What’s Your One Word? (Goodbye, New Year’s Resolutions!)

3, 2, 1…Happy New Year!

The confetti has been tossed, kisses exchanged, and the Christmas trees are on the curb. It’s the New Year, which means time for new beginnings and, for some people, the making and breaking of resolutions.

I’m a reformed resolution maker. 

Years ago, I was all about the resolutions. Year after year it went the same way.

  1. Make the list.
  2. Follow the list for a week or two.
  3. Forget about the list.
  4. Beat myself up for failing.

After years of repeating this vicious cycle, I was feeling discouraged. Instead of entering the new year hopeful, I entered it hopeless. That’s not a good way to begin anything.

Then a few years ago a friend of mine announced her One Word for the New Year on Facebook. I was intrigued.

Instead of making lists of unattainable goals, you just pick one word to guide you through the year.

“This might actually work,” I thought to myself, hopeful that one word would be more attainable than a long list.

For three years my One Word led me on a journey from Grow to Harmony to Intentional. Now I’m embarking on year number four and I need to find my one word.

One Word 1
One Word art created by artist Michelle Pendergrass.

You’re probably wondering HOW do I choose just one word for an entire year. Well, there’s no magic formula, and I don’t pick them out a hat. Most of the time a word will just come to me the year prior, one that resonates on an emotional and spiritual level like my first two words, Grow and Harmony.

Last year’s word Intentional was a more of an intensive soul-searching exercise.

One Word 2
One Word art created by Michelle Pendergrass

Each year I use Susannah Conway’s Unraveling the Year Ahead. It gives closure to the prior year, and offers inspiration for the upcoming year. After “unraveling” last year and meditating on 2015, I finally found my “One Word” for this year.

If you are done with resolutions and looking for inspiration in the New Year I encourage you to choose your One Word, and share it with us.

A New Year should always be filled with hope.


Brook {without the "e"} is a spunky faux redhead and former UI grad who has decided to call Iowa City her home for over 10 years. She met her husband on the internet, and they spend their days playing superheroes with their two boys, Edison (2007) and Grant (2010). She juggles mom life with a full-time job as a marketing consultant, competing in triathlons and writing her heart out on her personal blog www.redheadreverie.com. She believes life is a journey, not a destination.


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