Nix the New Year’s Resolutions. Just Pick One Word.

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It’s no secret that although nearly two-thirds of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, most are unable to keep them for the whole year. According to U.S. News, approximately 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February.

As the world prepares for the much-anticipated dropping of the ball in Times Square, consider nixing the lengthy list of resolutions and instead pare it all down to One Word.

Yes, just one single word.

Being succinct with words is a handy skill to possess. From creating an elevator pitch for your business to crafting a tweet, keeping it short and sweet is a necessary part of life. But taking that one step further and summing up intentions and dreams for the upcoming year into one single word can be a very daunting task.

Think of it this way. Instead of creating a lengthy list of resolutions that will likely fall by the wayside in 60 days or less, use a single word that acts as a navigational beacon for your goal-setting process for the coming year. Once chosen, this One Word creates a snowball effect that encourages implementation, reveals passions, enhances clarity and assists in life-changing decisions.

What is the One Word Movement?
The exact date of the creation of the One Word movement is unclear, but the act of selecting a single word as a replacement for resolutions has become increasingly common over the last few years. Many inspirational websites for this choice have grown in popularity and choosing One Word activities and suggestions are abundant on Pinterest.

Why Is It Important?
At its core, the premise of the One Word movement is this: picking a simple word creates clarity, power, passion and life change. “The simple power of One Word is that it impacts all six dimensions of your life—mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual and financial. Simply put, One Word sticks. There is a word meant for you and when you find it, live it and share it; your life will become more rewarding and exciting than ever,” is the explanation of its power on the One Word movement’s website.

Those who find themselves drawing a blank when trying to choose a single word that sums up their desired direction often discover the word they seek when planning their path in the New Year. This pivotal word can be a reminder of what needs improvement (patience, gratitude, abundance, simplicity), or a word that ignites motivation or confidence (fierce, warrior, uplift, soar). The premise of choosing One Word is to make that single word the guiding light and reminder of focused changed for the months to come.

Things to Remember
It’s okay to make it personal and private. Taking the time to select a word that acts as your guiding light for the year is a very personal process. Participants are not expected to share their One Word with the world. Many people choose a word that means something to them, and only them, and sharing it would be complicated. There’s a difference between being secretive and being private; feel free to be private when settling on your One Word.

Your word can be simple or complex. There are no hard and fast rules when choosing a word. People have chosen simple words such as “gentle” or “love” for their word or more complex ones such as “wellspring” or “synergy.” Selecting meaningful words in other languages is popular practice as well. All that matters is that the word you choose speaks to you.

Your word is not engraved in stone. People evolve, grow and change as the months pass and what might have been a strong and inspiring word in January may not apply to where you are in life in June. It is perfectly okay to ditch a word that you’ve outgrown and pick a new one that serves you better for the rest of the year. Our lives are always shifting and growing. Your One Word can flex with you so it remains the guiding force needed.

If you are among the 80 percent struggling with the concept of resolutions, yet you have a burning desire to be better in the New Year, choosing One Word as your guiding light may be just the ticket. But as you venture down this new path of self-improvement, keep in mind that making changes to routines and behaviors, good or bad, takes time. Now is the time to set yourself up for success in the coming year! ■

Sources:, and


Check Out These One Word Resources
There are many online resources that explain the power of One Word. Here are a few.
Inspirational books and a poster template are available at
Find online selection and sharing tools at
Guidelines and sample words can be found at