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Image by Mariah Hewines

Motivational Article

One. Simple. Word.

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for that dreaded list of New Years Resolutions we make (or feel guilty for not making) every single year.



We tell ourselves, “It’s a new start. This year is going to be different. I can do this.” And we sincerely mean it. We are desperate for healthy change.


So we give ourselves the same pep-talk. Somehow, I will finally muster the courage, strength, energy— whatever —to make changes.


But Nothing Really Changes


In just a few days or weeks, frustration sets in when things are not different. Our high and lofty goals are now prison bars.


As the sinking realization of “I failed” sets in, we spiral toward the bottomless pit of depression. And then we spend the remaining months of the year desperately trying not to topple into the abyss.

I understand. I've been there. Far too many times. I’ve set wonderful goals. Written them down. Created action steps. Started strong.


But then… well, I’m sure you know what happens next. I snap at someone I love. The laundry piles up. My kitchen is a wreck. I’ve got too much on my plate.


I’m grumpy. Nasty. (Dare I say, angry? No, that’s not allowed. I’m… frustrated. Yes, that sounds better.) Turns out I can’t be perfect after all so why even try?


Oh yeah, I’m the mom. I have to set a good example. So I sucked it up. Plastered my smile back in place. Put one weary foot in front of the other. And mustered through another year.


What if there was another way? What if we didn’t have to set ourselves up for failure? What if we could actually make healthy changes? What if we could finally break free?


Let me share with you a different approach that just might be the answer. No more New Year’s Resolutions or even Anti-Resolutions.


How about you choose a word, just one word, as your compass? This one word will set your focus and guide you actions for the next 12 months.


One. Simple. Word.


It’s easy. Refreshing. Encouraging. Approachable. Your one word compass becomes the theme of your whole year. It helps you reach your goals as you begin to align your thoughts, feelings and actions in one direction.


And as you do, you steadily build confidence. You begin to grow. And over time, that elusive change you've been striving for starts to happen.


A Fresh Start


As your first step, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on your life. What would you like to work on?


  • Has life become too complicated? Maybe SIMPLICITY could be your theme.

  • A lot of turmoil? Perhaps PEACE might be the word for you.

  • Have you been fearful of stepping into unknown territory, setting healthy boundaries, or trying something new? Perhaps BRAVE is your word.


Consider words you might embrace. Pick one, try it on. Ponder it for a few days.


Does it fit? If not, try another. Pick a word that is actionable. Click here for a list of possibilities. [link is disabled]


Once you’ve settled on a word, jot it down. Post it around your house, wear it as a bracelet, set it as a reminder on your phone, whatever helps you remember it.


Then apply it. Every day.

Your word is a compass. Use it to help determine your steps. When faced with a decision, ask yourself, “Does this line up with my theme?”

For example:

  • If your word is SIMPLICTY you could ask yourself, “Am I making things too complicated? How can I SIMPLIFY my life right now?” Or “What could I do differently to make this easier? More efficient? Less stressful?”


  • If it's PEACE, “How can I reduce the tension and create a more PEACEFUL environment for myself and my family?” Even if this decision causes temporary strife, will the result bring more peace?”


  • If BRAVE is your word, you could ask “Am I acting out of fear? How can I practice BRAVERY in this situation? What am I hiding from? Why am I afraid? I am brave when I face difficult situations with courage. What can I do to overcome?



A Single Word is Affirming


Instead of lists abounding in failure, an actionable word helps you define your options and choose how to respond in each circumstance. It helps you recognize areas that need improvement.


It simplifies decision-making. Just as a compass, your word points you in the right direction.

And when you realize you missed the mark, instead of thinking you failed, how about using those times as teachable moments? Talk to yourself as kindly as you would your best friend.


Encourage yourself to recognize how you could have responded differently.


Considering your options helps you make a healthier decision next time you are in a similar situation. Then practice. Don’t expect perfection. Progress is the goal.


What word will you choose this year?

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