One Word for 2014

So Christmas is over, and we’re fast heading towards the New Year, with its cremant and fireworks and resolutions… Yes, New Year’s Resolutions. I could almost hear the collective sigh go up as I wrote that. Each year we make determined (perhaps) commitments to eat better, exercise more, spend more time with the family, be less grumpy, get ahead at work, volunteer more.

The list can get longer and longer until we wonder if there’s actually anything we like about ourselves, and how on earth will we keep all these resolutions? We’re pretty much doomed to failure from the start.

And so I have an alternative for you: One Word.

This is a practise I started two years ago when I overheard a Twitter conversation about it. The basic idea is that instead of making a long list of goals and resolutions, you simply pick one word – one word that you want to be your guide through the coming year, one word that you hope will shape your attitude and your behaviour in the way you want, one word that will encourage you to stay on the path you’ve chosen.

One Word has become a whole movement. Thousands of people giving up fruitless resolutions to do something that can really have a profound impact on your year. It takes some intentionality, but it can really be life-changing.

Illustration credit:

Illustration credit:

Two years ago I had just moved to Luxembourg for my husband’s work. I had no job, no friends, few language skills, and no idea what to do with myself. I chose BRAVE as my One Word for the year, and it had a huge impact on my year. I integrated faster than I might have because I was being brave to go to events where I knew no one, being brave to say yes to opportunities that might have sounded way out of my comfort zone. I learnt that no one feels brave in the moment, but that courage can bring you a long way. And when I suffered a miscarriage that summer, I walked through that season learning that courage is simply putting one foot in front of the other and believing you will come through this.

Pick One Word this New Year. One Word that can shape you and challenge you and encourage you as you step into 2014. On the OneWord365 website, Alece Ronzino writes: “Your word can be anything you want. All that matters is that it has personal meaning for you. It can be something tangible or intangible. It can be a thought, a feeling, an action, a character trait. Your word will stand as a reminder, a nudge. Something you can reflect on, that will challenge you, inspire you. A touchstone you can return to time and time again to help you stay the course this year.”

So how about it? What will your One Word be for 2014?


By Fiona Lynne Kofoed-Jespersen, December 2013

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