Relationships

What’s Your Word for 2021?

It’s a new year, which means lots of talk about fresh beginnings and just as many targeted ads for self-improvement products. But for me, it means just one thing…

A New Year’s word.

I have nothing against resolutions (or goals, or plans, or to-do lists), but for me, I’ve found the most impactful way to embrace a new year is to pick a word — just one word — to keep in mind. For example, instead of “Go to the gym more!” (which is rife with both the pressure to perform and the possibility of failure) you might choose the word “stronger,” a reminder of the quality you’d like to cultivate. Last January, my stressed-out, always-trying-to-bite-off-more-than-I-can-chew self picked the word “enough,” and it turned out to be more helpful than I ever could have predicted.

As 2020 came to an end, I kept thinking back to a Zora Neale Hurston quote I kept pinned above my desk in my twenties: “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer them.” It’s clear which type of year this last one was, with so many questions, broken open and still lingering. So this year, I’ve decided my word is “answer.”

One of my favorite aspects of picking a word is that it takes on multiple interpretations. In this case, it could mean writing an answer to something I’ve pondered, creating a resolution, doing something that gives me purpose, or just answering the phone and making a connection. For me, it’s an easy reminder to take whatever small steps I can to create action, find clarity, and feel better. For anyone similarly overwhelmed by resolutions and best-of lists (or just the world at large), I recommend the practice of a New Year’s Word. Plus, since it’s so simple, you can change it at any time.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? What would your 2021 word be?

P.S. An actually fun way to do New Year’s resolutions and wise words.

(Photo by Dave Waddell/Stocksy.)

  1. Annette says...

    My word is Challenge. With this word I Am Speaking Loudly to me that I AM CHALLENGING ME. I am challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and STRETCH! I am becoming more and more aware of how important it is “Write your Vision and Make it PLAIN”. I am Challenging myself toward becomeing the Highest Verstion of ME…..and I am realizing that it all stand with a plan and being clear on the plan. I challenge me to “Make that Plan” and Move! Move! Move! It will be LIFE CHANGING!

  2. Lucy says...

    Excellent idea! Last year I decided not to hesitate anymore to do anything. I love visiting fine art galleries and museums, but while living in the country I always hesitate to go to the city (80 miles) to see the new event. Me and my husband always plan it for the next or next or next .. weekend until it’s too late. And now in my country everything is closed for more than 10 months. When they open again I will keep my words and will NOT HESITATE.

  3. Annie says...

    I have never picked a word until this year, and it was before I had even read this post!
    My word came very easily to me while I was journaling: Gentle. I was exhaused at the idea of making a resolution because New Year’s always spikes my anxiety no matter what state I was in previously. When “gentle” flashed through my mind, I realized I didn’t need a long list of tasks I wished to complete. “Gentle” could be its own resolution, one that does not include fear of failure. All it requires is that I move forward with it in mind, and remember it when I am having a rough time.
    So many of the things I thought of setting resolutions for this year require gentleness: being a helpful and compassionate friend, being a better partner, caring for the earth, being less sharp in my reactions to people and situations, creating more positive pathways of thought in my own head and being compassionate with myself. I already feel so much more peaceful that I am not anxiously hoping to succeed in a list of resolutions.

  4. Abby says...

    These comments are the loveliest place on the internet. So much understanding, support and love.
    My word for 2021 is normalize.

    I spent so much time fighting against and hating everything about 2020. What if I just normalize the things I can control? Healthy eating, moving my body more, listening, contributing to healthy conversations…I think this could help my 2021 a healthier place for me to be.

  5. Shawn says...

    I decided to try an acronym this year combined with a mantra….Be REAL Respect Empower Accept Love. REAL for being my authentic self, Respecting others and myself, Empowering individuals who often don’t have a voice and feeling empowered in my own decisions, Accept the things and people I can’t control, Love (we all need more these days)

  6. Sam H. says...

    My word for 2021 is RESPECT.

    As in… respecting myself.
    Respecting my family & their opinions, my friends & their opinions.
    Respecting all of the strangers I cross paths with in a week. The grocery store clerk, the neighbor cleaning their gutters, the mail person, etc.

    We all deserve a little respect, yeah? Why not give more.

  7. Kaitlin says...

    My word this year is Curious. I’ve found myself immediately raising hackles, wanting to keep things status quo thanks to COVID and Quarantine, being overly quiet and introspective. I want to retrain myself to be curious this year.

  8. Erinsuzanne Parker says...

    the word of the year is also my favorite new year’s tradition. I keep my words in a binder (along with a list of things I want to do in that year, eg 21 for ’21). I
    2020 was stretch because I wanted to literally stretch more often as I turned 40 but I also wanted to stretch in my career, hobbies, relationships, financial goals, fitness goals, etc.

    2021’s word is cultivate- based on my literal desire to focus on my gardens (one stretch goal of 2020 was purchasing a house with some land) but also to cultivate relationships, a yoga practice, a writing habit, etc. I love reading and listening to word-of-the-year posts and podcasts and seeing how other people use their word.

  9. Dorothy says...

    Strangely enough, my word for 2020 was rest… i can’t believe a pandemic cancelled all plans and forced me to be still. If rest hadn’t been my word I wouldn’t have actively be considering how to rest my mind, spirit and body during such precious times.

    The word for 2021 is contentment.

  10. Amber J says...

    Yes, I love this! I’ve been doing this the past few years. I also love the various meanings the word takes on throughout the year.

    This year my word is Light. I see it in two forms, as far as I see it now — Light instead of darkness and Light instead of heaviness. My soul needs both types.

  11. K says...

    I’m posting a bit late, but I’ve done the more/less list for the past couple years, so I had to really think on this. My word is accountability. I was thinking about how I want this more out of people in politics and so I decided, it only makes sense for me to look introspectively on my accountability. Already thinking about this, I’ve found places I can be better. I should have been better. This is the commitment I will have to myself this year.

  12. Monica B. says...

    Reverence.
    It’s all I think about in wake of this twisted fury.

  13. Katie says...

    I love this! I used to summarize my resolutions as “be more glamorous.” It seemed to encompass everything from wearing more put-together outfits to eating better (are Doritos crumbs on the couch glamorous?) to getting in better shape (huffing and puffing up the stairs is not glamorous) to adding a certain Auntie Mame-style joie de vivre to life.

  14. ellie says...

    The word for this year is ACTION, on a personal level. Any kind of movement forward even if it’s falling forward. It’s about exploring the recognition that instead of seeking comfort I need to be embracing the discomfort that supports growth and adaptation.

    • Taylor says...

      I love this, thank you for putting it in words!

  15. Missy says...

    I love this and have done it for the past few years. Using one word somehow manages to create more clarity and is flexible enough to apply in many areas of life. Last year was Focus and the pandemic really helped with that (silver lining… I guess?) Not being able to go anywhere or do anything helped drive my work life. This year is Fit… after 2 kids in 2 years, working full time and all that was 2020 I’m aiming to spend some time on myself exercising and eating better.

  16. Noelle says...

    I love that Zora Neale Hurston quote, and I think I might join you in choosing the word “answer” – last year made me question what I was doing with my life, and this year I’m attempting to answer that by applying to graduate school and moving towards a (long overdue) career change.

  17. Rose says...

    My 2021 word of the year would have to be appreciation. I have so much to be appreciative for. Things like good leadership in my community, warm and comfortable housing, food, my job, healthy kids, my own health, loving and able parents, awesome siblings, books…the list can go on and on. I know how hard people around the world have been struggling through these challenging times and I appreciate that I’ve been fortunate.

  18. K says...

    I chose my word by screenshot ting the the video that @morganharpernichols made on her instagram. And I got “Root; the part of the a plant that attaches it to the ground or to a support, typically underground, covering water and nourishment to the rest of the plant via numerous branches and fibres. ”
    It felt so right.

    When I moved 15,000km away from home I gave my mom a picture that said “There are two things we should give our children, one is roots and the other is wings.” and it has come full circle. As a new pandemic mom, I want so badly to return to my roots… to introduce my son to his family.
    Until that is possible, I will focus on roots as things that nourish me.

    And… I live in Australia where Root is a slang word for sex. So maybe we’ll just go for it and try to get pregnant again ;)

  19. Robyn says...

    Equanimity

  20. Laurel says...

    Curious.

    Did anyone watch Ted Lasso? I love the bit in the pub when he’s playing darts and quotes Walt Whitman: “be curious, not judgemental.” This year, I want to approach everything with curiousity. Ask more questions, listen with interest and hopefully come out of this year a bit wiser.

    • Emily says...

      Ted Lasso was such a delight! Strongly recommend.

  21. Lark says...

    Every year my 3 kids and I meet up with another family the day after Christmas in Carmel, Ca. We drive up from Southern California and they fly out from D.C. This year we weren’t able to meet, but decided to keep our annual word tradition going. We have had many different words over the years, but this year we decided to expand it to 3 words: Hope, Unity, Compassion. After 2020, and especially after yesterday, I hope we can live with these words guiding us through 2021.

  22. Elizabeth says...

    Dragonfly! Dragonflies represent hope, change, love, and new beginnings. I am doing Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project this year so I felt like this was a good word to encapsulate all of the discovery and hope I want to embody this year. Also, despite having never thought I would ever get a tattoo, I sort of like the idea of getting a small dragonfly tattoo at the end of this year! But if I totally chicken out, that’s cool too. :)

  23. July says...

    My word is CHOOSE – I also do this every year.
    2020 was a year of “suck it up” vibes and many “we have no choice” situations. I am at peace with that and yet, I want to change the narrative this year by choosing my reactions, actions, and being very intentional on every aspect of my life. It feels liberating even during the circumstances of the pandemic.

  24. Elli says...

    Generosity. Being generous to myself, but also generous to those around me – generous in my love, generous in my interpretation of their motives, generous in making room for their needs.
    And I hope that as I am more generous, so will this generosity flow out into the world.

    • MB says...

      Oh that’s lovely, thank you for that!

  25. Claudia Baskerville says...

    My word is BOUNDARIES. Setting them, breaking them…

  26. I love this! Your blog never seizes to amaze me. Thank you for what you do. Happy new year! :)

  27. Julie says...

    Flexible.
    Both in a physical I need to do a bit more stretching and try some yoga as I can feel my body stiffening, and in being more open to other ideas at work and socially.

  28. Lisa says...

    My word is continued from the covid-time-homeschool-mom role I began in August… it is “permission”. Permission to change my mind or get a do-over. Permission to eat popcorn during school almost every day. Permission.
    And I’m so glad for your word “answer” as I, too, have wrestled with this quote about years that question and answer in 2020. I do feel 2020/2021 is answering. It’s been a crucible of truth. And with every painful searing question asked, truth answers.

  29. Daniela says...

    Calm. ❤️

  30. Isabella says...

    A few weeks ago I chose “gentleness” as my word for 2021. 2020 was anything but — several major illnesses, a cancer scare, surgery, the pandemic, three wildfire evacuations, an entire month of not being able to go outdoors due to the smoke, and the breakup of my family and heartache of splitting custody of my only child, all set against the backdrop of the social, political, and environmental pain of the past year. I definitely do NOT feel like this new year is a time to set new challenges for myself; instead, I’m committing myself to cultivating and nurturing gentleness in all facets of my life and for my son.

    • Sara says...

      Oh my word what a year!! Sending love and (gentle) light to you and your son, Isabella. I think you picked a beautiful word.

  31. Terri Lesnick says...

    Compassion is my word for 2021. We all need more of it and I plan on showing more of it this year! Happy New Year to you and yours!

  32. Bich Goodman says...

    Write. Write comments, write letters, write emails and interact with people with written words. Hah!

  33. KT says...

    This is new for me but I choose the word: Confident!
    I have the ability to believe in everyone else but myself and to let other’s speak anyway they want to me without correcting them for fear that they may become upset. This has been happening on my job with my boss and to say my stress level is through the roof is an understatement.
    No more! I’m gonna be confident in my abilities to try new things, confident in myself and confident to abruptly stop those who do not offer me the same respect I offer to them.

    • MB says...

      For what it’s worth, I found the book The Confidence Gap, by Russ Harris, to be quite helpful.

  34. Lil says...

    My word this year is SLOW. I think I’ve been circling around this word for years, but it feels right to focus on this year. I just realized how fast-paced everything is – social media, news cycles, etc. – and it’s conditioned me to always need to be stimulated (ie: watching something on my phone while I brush my teeth). So this year, I plan to SLOW down, adapt a slower pace. Some ideas: journaling more, getting outside to enjoy nature, taking notes on the things I read & listen to. I also deleted Instagram off my phone, and it’s so crazy how great it feels and how much I don’t miss it (today was the first day I ventured into looking at it again on my computer & could immediately notice how anxious it made me feel). I’m hoping it’ll make me more present and more patient and more intentional about my time and attention, spending them on the things that are truly the most important.

  35. Kit says...

    My word is “listening”
    listening for next steps – where to live, work, serve
    listening to my children and husband – truly savoring them, taking them as they are
    listening to music – discovering new music that feeds my soul
    listening to books (I wish I had more time to read but I love audible)
    listening to my body (movement, food)
    listening for God

    • ashleighjean says...

      I really like this. I’ve been trying to find a gentle word that speaks to all the facets of my life that feel yucky, which is so so many this year. I have been circling around the word “honor”, but listening is such an honoring act. Maybe that’s the one.

    • This is mine too!

    • Shannon says...

      Love your comment, Kit! Such a wonderful intention, one that includes being truly present and engaged. Count me in!

  36. annie says...

    my word, or three words, are “fuck the fear.” i heard this on sex education (the plumber who dates otis’s mom!), and i have thought of it many, many times since. i’ve been afraid a lot in the last few years, to change jobs, to risk striking out, to try new things, to do things on my own. i wasn’t always like this, and i am going to work to take courage in 2021, so i can live up to the life i’ve dreamed of. happy new year!

    • KT says...

      AMEN Annie! Love it…

  37. rosa says...

    My word this year: patience

    • Kari T. says...

      Me too! Patience and Self Control.

  38. Mine this year is REFINED. It’s my first year choosing a word, and I’m already really enjoying the experience of using the word as a filter for how I interact with the world.

  39. E says...

    Last year, I kid you not, I chose “stamina”. After living through two miscarriages, a near death experience, and a global pandemic, this year I’m going with “success”! It’s up to interpretation but it’s gotta be positive, right??

    • Vittoria says...

      Wow, what a prescient word for 2020 and love your choice for 2021 – wishing you many positive successes!!

  40. ONE!
    In Twenty Twenty One I must take…..
    1 day at a time
    1 task at a time!
    1 thought at a time!!
    1 feeling at a time (well try!)
    1 moment to breathe
    1 moment to think before I speak!!!
    1 person at a time
    These are all No. One on my list for me to achieve for a sane life!!

    • Kit says...

      ooooo this is so good! ODAT!

  41. Denise says...

    My word is Thriving. Last October two close friends and I completed a sober October together (because, Covid), and read and worked through the book 30 Day Sobriety. It urges you to “thrive in sobriety”. When we finished, I bought us all MyIntent bracelets with the word Thriving. We still talk via Messenger every day and help each other with everything. It’s been a saving grace for me. So I look forward to Thriving in 2021! (I started in 2018 and my words have been: Heal, Growth and Wisdom).

    • Joy says...

      I like this. Sending you positive vibes

  42. Brandy says...

    “Intentional”. More mindfulness, less auto-pilot. Reinforcing those good habits, letting go of those less-good ones.

  43. Sophia F. says...

    I do this exercise too – pick a word or phrase for myself instead of a resolution. This year’s word is PROGRESS – as a recovering perfectionist, it’s too easy for me to think I’ve failed at something if I haven’t reached a perfect, complete end state. 2020 taught me that that mindset is a one way ticket to failure, because I accomplished exactly none of what I wanted, but reframing my ambitions as making progress on things that matter to me allowed me to see that I actually did a lot that mattered to me and of which I was proud. Accordingly, I’m trying to carry that mindset into another unpredictable, up-in-the-air year.

  44. Marisa V. says...

    Deliberate. I’m hoping it will help me to build self-confidence as a new mom.

  45. Michelle says...

    Winning!
    I will have favor in all things that are meant for me.

  46. Janice says...

    My word is WARRIOR. I am in my second year of fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Hardest thing i have done in my life.

    • Megan says...

      Rooting for you, Janice!!!

    • Brandy says...

      I believe in you Janice, way to go.

    • Azlin says...

      Keep fighting Janice!

    • Yes Janice…You got this!!!!

    • Shannon says...

      Sending love, Janice!

  47. Joy says...

    My word/phrase for 2021 is:

    ME FIRST!

    I know that sounds narcissistic. But ever since becoming a mother 5 years ago, I’ve neglected myself in so many ways and my whole family suffers when I try to be supermom on an empty tank. I have such a strong sense of responsibility and wanting to do things “right” that my responsibility to myself goes to the bottom of the list. To complicate matters, I’m an introvert, and a highly sensitive, contemplative type of person…so I need real chunks of quiet alone time to center myself and not start spinning out. But working full-time and parenting leaves little room for that…

    Quarantine back in March showed me how bad things have really gotten with my boundaries with my family and honoring my own needs, even if they are inconvenient. I’ve seen how transformative even 10 minutes alone in my room doing a meditation can be, but even just last night I was feeling frayed and in need of that 10 minutes but I felt that I needed to finish all my “chores” first…snapping at my family all the while! That’s why I need such an obvious word like “ME FIRST” because it will help me just put down the vaccuum or the dog’s leash or whatever task I feel is more important than my mental health, and go into my room and shut the door to bring myself back from the brink.

    • Joy, grap that ‘me’ time!!! Chore’s can wait…or even be ignored! Make 2021 for You!!!! Like you say you will be a better to deal with!!! Put yourself first, life is to short…..

    • Oh lol! GRAB the moment I meant….but could also be dont take no CRAP from anyone!!!

    • Alana says...

      Ooooo, can I suggest looking up @DomesticBlisters on Tikok – yes tiktok the kids app but she is brilliant at non judgemental caring for your space to make it serve you and no the other way round. Life changing!

    • MB says...

      I feel you, Joy. It’s so so easy to put yourself last, even though we know the damage. Parental burnout is such a danger, and although the solution seems easy it’s hard to make it happen. I’m also trying to be more intentional this year about making sure my needs are met and I’m looked after, as I know the end result will be better for my family as well.

    • Emily says...

      I love this! I’ve chosen the child free life, but I was talking to my friend who’s the mother of two young girls and she was saying how she tells her girls that she needs some time to be Megan, not Mom, when she takes time for herself and it really resonated with me. Go take some time to be Joy :)

    • Elizabeth says...

      Alana, I love that you brought up DomesticBlisters on Tiktok! I’m not even a mom but her channel (?) is legitimately free therapy. I’m not kidding you when I say she’s changed my life on how I view care tasks. REST IS NOT OPTIONAL.

  48. Brooke says...

    I saw a silly thing on Facebook where you look at this word-search style letter grid and the first 3 words that pop out at you are your words for 2021. I just sort of paused and did it, thinking it was so cheesy, but I liked the words and jotted them down. Since then, I’ve been thinking of ways to let them inspire me this year … here are my words and couple of examples:
    Power: I have more power than I realize and I can do hard things. I have fitness goals that I feel like I’m constantly failing at, so this morning I was reflecting on how I can focus on the power I have to change. I tend to have imposter syndrome at times about my work accomplishments, and I want to work through that this year.
    Create: More self-care maker projects (knitting, already did a weaving kit, etc.); come up with new processes at work to make my team function better; create new traditions with my family and friends now that we’ve learned how much we took seeing each other for granted.
    Alignment: Are my actions and habits in line with my purpose and goals? What can I do to change them? Are the products I buy and companies I support in alignment with my values?

  49. J says...

    I have a very complicated codependent relationship with a family member that started to unravel last year, partially due to covid. Though my heart is breaking with this seismic change, my word for 2021 is BOUNDARIES to remind myself I must not only make them but honor them.

    • Joy says...

      Sending you love, J. Breaking free from codependent relationships is so hard and messy. I walked through that about 10 years ago with my dad (although it was a process until the day he died), and my husband started with his mom a few years ago. Boundaries are absolutely worth it, though. Cheering you on!

  50. My word for 2021 is Clarity. My word for 2020 was Replenish, and the pandemic served as a bittersweet blessing that help me recover from some chronic health challenges. Now that I’ve regained some energy, I’m excited to explore my curiosity and re-spark my creativity, with the ultimate objective of gaining clarity on what’s next for me. With all the heaviness in the world, I felt it was important to prioritize intentional fun.

  51. Cheryl says...

    Surrender.
    Meaning:
    Not fighting with reality, being fearful and struggling against challenges, but being completely open and quiet to the lessons I am to learn. Not reacting, but responding.
    It’s not giving up, it’s having more mental freedom to move toward better decisions. It’s also reassuring that all will be well because it’s not over yet!

    • whoa……. Cheryl! That’s exactly me, too!!!!!!!! I reads your post and said”wait…did I write this?” Surrender is seemingly so passive, however when we stop fighting and moving and all the noise, we really do surrender to what is right before us!!!! Awesome!!!! Whoever you are, Cheryl, I like you!

    • MariaE. says...

      Thank you so much Cheryl!! Your word and the meaning you give to it are powerful and just what I needed to read today, and your ending words ”It’s also reassuring that all will be well because it’s not over yet!” are what will help me go through sad, hard and challenging times.

  52. Amanda says...

    I usually do phrases, not words. Mine for this year is “walk on” for a few reasons:
    – the U2 song of the same name
    – the line from this song from the musical Carousel: “Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone.”
    – I made a resolution to go for a walk every day, unless sick or otherwise physically unable to, so it’s a reminder to keep that up!
    – there’s a verse in the Bible that talks about walking in the light, meaning that we live with all of ourselves out in the open instead of trying to hide our faults and the ways we hurt ourselves and other people. We take ownership of those things and hold them out for other people to see so they can keep us accountable, but also so we can receive forgiveness and grace for them. (This is all we mean when we talk about confessing our sins, I think.) So as I walk on, I want to walk in the light and not hide myself in the shadows.

    • Megan says...

      LOVE this, Amanda!

  53. Carolyn says...

    Gumption. I love its meaning and old-time charm.
    noun informal: shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness.
    “she had the gumption to put her foot down and head Dan off from those crazy schemes”

    • Dragana says...

      Like in the movie Holiday!

  54. Rusty says...

    In a few months time I’ll be free of a very toxic, many decades long relationship. So, I’ve 3thinking alot about freedom.
    Then I realised that was actually last year’s word, as I drew myself through the resolution and process of actually ending it and all the hurt, chaos and torment that ensued.
    So, my word came to me a few weeks ago.
    It is: OPEN.
    I am open to new possibilities, people, projects, places, trips (pretty lucky with Covid in Australia), reconnection, the openness is limitless!
    Ooooh, yeeeeeah!

    • SO glad you got your freedom!!! YES, Open up yourself to the world!!!

    • KT says...

      Rusty, I love this.

    • Kerry says...

      That is really great — happy for your openness.

  55. AG says...

    What a neat idea! I choose “slow.” I always try to go to fast and end up tripping- literally and figuratively🤣

    I’m hoping this word will help cultivate patience, introspection, and greater success in my life.

    • Laura says...

      My word too!

    • Yip, that is just SO me too. Always!!

  56. Catherine Hernandez says...

    My word for this year is ‘gentle’. My father in law passed away suddenly at the end of 2020, which threw yet another grey cloud in an already stormy sky of a year. I’m expecting our second child in May and I struggled with PPD/PPA last time, so I’m feeling a bit anxious. My goal for this year is to be gentle with myself, my mind and my quickly growing body, gentle with my toddler, gentle with my husband… gentle with my expectations. All the things.

    • Chrissy says...

      Catherine- I could have written this myself. My FIL passed away in 2020, I have a toddler and am expecting a baby in March, and I also suffered from PPD last birth. It is interesting and inspiring to read comments from individuals who have had recent, similar life experiences as you. My word for this year is “enjoy” but I am taking a page from your book and going to try and be more gentle this year, in all aspects of life.

      Thanks for the inspiration and best of luck to you this upcoming year!

  57. janine says...

    I am going to go with “Joy” for many reasons. Finding joy in little things even during challenging times. Joy that things are looking up. Joy in looking forward to the future.

  58. Chelsi L Rodriguez says...

    Relax.

    I can be a *major* perfectionist when it comes to organization, cleaning, measuring things exactly the right way when cooking, vacuuming my dog’s hair up every single day, stressing if I don’t go to sleep early enough, do my skin routine before bed etc. etc.

    So I chose “relax” because life is hard enough (especially now) as is. I say to myself often, “relax,” and it really does make me feel better! I find little ways to find relaxation throughout the day and I document it with a photo. I post them on Instagram, but I mainly post them for myself to look back on. Even if it’s just a bowl of Campbells soup and toast. Relaxing is so important!

    • Chrissy says...

      I love your comment and can relate to the vacuuming obsession, especially when it comes to pet hair. I purchased a Roomba (robot vacuum) last year and it has literally changed my life. I know that sounds silly but I kid you not I vacuumed everyday and while I still pull out my normal vacuum sometimes, the Roomba has been a total game changer for me. Just wanted to put that out there in case it helps!

  59. Tammy says...

    I chose a word for our family – Practise. Trying to encourage growth mindsets in all of us and take the focus away from achievement. We’re all still learning how to do things, from becoming a more fluent reader (my littlest love) to learning algebra (my little love) to trying to become more active (my big love) to writing a novel (me). Practise makes progress.

  60. Emma says...

    One word came to mind recently for me, Acceptance, that tells me that we are all different and yet the same in many ways. Acceptance of others and ourselves will bring a driving force to change the world for the better.

  61. Liz says...

    As usual, absolutely love your writing and reflections, Caroline.

    What an incredible way to approach a new year. After giving it some thought and thinking back to my biggest challenges in 2020, I think my word is going to be TRUST. Trust the process and messiness of life. Trust that everything is going to be ok (even if not as planned or expected). Trust in the goodness of others. Trust in the strength, courage and resilience of yourself. <3

  62. Anna says...

    Having been diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age this past fall and JUST finished chemo therapy in the beginning of the new year, I think I want my word for the year to be “heal”.

    • Lauren says...

      Sending healing thoughts your way!

    • Joy says...

      Anna, Sending you healing wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

  63. Klara says...

    Self.

    I was pregnant, gave birth and was breastfeeding and rocking a baby to sleep throughout 2020. My body especially has not been my own. An emergency C-section was a severe hiccup in that regard.

    This year I want to have more time for myself again, and finding out who this new ‘self’ is with a baby. I’m especially aiming to reclaiming my body: run, swim, yoga again. Thinking of buying a trampoline :o)

  64. Kimberley says...

    Curious.

    I am about to be a mama for the first time and channeling all the good energy I can to be the best mum possible. Reminding myself in advance to always be curious about behaviour/changes/difficult times as opposed to letting them all overwhelm me. x

  65. Anna says...

    I did this the last two years and found that, in contrast to a resolution, I actually thought about my word and was inspired by it the whole year. This year I chose “EXPAND” which is about overcoming that urge I often have to contract into fear, isolation, worry, and black and white thinking. This year I want to choose spaciousness, reaching out, bravery, and nuance.

  66. Thais says...

    Caroline, I just loved your Instagram post on 1 January 2020 and found it so helpful that I did a screenshot and kept coming back to it every time I felt overwhelmed with big questions about my career, my life, and ‘what’s next’. I feel that I have been raised and educated to always want more, go further in my career, have a bigger salary, etc. And being in a job with no évolution possible for the past years has been very frustrating, even though I love this job! Your beautiful text helped me so incredibly much, you have no idea! So, for this, thank you.

    • Julie Wheeler says...

      what was the post?? looks like it must have been a story as it’s not in her feed.

  67. Vanshness says...

    Yay! I’ve been naming my year for the past… 20 years…. and this year it’s Year of the Lotus. My focus is on seeing beauty in alllllll the small things, and curating tiny beautiful moments everywhere to lift my spirits and inspire tranquility. With this in mind, I’ve asked my kids to start setting the table in a slightly more special way involving colored woven placemats and lighting candles. I looooooove the candles during dinner. Why did I wait so long. And oh…. the lotus grows in mud and what a mud year 2020 was. The future is bright is beautiful.

  68. Kamina says...

    My word is DOG.
    Because
    1. Dogs only have four modes: sleep, play, eat, and jobs. (This is what I call the intense, self-important focus of a dog in work mode – whether digging a hole or helping a human cross the street.)
    2. Whichever mode they are in, dogs are totally focused on that mode. Dogs don’t multitask.
    3. Dogs are happy in all modes. Even jobs. Dogs love jobs.
    I tend to be sulky, distracted and discontent and I want to try to be more dog in 2021.

    • Paige says...

      Kamina – this is one of the best things I have read in a long time. It just made me smile so much, and it’s all so true. My two big dog babies are constant reminders to me to be joyful in the every day moments. Thank you for writing this! I hope you are the best dog you can be in 2021! Hugs!

    • This made me smile so much too. My husband and I are planning to get our first rescue pup this year and I cannot wait to learn from him/her about the simple joys of being a dog.

    • Sarz says...

      That’s lovely, Kamina. My mentally ill mother just lost her dog – her very best friend – two days ago. Once the fog has lifted a little bit, I’ll screenshot your words, and show them to her. I think they will help her focus on the good memories, rather than the grief. Thank you.

  69. Jenny says...

    I do this too:) My word in 2020 was Resilience. and, oh how!! For 2021, I wanted to have something powerful so I chose Passion.

  70. Eileen T says...

    I chose cultivate
    Cultivate relationships
    Cultivate quiet
    Cultivate well-being
    The word seems to surround a lot of my intentions this year

    • Shannon says...

      I love this! It also gives permission to spend a lot of time in the garden this spring, something I’m really looking forward to doing!

  71. Eileen says...

    I chose cultivate…
    Cultivate relationships
    Cultivate quiet
    Cultivate well-being
    It surrounded a lot of my intentions for the year

  72. Abbey says...

    Create!
    … possibilities, opportunities, solutions, solitude, rest, connection, adventure, kindness, energy, a song, a novel, a home, etc etc etc.
    This word is full of empowerment for me. I feel best when I’m creating. I feel best when I’m aware. So I’ll continue to be aware of what I create, with a sense of pride and appreciation and empowerment. Riding the tides of love and inspiration all along the way.

  73. I just blogged about this earlier this evening, actually, to post about it over the weekend!
    I usually don’t do resolutions or words, but last year and this year, a word and idea just seems to make sense for me to mentally bookmark as I make my way through the year. Last year, I looked up from a cup of coffee and decided that it’d be a year of connection for me, and looking back, it absolutely was. I met some of the best people I’ve ever known and deepened my relationships with people I respect and admire immensely. Today, while listening to a podcast, I suddenly realized that I need to expand. Broaden my horizons, diversify my talents, open my mind to options that I might’ve been less receptive of, whet my palette to possibilities and potential that might still be un-tapped.

  74. Stephanie says...

    My word for 2021 is MOVE. As Caroline said, I love how words of the year can be interpreted and acted upon in different ways. MOVE has three primary meanings/reminders for me. The first is most literal: we are closing on a house and moving to a new area in March, and there’s a lot of planning, packing, anticipation, anxiety, excitement, etc. wrapped up into that. Next, I was more sedentary than I want to be in 2020–mainly due to lack of commuting, gym closing, etc.–but I simply want to move my body more, without any strict goal. Finally, I am prone to procrastination and overthinking decisions, so this is a reminder to move forward with taking the next step, since I know from experience that everything is easier once I’ve simply started.

  75. Debbie P. says...

    My word is resilience. The last 30 months for me have included the revelation of my husband’s affair, my subsequent depression and illnesses, the end of a 36-year marriage, being hit by a drunk driver, undergoing spinal fusion surgery during a pandemic, not seeing my children for over a year (and counting) and the heartache of experiencing birthday and Christmas alone. And yet, I remain hopeful. And thankful. And choose to be resilient.

    • Rusty says...

      Debbie…. yikes!
      Sending you a big hug from Australia. x

    • MB says...

      Oh goodness, what a wild ride. I’m sorry it’s all been so hard. I hope you find some peace this year!

    • Sarz says...

      I admire your attitude very much. You are deserving of great things, Debbie!

    • KT says...

      Debbie, may this be the year of FAVOR for you!

    • Yvonne says...

      Sending you a big hug and love from Canada ! I admire your resilience.

    • Vittoria says...

      Debbie – wow! This was a rough year for you:( May 2021 be the year of YOU as you bounce back even better than before. You are strong. You are resilient. You got this! We are all sending so much energy your way!!

  76. Alison says...

    Engage!
    Engage my core when I work out, engage at work, engage in convos with my family, even engage in binge-worthy tv shows :-D

    • Alison says...

      And now engage doesn’t look like a word anymore haha!

    • Yip, that is just SO me too. Always!!

    • Its ‘Be in only that moment at that time’ in one word Engage….guessed Focused could also…..???

  77. Elle says...

    Dare.
    Every new thing I’ve tried, every new person I’ve connected with, every little or big change I made last year turned out to be either a positive experience or not as bad as I expected. It’s time to make bigger calculated risks, including buying a house in the country. I’m over 60 — what am I waiting for?

  78. Jenica says...

    Discipline.

    Discipline is freedom. It applies to both the daily habits of caring for myself, but beyond that too. It takes discipline to be yourself, and that is my focus this year.

  79. Jen says...

    PIVOT!

    • Nicole Brooke says...

      This made me LOL

  80. Cathy says...

    My word is gracious. After experiencing and enduring 2020, I am embracing 2021 with grace.

    • Libby says...

      i was thinking about what my word would be, and i realize i kept thanking everyone else around me for being so gracious with me when i make a mistake. and thanks your post, i realized that’s my word too. :)

  81. Jss says...

    My word is gentle, and my family’s word for the year is peace