What’s Your One Word for the New Year?

Do you set New Year’s resolutions? I have not been a big fan of resolutions in the past simply because they seem to have a poor stigma surrounding them. Resolutions seem to have become the butt of jokes, a frustration for gym rats, and stress-inducers for those who set them. For awhile I aimed to set goals rather than resolutions. My thought process behind this decision was completely based on definitions. Resolutions are decisions to do or not do things, whereas goals are focused ambitions to achieve a desired result.

Over the last few years, I made goals for myself at the beginning of each year. These goals provided direction, and also allowed me to plan and prepare to take realistic actions for my desired outcomes. Sometimes I realigned my goals throughout the year to better serve my changing lifestyle. Other times I quit on my goals or rolled them over to the next year. There were even a few goals I proudly achieved.

Then in 2017, I heard about the idea of One Word. There’s actually a book called My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen which goes in depth on how to choose your word. (I’ve never read the book, but have known a few people who have.) The authors state that choosing your Word is a year-changing process. This process “provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.”

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also begins her years choosing a single word to bring her guidance. On LinkedIn, Gates explained that this tradition “encapsulates her aspirations for the year ahead.” She focused 2016 around the word “gentle” which helped her fight perfectionism, and 2017’s “spacious” prompted her to make room for the things in life that truly matter. She even doubled on the word “grace” for 2019 as it served her well in 2018.

I love the concept that one Word can set a theme for the year and be a constant reminder to focus on creating positive change in your life.

Choosing a Word has become my tradition at the New Year. In 2017 my year was focused on “release.” I released responsibilities, people, and stress from my environment in order to thrive (and in a few circumstances simply survive.) In 2018, “gratitude” was the resounding theme. I was grateful for a new career path and a loving husband and a first home. 2019 brought “intention”, and 2020 I chose “content” which also double in 2021 because, to be honest, 2020 made Life difficult to find contentment. 

Usually as I walk into a new year, I find difficulty in narrowing the next twelve months into a single word. I am not facing that challenge with 2022 though. Instead, I’ve had my word chosen for a few weeks now: 

Cultivate.

Having entered a new decade, bought a new home, and started new ventures at work, I see the need to begin cultivating my skills and digging deeper into hobbies that I love. I desire a balance between work and home. To cultivate means to acquire or develop one’s skill set. As the ball drops on the New Year, I strive to develop a couple of my interests with focused intention.

These interests include: plant care and gardening, do-it-yourself home projects, and bettering my well-being by practicing discipline in my diet and exercise. There will no doubt be other talents to cultivate as well, but those are the few I’ve honed-in on since deciding my Word for 2022.

Have you considered a Word of the Year for yourself? If so, what did you choose for 2022 and why? And if this little blurb made you think about a Word, what are you thinking to focus on in the new year? 

Cheers to your victories in 2021 and the challenges of 2022, my friends!

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