Just One Word, Please!

Before we turn over that final page of the 2016 calendar, let’s think about doing something different or new in 2017. Like most people, at the beginning of December, I begin to contemplate the upcoming year. Do you also begin to have dreams and personal plans for the year ahead?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could choose only one word to reflect and define the person you want to become in the upcoming year? Does any particular word come to mind as we begin to talk about it?

What word would you choose?

I am going to share a few examples of my own experiences with choosing one word. It all began near the end of 2014 as I was starting to think about the beginning of the next year. My cousin who lives in another state sent me an email and told me about this idea. She shared with me the word she chose for the next year. Of course, I wanted to try it too. Like most everyone else at the beginning of a new year, I was setting some goals. I accepted my cousin’s challenge. Here’s what happened.

2015: I Chose the Word, “Exuberance”

Just one word opened my life up to embrace the joys of ordinary daily encounters. Embracing this word was a game changer for me. I wanted to be exuberant in my writing and my art making; in one-on-one encounters. I desired exuberance in the little details of an ordinary day. Do you often feel this way, too?

A woman in an art gallery with paintings hanging on the wall

Because I am a visual artist and writer who has profound vision loss due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathay, I needed to reinforce the verbal aspects of this word into images I could hold in my imagination.

Here’s how you can begin:

  • Think about the word you have chosen. Meditate on it. Keep that word in your mind and visit it periodically. Art works I saw prior to my own sight loss came to my mind. Specific art works gave me an exuberant outlook for my year.

What kind of things give you a lift?

  • Consider stories, music, hobbies, people, your profession, a passion you have, or anything else that can fit into your realization of the word you choose.

I envisioned my favorite art in a glorious gallery; memorable stories; composers who make me stop in my tracks and pay attention; dancers; and landscapes that inspired me. What do you see in a word?

Think about what inspires you in the areas of life that are important to you.

2016: I Selected “Extraordinary”

Woman looking at art hanging on the wall at an art gallery

What I did:

  • I pictured extraordinary personal and professional achievements. I visualized my own art being in prestigious exhibitions and winning awards. I held pictures of award ribbons in my thoughts.
  • The writer in me anticipated my poems and creative nonfiction essays being published in literary journals and other publications. I was working on a new book, so I kept envisioning my book as completed. I saw the cover in my mind. I read the essays and poems as I was writing them. I could picture them in the book. And, best of all, I could imagine people who enjoyed reading my book.

My year was extraordinary in all the areas just as I anticipated.

I’ve chosen my new word for 2017. It is “intentional”.

This one word will remind me to think ahead before making decisions for my personal or public life; I want to be intentional in my thoughts and actions.

Take Action—Choose One Word

It will trigger a positive outcome for the entire year.

Now, it’s your turn. You can pick just one word and that will be the action that triggers new experiences and achievements in the year ahead.

Will you join me in the one word challenge for 2017? I would love to hear about your word and how it guides you in the upcoming year.

Be sure to write your word down so you can go back to revisit it again during the year. And, yes! Let me know all about your own experience with your one word.

Read More on New Year’s Resolutions

Sue Martin: Dreams Fulfilled from a Bucket List of Yesteryear

Lynda Jones: Reflecting on What It Takes to Achieve Your Bucket List

Real Dreams Achieved on a Bucket List