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One Word Resolution vs New Year’s Resolutions
About 5 years ago I decided to throw New Year’s Resolutions out the window and instead pick a word of the year.
I knew I wouldn’t stick to a flippant resolution anyway and multiple areas of my life really needed some work…. not just one.
And according to Brain Statistic, of people who actually set a new year resolution, only about 9% feel they are successful in achieving said resolution. Sounds about right.
So why do One Word Resolutions work? Because you don’t just set one goal to focus on. Instead you are picking a theme, an intention, or an attitude you want to approach the new year with.
Personally, I have found this to be more motivating throughout the year. It also gives the added benefit of permeating into multiple areas of your life so you can make changes across the board.
Honestly, this whole process has changed my perspective on goal setting and what I am able to achieve.
My Word for the Year is……
The first year I did this, I didn’t even realize it was a thing. I just made the decision to do it and did. I later found out it’s something that others do as well and was happy to be a part of the one word club.
Here are my past words of the year and what I accomplished during that year. For an added bonus, I’ve found that practicing these “attitudes” throughout the year keeps them with me for subsequent years as well.
Word of the Year 2016: Discipline
The year that kicked it all off. My focus this year were my finances and my health. And making changes required A LOT of discipline.
- Created & stuck to a budget
- Paid off more debt than ever before
- Bought less stuff I didn’t need
- Started meal planning
- Learned how to cook (like actually cook things) and incorporate new foods into my diet
- Cut down on my 3 favorites- Dr.Pepper, popcorn and queso
- Joined a gym by making it a priority in my budget
- Started going to said gym at least 3x/week
Word of the Year 2017: Take Action
The year I finally stopped dreaming & scheming and made steps towards huge changes in my life.
- Took my first international solo trip to Europe
- Started an Online Business
- Quit my corporate job
- Had Lasik Eye Surgery (that I spent 10 years dreaming about getting)
- Paid off 2 credit cards ( I took the discipline I gained from the year before and took an even larger action in paying off debt)
- Made a scary investment into E-commerce
- Booked my flight to move to New Zealand (which I spent 7 years thinking about doing)
Word of the Year 2018: Learn
My motto was learn everything! Here are all the areas I learned more about to move forward in my new Digital Nomad Lifestyle.
- House Sitting
- Skills for my Virtual Assistant Business
- How to balance travel and work
- Selling on Amazon
- Networking with other nomads
- NZ Culture
- Online Business Systems
Word of the Year 2019: Intentional
After spending a year learning everything I could, I decided I need to make more intentional decisions about where I spent my time, money, energy.
- Spent 2 months staying with a friend in Wellington
- Signed up for a Hacker Paradise trip to Seoul to be around other nomads
- Started my blog Traveling Tayler for other nomads
- Started a YouTube Channel for nomads because I’m better at talking than writing
- Gave up my Amazon Business
- Fired a couple of clients & signed new ones more inline with my interests
- Spent a lot of time working on my money mindset
- Spent 3 months at home for the holidays to rest & recharge
And my WOTY for 2020 is…….ESTABLISH
Sounds a bit counterintuitive for a Digital Nomad whose life is built on flexibility. But I plan to become more established in my business, online presence and future goals.
To be honest it really surprised me when the word “ESTABLISH” first came to me, but I think it’s exactly what I need to incorporate more of while I continue to live my nomadic lifestyle.
2021 Word of the Year is ENGAGE
Tips for Choosing a Word for the Year
1. Pinpoint what is lacking in your life
This is usually the first place I start. I think about where I’d like to be and what in my life is keeping me from being that person.
For that first year, I needed more discipline. That was the word that could bridge the gap for me. The second year, I needed to take more action on my goals. And so on.
So stop to think about where you are, where you’d like to be, and what can help you bridge the gap between the two.
2. Make your word actionable
You need to be able to put your word into practice.
For example, for 2018 my first choice word was enjoy before I ended up changing it to learn. I picked this because I wanted to enjoy my time in NZ. But “enjoy” isn’t very active. Sure you can make a point to enjoy a place or moment, but telling myself to “enjoy” the day really didn’t do much for me.
Part of it may have also been that I couldn’t measure that word in my life. To be a successful goal it should be a SMART goal (specific, measureale, achievable, relevant, time bound). I could measure how much I learned. I couldn’t really put enjoy into practice.
Not to say every word has to invoke action. It could easily invoke a sense of inaction. I know someone whose word is “ease”. Her reasoning- she makes everything so dang difficult and she wants to create some ease into her work.
Whichever word you choose, be sure it’s something that invokes a strong sense of direction in you and you are able to measure the outcome over the year.
3. Try on different words
This is sort of like picking a name for a new pet. You may have an idea of multiple words that could fit. Take the time to “try” each on and see how it feels.
If it doesn’t invoke very strong feelings move to the next one until you find the word that feels just right. Write down new ideas that come to you and be sure you give each one a little one on one time. You’ll know once you have the right one.
4. Don’t overthink it
My word for 2020, Establish, came to be very unexpectedly. I was on a train and my mind wandering thinking about random things and it hit me.
Your inner self, as Martha Beck refers to it, knows where your North Star is. If you are trying to force it, it’s less likely to find you. Try meditating or other mind clearing exercises to help.
5. Give it some time
Sometimes my word has come to me in a matter of days and others it’s taken weeks. Its ok. It’s not a race.
You’ll know when the word is right for you. And if halfway through the year your life has taken a complete directional turn and you need to change your word too, that’s okay too.
This is your intention for your life. You get to decide what you need and when.
Don’t be shy- let me know in the comments below what One Word for the Year is most inspiring to you!
What a fab article! Strangely I set myself a ‘word’ in September last year – so it wasn’t a New Year thing. That word was Boundaries, and my life has changed so much for the better as a result. I think you’re right though, the word really does have to resonate with you. But it can be oh so more rewarding than a resolution. I truly appreciated your insight Tayler, thank you.
Boundaries is such a great word! It’s something that requires constant practice but so beneficial to our lives. And picking a word during a natural transition is so much better than feeling you have to do it at a certain time.
I like this!
I really like the way you think, a word is perfect to have as your new years not-resolution! I am thinking that mine for 2020 will be Calm.
Perfect! I wish you all the calmness this year.