t fret, it took me two or three years before my chosen word stuck throughout the year.  Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that my word now chooses me, and it comes on it’s own time – usually before the new calendar year starts! This can happen for you too – all you have to do is pay attention when a word seems to repeat itself and wants you to notice it.  Test it out by mentioning it to friends.  Does it feel right to you?  

Your word can be fluid.  Meaning that it can take on all the forms of the word (free, freedom, freeing, free from fears, etc).  You may also define the meaning of the word as you see it.  My word messy has multiple meanings, and I am choosing to go with the positive version of learning to be comfortable in the messy middle, no judgments of perfection.  

An important note.  To make this part of your adventurous mindset, let go of the outcome of the word.  Don’t make it a goal, rather use it as a guide and follow where it may go.  “Zany” didn’t have the outcome I wanted.  “Consistent” gave me a lifelong ritual that I didn’t expect.  Who knows what will show up – that’s part of the fun!

What’s Your Word of the Year?

Share with me what word you’ve picked!  Declare it publicly by sharing below or on social media.  This helps you remember and to stick with it!

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1 Comment

  1. Lisa

    I want to tape that Messy Middle graphic on my bathroom mirror ha!

    Word for 2022: tbd lol


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