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. Marian says...

    Love so many of these! I opted for a color instead of a word :) CELADON, a sort of misty grey-green. It’s not about surrounding myself with the actual color, but channeling how the color makes me feel — calm, creative, natural, still, at ease. It somehow captured more feelings and words than one single noun or adjective!

    • isavoyage says...

      I love this Marian. And celadon is one of my most beloved colors :)

  2. melissa henderson says...

    worry less.

  3. Charity says...

    Welcome. Welcome change, welcome little people who interrupt, welcome life, welcome conversations with people who think differently, welcome weather. Eventually welcome people, back into my home! I worry about that part of who I am as an introvert. How to welcome people back and be open! I want that for my family and community so Welcome!

    • Abbey says...

      I love this :)

    • Julie says...

      I LOVE this.

  4. Kelly says...

    Peace.

    Last year was so difficult, for all the obvious reasons, and in the midst of it I also had a health shake-up and a miscarriage, quickly followed by a difficult pregnancy (which is starting to get a little better). What I want most for this year is to be at peace with my life, with my body, with the world. A few weeks ago I started Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and the daily practice of morning pages has been really wonderful for cultivating this — highly recommend.

    • Kate says...

      The Artist’s Way changed my life, truly. Enjoy it.

  5. A says...

    I love this idea, thank you Caroline. My word is going to be Presence. This year has been tough and I’ve spent much of it wishing I was somewhere else physically. This thinking has made it really difficult for me to appreciate the things holding me together right in front of me. At least for the start of this year, before perhaps this word morphs into another meaning, I hope it helps to secure my feet in the now and help me slow down enough to enjoy this particular air around me.

  6. lee says...

    I am going with AND….
    because what ever is happening is never just one thing…. and we are all more complex than one thing…. it leads to more questions and curiosity…. the story of our lives is limitless and I want to know more

    • Annie says...

      I like AND because it makes me think of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which teaches us that it’s ok to feel or think two different things at the same time. I can grieve and feel happiness, I can miss people and feel cozy and content, I can be upset and still get my work done. I’m a counselor, and we teach this to kids a lot.

    • Mary E. says...

      Love this. It’s actually a helpful tool I use in therapy – learning to reframe things that feel catastrophic with a more helpful, still true interpretation. Two things can be true.

  7. Light..

    …to see the light,
    to be a light.

    Darkness is inevitable, but if I can reframe my thoughts and choose to search for the light (in situations/people), I feel like it will only help me illuminate within.

  8. Emily says...

    My three words for 2021 are: Resilient (remember that I and the world are incredibly resilient), Claim (claim my needs and desires), and Trust (trust my experiences and perspectives).

  9. K says...

    Clear

  10. Andrea says...

    Love this group share.

    I did Morgan Harper Nichols’s Instagram story with the screen shot prompt and got “continuum,” which was right on. I tend to think things can and will either be perfect (which makes me so anxious by hoping against hope for everything to be literally perfect) – or catastrophic (which, for obvious reasons, also makes me incredibly anxious). I’ve reminded myself of this reality of life so many times these past 5 days: the vast majority of the time, nothing is perfect and everything ends up somewhere along that continuum of being just fine.
    xo

  11. AMK says...

    Jazzing. From Soul the Pixar movie. This is my year for jazzing.

    • Leslie-Anne says...

      I love this. Happy jazzing!

    • AMK says...

      Thank you! And also to you! 💕🌈

  12. Veronica says...

    My 2021 word is presence.

    • Eva says...

      love this. I was thinking of the world ‘intention’ but I think presence captures what I aim for as well. doing something with a purpose, being there in the moment, making things count. even if it’s chilling on the couch and watching mindless tv & scrolling on your phone– enjoying that moment of chill!

  13. Erin says...

    Love. As in the active verb, and in no way limited to the romantic. Nobody gets cancelled, nobody gets boycotted, nobody is dead to me, especially the ones I don’t understand or like or relate to. It means I will love them anyway, by listening. It means I will show my boundaries and where I have planted my flag and share what I find worth fighting for. It doesn’t mean they will listen, respect me, or value what I value. But I will choose to love this year. I think it’s our only way forward.

  14. My husband and I have a three word motto for 2021 –

    Kindness + Boundaries + Growth

    We are working on growing our businesses and also opting out of drama with other people, so these three words seem particularly apropos. :)

  15. J says...

    my focus this year is to “let go”. I hold onto things that upset me, people lying so they don’t have to have a hard conversation, work demands that are not achievable, driving myself crazy cleaning the house so my mother in law won’t criticize me for not being a good wife and then she does anyways. When I think of it I drive myself nuts trying to please other people, but they are going to find fault if they are looking for it no matter what I do so for now my mother in law can sit on the couch where the puppy threw up, my boss can have his expectations of me brought back to earth and feel disappointed at times and the people who don’t want to have the hard conversations can all live their lives how they want. I am letting go of them.

  16. Toni says...

    Mine is light! I am documenting my word in a scrapbook by participating in @aliedwards’ one little word.

  17. Mandy says...

    Fuss

    I got a tattoo of the Audrey Hepburn quote “so don’t fuss dear, get on with it” during med school, to help remind me to get out of my own head sometimes, but I think the message hasn’t gotten away from me the past few years. This year, I am hoping to reclaim it and not fuss over the small things, but to also remind myself to not be afraid to cause a fuss once in a while.

  18. Mel says...

    Breathe

    • Betty says...

      You read my mind…I was.going to say Breathe. :)

  19. Amy says...

    It would be “worth.” I’m trying to expand my life in the ways that truly bring me joy, while trying to cut out the activities/purchases/etc. that cause waste and stress. This year is going to be about the people and things that have genuine worth in my life.

    • Rachel says...

      I love this.

  20. Lucy says...

    My word for 2021 is faith. With so many unknowns still ahead of us, I put all my worries in God’s hands.

    • Emma says...

      I totally agree with you on that as I am now doing the same. And we certainly need lots of faith right now in our country.

  21. Catherine says...

    Does anyone else NOT feel introspective in January? I’ve always felt like the fall is the start of the new year, probably after years of being a student and then a teacher. I don’t really set goals or resolutions for myself, and January 1st feels like a regular day to me. Honestly, my big hope for this year, besides getting the vaccine for my family, is to have my kitchen cabinets professionally painted (if Covid rates are under control, of course). Asking genuinely.

    • Leigh says...

      Yes! I make a list of stuff I want to get done every year (one of the things for 2021: get window screens repaired), but for me September is the real start of a new year! It’s also when I begin a new planner…and yes, I’m a teacher!

    • Elizabeth says...

      I’m the same (and same reasons – years and years of school, and now I’m a professor). September feels to me like the time of fresh starts and new beginnings. By January I’m only midway through the school year, exhausted by Christmas, and not in a place to consider new endeavours. Also, my 2021 goals are identical to yours! Fingers crossed for the vaccine and our cupboards :)

    • Kaitlin says...

      I am constantly introspective. Every season comes with a chance to reflect: January (the calendar year), June (my birthday month), and September/October (new school year and Jewish New Year). I love the idea of seasonal reflections. Twelve months is too long to commit to a new beginning.

    • KC says...

      Yep! I can really feel the communal New Year Thing – everyone’s talking about it! – but it’s not my thing, and so it goes. (although I do have a few “resets” built into the year, which has been… healthy, we’ll say) For me, I think it’s a problem with the timing, because December is usually All The Things and Too Many People For This Introvert and I am Done and near hibernation (from introspection or deep dives, anyway) until well after January 10 or so. This year: less over-people-partying! But I’m still mush, so, no resolutions. I assume there are gobs of reasons to not feel that January 1 is The Big Deal, though.

    • Mary E. says...

      Yes, I’m with you!! My husband and I both work at universities & August always feels like my new year. Plus, I am chronically running behind, so I am never prepared to implement January resolutions. August comes with more warning. :)

    • Kiersten says...

      I feel you! I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. If the goal is self-improvement, one can vow to make changes and get started any time of the year, and it would be just as legit as if you’d done it in January. New Year’s Day itself feels a bit anti-climactic for me after all the bells and whistles that go along with Christmas, and as I’ve long since aged out of any desire to join throngs of people (pre-Covid) to watch fireworks in town at midnight on NYE, it’s basically just another day for me. Albeit with a lot of honking and loud explosions at midnight, lol.

  22. Rachel says...

    I love this. I’ve been picking words for the past 5 years and they have changed my life more than any goal ever has. This year my word is “ease” but my favorite word from years past is “silliness”. That was a great year.

  23. Graduate. I’m hoping this will be the year I finish my PhD. I am very, very ready to be done. I chose this word as a way to focus that this is my main objective for this year. When making decisions all I need to ask is which choice will get me closer to graduating and I will go that direction. I will focus majority of my energy towards graduating. The light at the end of the tunnel if finally in sight so I can make whatever sacrifices needed knowing that they are only temporary. I am so close.

    • Anna says...

      You got this! I finished in 2017 and those last few months were hard. But it’s so worth it and feels so good to be done! Good luck – I’m routing for you, even though I’m just an internet stranger.

  24. Holly says...

    I LOVE New Years resolutions. I figure even if I’m not 100% successful at least it pointed me in the right direction. However last January I was just about to have my third child and with two toddler boys already I was a nervous wreck thinking how would I possibly manage so my resolution was just “survive”! That turned out to be pretty spot on for crazy 2020. Now my baby is almost 1 and we are all ready to take on a bit more for 2021!

  25. Amy Treinen says...

    I did an entire week of journaling before the New Year. I was asked to come up with my word for 2021. I narrowed it down to two-
    Ease and Alignment
    I want to allow myself to live with more ease, more enjoyment, being more in the present. Ease.
    I want to ask regularly if my thoughts and actions are in alignment with how I want to feel (at ease.)

  26. Heidi says...

    Mine this year is “experiment.” I put so much fun stuff off for fear of doing it “wrong” or because I don’t know how to start. To say I’m going to experiment takes away the idea that it has to be perfect. Also, I’m totally ready if someone wants to experiment on me with one of the new vaccines. Just sayin’!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh mine is the same!!!

  27. Tracy says...

    My word is “expansive”. I’ve struggled with depression and was in an emotional tunnel of grief and sadness for several years. My word for 2020 was “bloom” and somehow it miraculously happened. I’m feeling so much more alive and ready to leave the tunnel and enjoy the great expanse! In every sense of the word, I’m ready to live a more expansive life.

    • Molly says...

      So happy for you!! I got out of the tunnel years ago, but just last night I was laying in bed and thinking of how genuinely happy I am now. Of course this year was hard, there were struggles, I get frustrated and upset, however, I’m not in the tunnel and overall I am happy. It is such a wonderful feeling and I love hearing when someone else finds the exit.

  28. Annelies says...

    Give

    I want to take less and give more, in a very broad sense.
    Thanks Caroline for giving this idea.

  29. EB says...

    Patience.

    We are still living in pandemic world and will be through much of 2021 at least. I started a new job that is slow to ramp up and making me anxious – but it’ll get there. I have been waiting on construction permits (going on 9 months now!) for a new house that will someday be built and larger than our 800sq.ft. one). At while I am being patient, I can be fortunate: for my health, for a job, for a home, for what I already have.

  30. JM says...

    Thrive

  31. Diana says...

    A good conversation with my dad at the end of 2020 illuminated my word for 2021 – Nurture. 2020 was a tough year full of health challenges for me and I am in need of some good nurturing this year.

  32. Sonya says...

    Possibilities.
    I started doing morning pages just yesterday and noticed I kept writing maybe over and over. As a massive planner (lol, no more thanks to covid), being open to possibilities is new for me and freeing too.

    • AMK says...

      Hello fellow morning page wrote! Morning pages here too..working on Week 3 of The Artist’s Way 💕🌈 what a fun journey it has been and will continue to be 💕🌈

  33. “Gratitude”. I have more than I need and I am surrounded by love. ♥️

    Thank you for this piece Caroline. It’s beautiful.

  34. Marlena says...

    Present.

    As someone with anxiety (and really any-body) I have a really hard time being present, and with 2020 being a year where so much time was spent thinking back to what the old normal was, and thinking forward to what the new normal would be (will be) I want to try harder to be present in the here and now. To take things one day at a time.

    • Lauren says...

      Marlena I’m with you! I also have a hard time being present, which I know is so crucial to being grounded in yourself and your life. I think my word would be “Now”. As in “be here now”, but also as in “there’s no better time than now”. There are many things that I push in to the future because I feel like it’s not the right time, or I’m not ready yet, and the pandemic has been a great reminder that tomorrow is not guaranteed.

    • Jenny by the sea says...

      Me three for Present, on three fronts: firstly, I want to slow down and stop multi-tasking, so that I can be truly present in the moment and give my attention to the person I am with, whether virtually or in person. I also want to think about how I present myself professionally, and how best I can develop that. And finally, I want to get my present giving mojo back: I used to pride myself on my ability to find the perfect gift, and wrap it beautifully and with everything that’s been going on in my life over the last two years (escaping a truly toxic job, starting a brilliant new role, then the pandemic hitting, and to cap off 2020, my Dad beloved died), I feel like I’ve just been phoning it in.

      Thank you, Caroline, for helping me to stop and think this through.

      Wishing all of the CoJ community brighter days ahead in 2021, I am so grateful for you all.

  35. Jillian L. says...

    Last year I was just about to have a baby so my focus was on taking care of him and of me so I chose the word “nurture.” This year as I’ve seen so many friends struggle and as I’ve had my own struggles, I’ve decided my word or mantra for 2021 is “lift.” To remember that with every action and choice I make I can help lift others around me.

    • Tracy says...

      lift… what a lovely word.

    • Rachel says...

      Lift. Omg what a great one.

  36. SJ says...

    I’m not sure if I want this to be my only word but I like the word “comfortable”. I feel I tend to do a lot of things (i.e wear uncomfortable but stylish heels at work, wear my hair a certain way because it’s flattering, etc.) to maintain a certain image/persona to those around me. In this new year, I want to focus on doing what makes ME feel comfortable and caring less about what people may think of me.

  37. Sarah Windle says...

    Nourish.
    This has been a tough year and 2021 is going to be about nourishing my body, my mind and my soul.

    • RB says...

      Yes! Me too.

  38. Sarah says...

    Hopeless.

    But in a good way.

    I am going to live for every itchy, joyous, aching, and mundane moment. Breathe it in, breathe it out. Hope suggests there is something better than now. Now is all we know we can have.

    • AJ says...

      Oh wow yes!

  39. Susan Davies says...

    Embrace. It’s natural and not a thinking process, but involves choice and acceptance. A good friend who also chooses a word each year sent me a word jumble and had me note the first four words I saw in it – those were my themes for what to embrace. Those words are Me, Power, Change and Miracles. That feels like all I need for 2021. Good luck everyone, here’s to a new chance for everyone.

  40. J says...

    CONNECTION. I’ve retreated into myself during this pandemic, maybe as
    a defense mechanism. I’ve had no energy to reach out. Everything feels overwhelming. But the emotional isolation is not good for me. In 2021 I need to claw my way out of my hiding hole and make deliberate, daily connections with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and even virtual communities like yours where I read and rarely comment.

    • AJ says...

      I hear you on this! All the best, J x

    • Faith says...

      You are not alone in this! xo

    • Beth says...

      This is my word, too! Here’s to making it happen by posting my first comment :)

  41. Megan says...

    Great prompt. My word is ENOUGH. As in I am enough, I am doing enough. My relationships are enough. I have enough.

    • Marian says...

      YAS, Megan! This one stands out to me so much!

  42. AJ says...

    Love this. My words for 2020 – which came to me way before pandemics – were: slow, wait, trust. Turned out to be pretty appropriate!!!! Really I had a lot of reasons for tuning in to those things. This year my words are doing and daring. It’s a natural evolution for me after my intentional (and of course, pandemic-accompanying) slowness. It may still be very slow ‘doing’ (fine!) and restricted ‘daring’ but I’m going with it :)

  43. Liz Coppez says...

    Caroline, my family just practiced this very exercise! My word is “determined;” my daughter’s is “connect;” my husband’s is “promising;” my dad’s is “believe;” and my mom’s is “thrive.”

    • Satah says...

      JOYFUL! I feel like my brain and body are now trained to be in a constant state of anxiety and I want to retrain those wires into something much more enjoyable and joyful

  44. Haley says...

    “Patience”- I have been dealing with hormonal and fertility uncertainty for the past 6 months. I’m going into the new year with patience for my body as my husband and I continue our fertility journey and desire for a baby right this minute.

  45. Mel says...

    I scoffed at the whole ‘picking a word’ thing…but today I kept finding myself seeking balance. We added baby #2 last year, during a pandemic, while having our 3 (now 4) year old home for months on end, while working full time jobs from home. The year had many things, balance was not one of them. Our 4 year old is in preschool again and baby is still home. I just want to get some sleep (in a loooong sleep regression) and *balance* sleep expectations/needs for all of us and fit in yoga where I actually can clear my mind and get some *balance* and *balance* working/mothering/caring for a home all at the same time.

  46. SUSAN MILLS says...

    FLEXIBLE
    My husband and I are retiring from our long time jobs in July. Hoping to sell our house here in northern VT, buy something smaller here and something in Florida. But there are a lot of unknowns, how much will our house sell for, what will be available here and in FL, where in FL will we go, lots of questions and we’ll need to be flexible.
    And I want to work on yoga, stretching, etc to make my body more flexible.

  47. Sonia says...

    My word for 2021 is molasses! I’ve defined this as: moving slow, being extra sweet to myself (and others), and not caring if I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.

    • Kelsey says...

      Love this!

    • Amelia says...

      haha I love this!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I love this!

    • This is brilliant.

    • Coleen says...

      Not caring if I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Agree to this!

    • Sonia says...

      Ah thanks everyone for replying, seeing these made my day!!

  48. Kerri says...

    My word is INSPIRE.
    I want to inspire myself and my community to be whatever we want and need.

  49. Claire says...

    I’m going to give myself two words this year: Happy and Patience.

    I have dysthymia, which is a long-lasting type of depression often diagnosed after 2+ years. I’m doing okay, have a good antidepressant, and am so grateful that my whole family normalizes having open conversations about mental health as we’ve all had our own experiences with depression over the years. For as long as I can remember, feeling happy, or at least content, felt out of my control I’ve focused on school or work, which to me felt more in my grasp, and have excelled in those areas. I’m realizing that finding the things that make me happy is going to take time, effort, persistence, just like school and work. Feeling content or seeking joy will be something that I need to practice and get better at over time, just as I’d hone my skillset teaching literacy or writing a research paper.

    I have hobbies that I dabble in, and people who I enjoy spending time with. Instead of feeling like they’re lesser priorities, I want to make my happiness and contentment a top priority. I’m tired of putting it off and want to get better at it this year.

  50. Avi says...

    “Stretch” – as in both that I need to keep my body flexible and try for as much fake yoga and real muscle strengthening and lengthening as possible – but also stretch as in keep reaching out, reaching in, expanding as much as possible when so much about life right now can feel smaller and smaller and energy for all kinds of mental and physical stretching can feel like it’s shrinking.

  51. Savala says...

    Rest.

    • Enough said.

  52. Jennifer L Vercelli says...

    I have three focus, organization and learn. Learn is basically my life motto so the first two are more specific to 2021. Focus is more about getting back to core mission after 4 years of throwing myself at every political battle and organization because it’s the only way I can have the illusion of being in control and it reduces anxiety (chaos is a huge trigger for me).

  53. Carly says...

    Everyone needs to go watch Glennon Doyle’s IGTV about her word “Stet” for the year. It is a companion piece for this blog and so profound.

  54. Ceridwen says...

    I love this Caroline. I wrote a list of intentions and they started small but grew to more of a stream of consciousness that may not be manageable as ‘resolutions’. While still helpful to write. Your writing today is so helpful,and timely for me. I have started Adriene’s Yoga and have been surprised that each day, during the breathing, a word has come to me. It feels like someone is literally holding a sign behind my closed eyelids. My mother died two months ago and I made the decision to take time off work. I felt grateful to have saved up my long service leave, accrued over ten years, that enable me to do this. I have had more time to think in the fuzz of grief. I have been keeping a sort of notebook or journal. So anyway, I have been writing down these words and a bit of what they might be about. Like you said, multiple interpretations. Of course. I don’t need to pin it down to one thing. The word today was “acceptance”. So vivid and also soft. Not like resignation. I was pondering this and then opened CoJ (so happy you are all back!) and read you post. Perfect. How do you guys do that? So, very long story not short anymore, my word will be ‘acceptance’.
    Thank you and all good things to you

    • Sarah says...

      Oh Ceridwen, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can imagine working towards acceptance in the months after your mother’s passing being a very hard process. Sending hugs!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you for sharing this, Ceridwen. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending you love.

    • Sherri says...

      Big hug to you Ceridwen! I’ve started Adriene’s yoga journey too. “Listen” really resonated with me. My word will be listen.

  55. Caitlin says...

    Tender!

    To myself, to my husband and daughter, to strangers. Trying to not let the hard knocks harden me, but rather to stay soft and open and hopeful.

    But idk, maybe it’s about steaks too??

    • Megan says...

      Love this. The Jenny Holzer quote “It is in your self-interest to find a way to be very tender” became a bit of a mantra last year. Definitely an ongoing practice.

  56. Sigrid says...

    I would LOVE to hear words for previous years!

  57. Emilie says...

    My 2019 was actually a hard year, so I chose “Cozy” as my 2020 word. I wanted to slow my pace, stay home more, and spend more time just as a family. Little did I know how prescient that was! Most of my year was spent at home, heavily pregnant, and with a toddler (while trying to work full-time). So anything I could do to get comfy and make life a little easier was absolutely a must – cozy was indeed the theme and my way of coping.
    For 2021 I chose “Embrace.” My intention is to embrace my life as it is right now – my new role as a mom of two, my position at work (no more imposter syndrome), and my general wackiness. I want to show up as my full self. Also – I want to literally embrace loved ones as soon as it’s possible!

  58. Hannah Zimmerman says...

    Abundance!

    I received it during a (virtual) year-end retreat my husband and I did together, and I loved it instantly. After a year when I felt myself slowly shrinking into myself and away from things, I’m ready to embrace what Merriam-Webster calls “plentifulness of the good things of life.” It also related to the Jesuit concept of “magis” or “more” that guided me during my undergrad years. Looking forward to exploring all the meanings in 2021!

  59. Jeannie says...

    This reminds me of a funny story…

    One year, my then-boyfriend now-husband declared that his word for the next year was “ELIMINATE” and I burst out laughing. It sounded so negative!

    I asked him why he chose that word and we decided what he really was trying to focus on was simplifying – not eliminating :) So, he changed it to “SIMPLIFY”. Whenever we talk about goals or words for the next year, we always say “ELIMINATE” in a really ominous voice and laugh <3

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Hahaha, this is amazing. :)

    • Sydni Jackson says...

      With so many people sharing words that have double meanings, my first thought when I read this was “bowel movement.” Haha. Glad you steered him to a different word choice!

  60. -Heather says...

    ‘Stronger’ is the word I chose for myself, quickly found it when I was out for a quick one mile run last week!

    ‘Deliberate’ is my back-up word, for when I need an extra boost or reminder!

  61. TJ says...

    My word is ‘space’: A year to give space for my thoughts, a year to continue to make my space a gentle, cozy place, space from people (until the vaccine!), space for MY people, space to exhale after last year’s closed-in stress and tightness.

  62. Hali says...

    Mine is expression! The people I admire the most in this world are the people who express themselves freely- with care, creativity, passion, and thoughtful consideration. Self-expression is such a weird thing, to do it well and true is really difficult! Social media, capitalism, societal pressures, social norms, etc… they all play tricks on my spirit. I want less of that and more exploration of what it means to be Hali on planet earth.

    I’m about to be a mom. Nothing has ever scared me so much. I can’t sleep I’m so freaked out by the massive permanent shift that’s about to slap me in the face. I’m sure “humility” will be the word I won’t be able to avoid this year- I’m about to get VERY humbled by a tiny helpless human. But if I can just keep considering how to express myself IN my mothering, this great paradigm shift doesn’t seem so terrifying and becomes a massive joy and great privilege.

  63. I couldn’t pick just one so I landed on three for different meanings…
    Manifest: Every time i have practiced manifestation, things have worked out for me!
    Trust: Similar to manifest, it’s about trusting in the universe, letting go of controlling (more like trying to control) the how.
    Write: Take time to write and develop my skills.

  64. Susan Grine says...

    Health (mental, physical, and social)

  65. Alex says...

    My word is Try. Because in most cases, if you just try, (and I mean really try, like do the best you can muster) that is good enough.

    There are so many things I’ve wanted to accomplish over the last several years, and every year I’m disappointed if I don’t meet my final goal. But progress is progress, and just because I haven’t accomplished my goals 100% doesn’t mean the journey to get there is any less important.

    This year is for the journey!

  66. Cara M says...

    My word is Joy. Upon reflection over the past year, I realized that I’ve lost my light heartedness and my ability to just smile and laugh. So I’m going to try to do more to find the joy in every day life – be it big moments, knee slapping laughs, or just simple appreciation of the every day things.

  67. Maire says...

    I received a wonderful handmade holiday card from an eccentric family member who also has a brilliant mind and expansive vocabulary. In the card, he signed off with “Exalt! Cast away care! Be Frolicsome! Leap with joy! Be Ebullient!” I really attached to the word Ebullient because I hadn’t heard or seen it in so long,. So it is my 2021 word, and a very worthy choice at that.

    • Bonnie says...

      Maire – I love your eccentric family member’s words! What a wonderful, vibrant feeling he sent. I loved “frolicsome!” … Thank you for sharing!

  68. Kelley Beeson says...

    Restoration! YES! Already feels like a sweet lovely balm…

  69. Ashley says...

    HOPE.

    I’m (trying to) heal while grieving. Divorce. Ugh.

    My dad said something about hope a month ago that really resonated with me. Then I found an old angel ornament holding a “HOPE” banner in my parents’ basement and took it home with me after Christmas. That sealed the deal on what my word for 2021 would be. ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” -Jeremiah 29:11

    • Alexa says...

      Also going through a divorce over here. It is SO SO SO hard. The hardest thing I have ever done. Just wanted to say I’m here for you. x

    • SD says...

      Sending you a hug and encouragement to keep hoping, even as you ride the waves of grief, Ashley.

  70. Kiana says...

    I think mine would be “community”. I’m a stay at home mom and I used to volunteer at my son’s school and participate in local environmental efforts.
    With the pandemic, I couldn’t volunteer anymore and it’s hard to find time to attend zoom meetings when I’m with two home bound kids most of the day. I hope this year I can get back to helping people.

  71. Grace says...

    Pivot!

    When I make a mistake (often while cooking), I am allowed to get upset for a brief moment and feel all the feelings, but then I am choosing to PIVOT and come up with a creative solution to fix it (rather than wallow in regret and self pity). This could work for so many different scenarios, and it’s really aobut focusing on self compassion.

  72. Dee says...

    I think my word this year will be “Routine.” As somebody with ADHD who has lots of goals and historically not a ton of follow through, I want to become a routine person. Especially because a lot of my work is creative and no one is holding me to it but myself, if I ever want to get where I see myself I need to dedicate time to work every day– as if it were my job. I’m also starting grad school, and I have PCOS which makes really prioritizing what I eat and getting exercise every day. Plus, I know I feel best when I get up early and go to bed on the earlier side. So, yes, here’s to routine!

  73. Connie says...

    Thanks for this post! I was literally thinking about this last night and timing couldn’t be better.
    Mine are– in this order: Confidence! And Progress.
    I had Resilience and Growth last year. This year I want to evolve from being resilient in the face of everything to actually feeling confident in my abilities. Something I used to have in spades but somehow fell away with post-partum anxiety and has never quite come back.
    I grew a lot last year– this year I want to see/feel more progress as a result of my growth.

  74. A says...

    My ninth graders just chose their “One Word”–they wrote a paragraph exploring the meaning of the word (dictionary definition, their own definition, how they plan to refer to it both in school and outside of school) and then decorated a 3×5 index card with the word in the center. The cards will be displayed in my classroom for the remainder of the year, and I wish that I could post a photo because they are beautiful! My 2021 word is “hope,” and my students’ work allows me to hope for a better year and a better future.

    • Jeannie says...

      love that you’re doing this with your students and that your word is “hope” <3 <3 <3

    • You’re my hero, teacher <3

    • Claire says...

      You sound like the best teacher. I love that you found an assignment that’s so approachable (literally just pick a word!) but involved etymological and personal connections simultaneously. So cool!

      I’m an AmeriCorps member running an elementary school literacy tutoring program and would love to be a high school teacher as awesome as you one day!

    • Ceridwen says...

      Great idea!

    • A says...

      Aww, thank you! I have the best job (despite everything going on this year, and issues with education in general). The students and my love of literature keep me going through the difficult times.

      Best of luck with AmeriCorps, Claire!

  75. Alison D says...

    I chose “nurture” for this year – thinking about what in my life and my schedule I want to nurture with my time and energy. Also thinking of how to nurture myself and reparenting as a concept.

    Last year, after an injury, I chose “strength” both about rehabbing my sprained ankle and being able to walk again but also mental strength to not blame myself for setbacks out of my control… ended up being VERY important during the pandemic.

  76. Joanna says...

    I have two words: curiosity and self-compassion. Curiosity in order to ensure I continuously stay open and remain aware of the silver linings that exist in the world. Self-compassion in order to give myself grace and patience in order to work through my feelings and the challenges that rise up during life these days.

  77. Stephanie says...

    REST

    I spent so much of last year fretting and worrying, and staying up light at night reading to logic-away my anxiety or scrolling to distract myself from it. This year, I’m focused on learning to rest.

    For me this looks like putting my phone away each night at 9:30 and grabbing a book to read or having a nice, snuggly chat with my husband instead. I’ll take peaceful walks each morning and spend even more time outside with my boys.

    Just a few days into this new focus and I already feel so much lighter, freer and more fulfilled. Fingers crossed it sticks!

    • Ceridwen says...

      Beautiful. You can do it.

  78. Anya says...

    I was just thinking about this today – I haven’t really done this before, but I think my word would be ‘community’. Because as an expat, I’ve been living in a bubble for a while and feeling more and more isolated as a result, and need to find a community to reclaim a sense of belonging and participation. Because so much of what the world needs to address will only be done together – climate, equity, compassion. And because, no matter what I might think at times, a problem is almost always solved better through collaboration than trying to figure it out alone.

  79. AD says...

    Stet. Just learned it this morning in Glennon Doyle’s most recent post. New Year, same me. Stet for the win ✨

  80. katie says...

    My word for 2020 is connected.

    Connected to my body so I can heal. I’m actively working on combatting lower back issues and it has been a struggle and extremely slow going.

    Connected to people despite not being able to see them in person. I am sending a letter a week to someone, such as my Grandma, a friend, an author I enjoy or maybe even a blogger!

    Connected to my community. I wrote on yesterday’s blog post that I would like to see more posts on social equity and what the looks like. I spent 7 years tutoring an at-risk student. I stopped the program when she graduated high school. I need to find that connection again and I want to find ways to help those who need it most.

  81. Elizabeth says...

    I chose “magic” for 2021: connecting with my own magic, finding the magic in experiences, creating magic for others, embracing the magic of life.

    • Lee says...

      YES to this!

    • Ceridwen says...

      Oh yes!

  82. Susan says...

    Dear Caroline,
    When I read that your 2020 word was “enough”, this short poem popped into my head. I do not know where it originated. I came across it years ago and loved it so much that I wrote it down in my address book (yes, I still have one!) under E. I always cross stitch Christmas cards for my family and very small circle of friends. This year I hand wrote this poem inside every card.

    ENOUGH by Bob Perks

    I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
    I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
    I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
    I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear bigger.
    I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
    I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
    I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good bye.

    • Aliez says...

      I just got goosebumps reading this poem. Thank you for sharing Susan! xo

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Susan, how lucky your friends and family are to get such personal cards from you! Thank you for sharing this poem, I love it.

    • J. says...

      Wow, this moved me to tears and I had only gotten through the second line! I’ve found some of my favorite poems in the entire world from COJ and the comments and I absolutely love this one. Thank you so much for sharing. xx

  83. CarlaW says...

    SERENITY NOW!!

    • E says...

      lol

    • Calla says...

      hahahaha

    • sp says...

      oh my god hahaha stealing this one!

  84. AN says...

    Focus

    To me that translates to- be in the moment, be intentional, live like theres no tomorrow, saying sorry/thank you/iloveyou right away than storing for future, not to overthink and miss on opportunities and time, get things done rather than spending time on fine-tuning in the fear of making mistakes or not knowing a right ways.

  85. Jes says...

    “COLOUR” in it’s many interpretations!

    • Jeannie says...

      oh – I like this!

  86. Joanna M. says...

    My word is “determination” for a few reasons. I am in the quarter-life crisis phase of my life (it’s a thing!) and I’ve felt sort of lost the last couple of years, especially when someone asks me what I want to do with my life. So, this year I am determined to figure out an answer … or at least be on my way to figuring out the answer to that question. I plan to take whatever 2021 has to offer and make the most of it in a purposeful and determined way. Giving myself space and time to get myself through 2020 was exactly the right thing to do, but it would serve me well to move through this year with a little more determination.

    • Abigail A. says...

      Wow, I feel this so deeply. Definitely feeling the “what-the-hell-do-i-do-with-my-life blues” for the past couple of years. Determination is such a great word!

  87. Deanna says...

    Grace: simple elegance or refinement of movement and/or courteous goodwill. Also, a short prayer of thanks. Yup…just what I feel I need for 2021.

    • Anna says...

      Grace was my word in 2020 :)

    • Mwis says...

      Will steal this word!A lot of people showered me with Grace in 2020 and I want to carry it forward to others by being more gracious in 2021.

  88. Jamie says...

    Gracious. I need to be kinder in my thoughts and observations… of myself and of others.

  89. SP says...

    Nope

    is my word for 2021, ha. Last year it was joie de vivre which seemed really fun– I had a list of 21 resolutions including going on two “plane trips” (HA) and visiting a new state each month (HA!) and becoming fluent in French (depressing when there is no indication I will be leaving my state anytime soon.)
    This year I have made no resolutions for the first time in my type A life and it feels so good! I am SUCH a people pleaser so my only thing this year is to learn how to say no. Can you come into the office on your day off? Nope. Can you answer this email on Sunday? Nope. Can you spend January working out and depriving yourself of dessert? NOPE! I feel so freeeee!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      LOVE this, SP!!!!!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      YES to nope! A million times nope.

    • joan says...

      Gemma Correll has a sticker & mug for sale. with… NOPE. I saw it several years ago as a print but now just see these two. I love it!!! The colors and illustration are fantastic!!

    • joan says...

      Haha, I needed to comment again. I thought I saw the print on this site. Look up Gemma Correll in search and on an April 22, 2014 post the NOPE illustration is there. It will definitely give you a smile.

  90. lynn m. says...

    My word “Slow”…I feel like I am always rushing to meet one deadline or another. Making dinner, running errands, setting alarms. This year I plan on slowing down and being in the moment. Nothing is as urgent as we think and I want to take in every moment.

  91. Frieda says...

    Compared to all this wonderful words and intentions I read here, mine feels really egostic: Selflove. But I realized that there is a lot of things I sometimes do (or sometimes oppositely do NOT do for myself) which express that I do not fully value and love myself. Also I realized that I am not alone. There is so many people who harm and manipulate themself by not doing the decisions or things that they actually seem to wan and need. People who are so used to their self-harming patterns and thoughts that they are not even aware of it. Learning to love myself seems kind of a way of growing up by breakting this cycle of parents or society in general teaching a child (unwantedly) this behaviour who later passes it to the next generation and so on… Before I really start to acces job life and before I meet (hopefully) my partner for life, I want to just manage loving myself with all consequences it takes: E.g. ending a relationship not leading further, quitting a job that does not fulfil, moving to another place, ect. are for sure not easy decisions but sometimes the only real commitment to oneself that one can make.

  92. Lena says...

    My word for 2019 was TRAVEL and I traveld a lot. I am from Germany and we made a road trip through Scandinavia (Sweden, Finland, Norway (Lofoten, Northcape)). So many beautiful memories. My word for 2020 was HEALTH ,of course I had no idea how right i was. My word for 2021 is CREATIVITY. I want to start Photography again and painting.

  93. maywyn says...

    Starchy is my word for 2021 because the sound of it is smoother than calling someone a snob, stuck up or other. I want to keep in mind, negative people are people, everyone is deserving of compassion, and although I do not need their bad vibes near me, I do need to be true to the spirit of compassionate. Hate/negativity feeding on each other does nobody good.

  94. Rita says...

    My word is to FEEL. Feel my feelings. Even when they are unpleasant and it hurts. Feel my feelings and not try to make them better or distract myself from them. Just feel them. It’s a bit scary to be so alive, but I’ve learned every feeling has an ending. And that consoles me in those hard moments, that I’m bigger than them – some day, the feeling will end and I will still be here :)

  95. Jessica Melindy says...

    I am doing 30 days of yoga with Adriene on youtube. She’s so funny and you can feel that she cares. Two days ago the theme was “arrive” and she shared the idea of arriving, showing up with each new breath. I have been thinking of that throughout the day to reset my mind and I find it suprisingly refreshing. Sidenote: Wouldn’t it be fun to do a beauty routine post with Adriene?

    • Anne says...

      I’m also doing the 30 days of Yoga- Adriene is my girl!!! Second the beauty routine- get her on here!

    • Ceridwen says...

      I am doing it too! I have loved her ideas and how simple they are. Strips it all back. I have been saying each morning ‘l can and I will’ – that has helped me get up and get to the mat. I feel I am learning about breathing. I also take it with me during the day. Enjoy the rest of it.

    • Tovah says...

      Me too! She’s so awesome.

  96. Emily says...

    PERSIST. Find my drive even though – like most of us – I have been folded in half too many times over. I have a lot of responsibilities that I can’t afford to close off from. So even though the sky is falling, I need to dig deep. My fatigue feels paralyzing, but I think the only way out is through.

  97. Allyson says...

    My 2020 word was “decide.” In January of ’20, I left a job that paid more than my husband or I ever had made to work less and be with our toddler more. 3 months into the new job I quit on the spot because the owner was a racist. Then, COVID. So I took a part time job making less than I ever had in my adult life.

    In the intervening months, I’ve made peace with my “career” at this stage. We are trying for another child. I’m running for City Council. Our household budget balances each month because we live within our means. I say all of this to own that my 2021 word is “confidence.” I am an enneagram 6 and am full of self-doubt, even though I’ve successfully managed all manner of crises. :) I’m going to rely on all the things that give me confidence to keep pushing; my track record, my supportive family, my intuition and my preparation.

    • Kiana says...

      You sound amazing! Good luck!

  98. Sadie says...

    The only resolution I’ve been successful with is: Burn my tongue less.
    Each year I try to burn it less than the year before and my patience for pizza has grown exponentially the last three years. ;)

    • katie says...

      LOL THIS MADE ME LAUGH SO HARD – mostly because at first I thought it was some sort of lost in translation saying… “burn my tongue” and then I realized you literally meant to burn your tongue less!! I’m laughing also because I BURN MY TONGUE ALMOST EVERY TIME I EAT! hahahaa. I love food and I’m impatient. Thanks for the laugh, Sadie :)

    • Lindsey Fox says...

      This is the greatest resolution I’ve ever heard.

    • L says...

      Haha this is hilarious and you’re doing it – congrats! My husband’s family needs this – when I first went out to dinner with them (mostly men) they would ALL burn their mouths on the same thing even after seeing everyone else get a burned tongue. It was so insane to me but also pretty funny!

    • Jenn P says...

      This is fantastic. I always burn my tongue tasting the pasta to see if it’s ready.

  99. Chrissy says...

    My word this year is “enjoy”.

    I am about to have my second baby and quit my job to stay home for a little bit. Those things, along with numerous others, STRESS ME OUT and I could really go into a spiral thinking about all of the things that could go wrong. However, I’m not doing that this year! Life is going to happen regardless of whether or not I stress about it so why not just let it happen and enjoy the ride? Like truly enjoy the ride; find the good in the hard. Every single day.

    My FIL passed away last year and one of the last things he said to me was “it just went by so fast” . That hit me hard; its going by fast for me too and at the end of the day we are all dying; the quote “live like you were dying” should apply everyday, not just when you get the diagnosis. I want to live like i’m dying and make it a point to enjoy the rest of my days.

    • Meg says...

      These were also my grandmother’s last words. They are such a reminder to me to be present when it is tempting to just want the next thing.

  100. Lenore says...

    My word for the year is gratitude. While there are many unanswered prayers and unfulfilled hopes and dreams as I enter 2021, my focus is to be thankful for all the good & the blessings in my life as it is now. 2021: a year to find contentment, joy, and gratitude in my present.

  101. Mine is radiance. I want to be as brilliant and seen as possible. Last year it was expanded, and I burst open after a long hibernation. Oprah said she stopped choosing a word for the year because she always got what she asked for, as challenges or blessings. After hearing that I am extra cautious of the word I choose!

  102. Laura says...

    Release: a giant, held breath; expectation which will never be met; fear of outcomes; struggles for control; the templates I often lay down over the behaviors of others; also–tight muscles, timelines, grudges, unsavory memories. Probably material goods, too. Unfulfilling relationships. Guilt. Gosh, that’s a long list.

    • Madeline says...

      That’s my word too!

  103. M says...

    Kindness.

    Towards my friends, family, strangers, and towards myself as I embark on motherhood.

    • Jeannie says...

      So sweet! My theme for 2019 was “when in doubt, choose kindness”

  104. Dee says...

    We do a version of this in our family. We call it ‘the year of…’ As in ‘2019 is the year of consolidation’, that worked out ok. But 2020 was supposed to be ‘the year of glam’, I want another shot at it!

  105. Leigh says...

    Steady.

    Its the middle of this marathon from hell that is COVID and while I can see the rest of the path, its not going to be easy. I’m low on reserves and on supports and I just need to keep swimming. And then when its trailing off I need to add things back in sustainably and not go wild and burn out that way.

  106. Erica B. says...

    Focus.

    My goal this year is to NOT multitask all the time, bc then I have 400 half finished tasks done and never get anything completed, or I never give anything (or anyone) my full attention. With alot of the noise of life toned down in ways bc we’re all hunkered down at home, I’d realized how bad I got at this and how I want to simplify my world by slowing down and focusing.

    • Chelsea says...

      Erica! Last weekend while “relaxing” in the bath AND deep conditioning my hair AND listening to a podcast AND typing work emails on my phone AND ordering new onesies for my son I had the exact same thought NO. MORE. FREAKING. MULTITASKING. I am slowly realizing how strange it is that this “skill” I thought I perfected and honed in the name of productivity is really robbing me of being absorbed in any one thing. The same lesson seemed to scream out yesterday when my cell service cut out during my cross country ski and I was forced to listen to the heavy snow dropping onto the trails rather than my audio book. The snow seemed brighter, I was able to process a few nagging stressors and my ski was so refreshing. WHAT A REVELATION.

    • Erin says...

      I love this. It’s such a challenge to not multi-task in his fast paced world. But when you choose to concentrate on one thing at a time, it gives everyone peace of mind. I’ve taken to telling my kids, “how many things can mommy do at a time” and they chime in “one thing”. His practice helps them to know that when I’m doing something for them, I’ll be focused solely on them. It also instills in them that they don’t have to multitask either. Good luck!

  107. anna says...

    It’s funny, the CoJ Instagram page shared a ‘word of the year’ generator that you screenshotted to get your word. I did it just for fun and got ‘transform.’ What I’ve been learning in therapy lately is that I don’t have to be stuck in the same bad patterns of thinking I’ve always been, so this word perfectly reflects that idea and my desire to transform my thinking. I’m keeping that in mind and praying passages like Romans 12:2 as I renew, refresh, and relearn healthy ways of thinking. So thanks, CoJ team! Your generator really worked. :)

    • Midge says...

      My word-generator generated “Seek” for me. I’m coming up with ideas of things I want to make and do, then I’m going to try them, doubtless abandon some, and find out more things I really like to do and that feed my soul.

  108. mb says...

    Gentleness.
    I need to practice gentleness more with myself and in my interactions with others. I have to help create a gentler world if I want to live in such a place.

  109. Jess says...

    My words would be “courage” and “determination”. I have big plans that involve some scary changes, I get anxious just thinking about it. But if I don’t face the challenges and try something new, I’ll be choosing to settle for something that leaves me unhappy and unfulfilled. Therefore, I’m choosing this year to be brave and unstoppable. :)

  110. Katharine says...

    One friend in my close group of high school pals always chooses one (ostensibly random) word of the year and texts it to us at midnight on New Years in all caps – TRENDS, STAKES, TERMS, ON – They really do come to define the year in a weird way! 2021’s word is BET, so feel free to take that and run with it!

    • meghan says...

      hahaha i love this and my two best gal pals have a similar practice. the oldest of the three of us decides a motto for the “age” on her birthday and when the other two turn that age, we also take on that motto. one year i remember the motto was, “sometimes life sucks and that’s ok” LOL so inspirational

  111. Colleen A. Wenos says...

    Have lots of wellness resolutions but my word is Peace.

  112. Caitlin says...

    Fullness!

    I’m turning 40 in a month, and want to take this time to celebrate all the parts of me that are full and rich from the often painful growth of my 30s. Who knew that it would take 2 decades to finally stop feeling like an angst ridden kid! Although maybe I shouldn’t congratulate myself too soon :)

  113. Lucy says...

    Mine is “connection”. I find the most meaning in my life by connecting with family, friends, co-workers, and my community, and investing in those relationships. The pandemic has strengthened and challenged those bonds, and this year I want to focus on what matters most to me: not career success, or having the nicest house, or glitter eyeshadow (though if those are your priorities, woohoo!) – but the people around me, and remind myself that as long as I make people feel seen and heard and loved I’m doing ok!

  114. I usually pick a word for the new year, but this year I’m trying something different. I picked two feelings that I want to cultivate no matter what happens – peace and joy. Not only will I try to create these feelings in my life, but I will also look for them when [especially] they’re harder to find. Even though it’s only January 5, I’ve found myself saying (over and over again), “Find the peace and/or joy.”

    • Dana says...

      I love this, Parita. I often meditate on the words “peace” and “joy,” focusing on breathing in one and breathing out the other. They’re totally interchangeable in that way, what I want to embody AND put out into the universe!

  115. R says...

    I’m tending toward the word “open.” So much of this year has been about preservation, which feels like burrowing, huddling for safety. And while that’s been absolutely essential in some ways, it’s shut me off emotionally to new experiences, new friendships, new romance. I hope 2021 can be a year to dare to live more openly and heart-forward, which will surely take some getting used to.

  116. STUFONA says...

    My 2021 word is GROWTH!

  117. SL says...

    My word of the year is Movement. After spending much of last year at home, my anxiety-riddled brain has been teaching me that movement is key to me feeling well in my body. If I don’t pay attention to this need, it comes out in shaky hands, tossing and turning at night, and shallow breaths. So I am choosing walking my dog, at-home yoga, sex, living room dance parties – anything that feels good. Movement is medicine!

    • Sage says...

      YESSSS!

    • Jeannie says...

      ooohh – that’s a great word! And, it has an alternate meaning, which I like too (as in “creating a movement”)!

  118. Alex Pearl says...

    I love this idea.

    My word is “Listen.”

    Listen to myself, my kids, my husband, my friends, the world, nature. It can be listen for silence to find a pause. If I’m overwhelmed or tired or grumpy, stop and listen to what I really need to do, how I should be thinking, listen to what will nourish. If my relationship with my husband or kids feel out of sorts, in my mind I can listen to what I think their minds are saying/feelings, what they are actually saying, and what their actions say. If I’m too wrapped up in the little and all consuming tasks of the day (kids, work, house, food, etc), listen to the bigger picture. Listen to the birds. Listen to your breath. Create space for listening and clarity!

    Listen to the comments in COJ!

    • Kirstin says...

      This is great – listen, I’m adopting it. In my mind I tell myself to talk less, but what I really mean is listen. It’s also kinder, it isn’t putting oneself down. Thanks wise Alex!

  119. Mims says...

    EMBRACE! I like simple resolutions, and this year it was to embrace, everyday, one thing I was avoiding, if only for five-ten minutes.

    Changing my mindset from one of avoidance (because it is mundane, boring, tedious, hateful) to one of “embracing” has so far helped me back to the pool to swim (although an indoor pool and likely not open much longer), rekindled my love of hand sewing…and got a pile of things mended, sent long overdue letter to a friend, and I am now typing on a 2012 mac mini and monitor that was disassembled at the start of Covid to make way for my husband’s home office (booting me to the bedroom with a laptop).

    I am not sure why I avoid things, I guess I need to embrace my shadow side and explore that question…for 5-10 minute increments over the next year. I like to think I am giving these unloved and neglected chores/tasks/activities (and hopefully soon) people nice big hugs!

  120. kiki says...

    “recovery”. I hope 2021 can begin to chart paths to recovery. With our nation, with our lives, with each other. Not just a return to normal, but an improvement on the normal. More grace for each other. More vulnerability – asking for help, sharing struggles, being transparent on our path. May we embrace a future full of boundless possibility with earnest optimism on our path to recovery.

  121. Chiara Ma says...

    LEAP

  122. Sandy says...

    It feels like almost every post on this blog these days is just a short intro and a question posed at readers. While these posts are nice from time to time, I would love to see more actual content!

    • Allyson says...

      I’m afraid you’re missing a lot of the “actual content” in what readers share in the comments. Also, this blog is free to readers so if you’ve got some firm direction you’d like to give them, maybe you could pay for a sponsored post to cover whatever it is you expect?

  123. Elizabeth Johnson says...

    I always spend the final hours of the previous year meditating on a word that will be my north star for the year. I make sure it isn’t in reaction the the previous year and it is almost never aspirational but rather, meets me where I need it. This years word is Acceptance. May I, and each person, find peace in this. I cannot know what triumphs might be in store and I cannot change the possible despair that might cozy up to me. However, I can find peace in acceptance. No matter what happens in this coming year I will allow room for it, investigate it, use it, move from it. Thank you for posting and a happy new year to you!

  124. Annie says...

    My word is gentle. I have a toddler that I often have to remind to be gentle, and often have to remind myself to be gentle with him and myself when he’s driving me nuts. This year, I’m going to try to be more gentle with myself in general. Gentler workouts, gentler scheduling, gentler self-talk, etc.

  125. liz says...

    survive.

    • Angela says...

      Yup.

  126. Alli says...

    Such a great idea. I think mine word this year would either be “cultivate” or “create”.

  127. Brigette says...

    Three years ago after a major break up/life change I made my word “yes.” To be honest, it was one of the best years. I just kept that “yes” in the back of my mind all year. A great big “why not try it?” for the year ahead. Yes to trying a new food, yes to applying for a new job, yes to dating again (yikes!), yes to reading, exercising, and resting. I gave myself permission to say yes to everything. It created such positivity that I’ll be choosing “yes” again this year. Can I find lightness today? Yes. Take a break for meditation? Yes. Try a new recipe? Yes. Will things get better? Yes!

    • Jenn P says...

      I did this the year I turned 29. It wasn’t really a resolution, since it was already April, but when 2 people showed up at my 29th birthday, I realized I needed a change. So I told myself if someone asked me to do something – invited me to a party, asked me to dinner, for a walk, a hike, a run to Target – I had to say yes. I didn’t have to stay long, an hour, but I had to go. A year later, when I turned 30, I couldn’t tell you how many people showed up to my birthday party. It taught me that if I showed up for other people, they would show up for me. A simple lesson, but one I had forgotten.

  128. Meg says...

    “Unbound.” Breaking the ties that formerly held me down. Rising, unfettered, to new challenges and opportunities. Being free to make changes that are tied to nothing and no one. But mostly… to unbind myself from my own damn reservations and from holding myself back.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I love this, Meg.

    • Molly says...

      There’s a good book titled Unbound by Neil Lozano. He’s Catholic, I’m not, but I still gleaned much from it.

  129. Bea says...

    Rest

  130. Toni says...

    My word is flexible.

    I have a tendency to want to have things in order and have everything under control. Obviously, the world is in upheaval and I’m trying to embrace my bendier side. I want to be kinder to myself and others. I also want to reward myself for rolling with the punches. Now when I need to adjust my carefully crafted plans at the last minute, I’ll tell myself: totally fine, I’m working at being flexible in 2021.

  131. selby says...

    “go”

  132. jdp says...

    MAINTAIN.

    • Sadie says...

      I feel this!

  133. Lynn says...

    My 2021 word would be attempt.

    There are so many things I want to try this year, but I often suffer from fear of failure. So this year I’m going to honor and cheer the attempts, reminding myself that, positive or negative, I tried something new.

  134. MJ says...

    Mine is gentle. With myself, my body, my footing, my relationships. I can be loud, brash, and downright harsh.

    • Dana says...

      This one really spoke to me!

  135. Kate says...

    Learn. We have lots of changes coming at work, and a 5 month old puppy, and a house which needs de-re-muddling (ie restoring). Lots to learn but I want to be gentle with myself at the same time.

  136. Court says...

    My word is renew! Renew my perspective on everything. Renew my promises to myself. Renew my outlook on the future. Renew!

    I also did make goals. I even put a collage on my phone of my goals in visual form and my husband and I had a “goals setting” lunch to go over what we want to have happen on NYE. I love the new year!

  137. Katherine says...

    I have two: adventure and mindfulness.

    I’ve realized that my life has become quite small over the past several months so want to try new things and find adventure where I can, even as the pandemic continues. A few ideas I have are to try snowshoeing and pick back up on my French lessons (done virtually).

    I used to meditate quite regularly but dropped it in the pandemic as I felt it was too much pressure on myself. I’m type-A so oftentimes, I feel that I must do things. Now, instead of feeling that I must meditate every day, I’m going to simply just make an effort to be mindful when and how I can.

  138. Ruth says...

    My word is MAKE!

  139. Rachel says...

    Fearless. But I’m also feeling into the fear and understanding that it’s there to try to keep me safe.

    My friends and former colleagues would all probably assume that I never feel fear. I look really confident on the outside. But there are parts of my life that I’m still terrified to make changes in. And because of a layoff in 2020 I have to make these changes if I’m ever going to move forward with living the life I want.

    So I’m working with a therapist (incorporating in some Internal Family Systems approach) and I’m looking closely at this fear. Fear of rejection, imposter syndrome, fear of bullies who could tear down what I’m building, and more. And I’m feeling positive about where this internal work is going to lead my life in 2021 and beyond!

  140. sarah says...

    EXPANSION! I love it. I’ve never picked a word of the year before and it came to me yesterday when cracking open my brand new journal for the year and writing some morning pages. I was reflecting on old notes from Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul and this quote led me to the word: “Energy doesn’t get old, or tired, or need food. It needs openness. When you close it stops flowing. When you open, it rushes inside you. You stay open by never closing…it’s that simple. Do not let anything happen in life be so important that you are willing to close your heart over it.” My actions around the word include stretching, expanding my knowledge and creativity, cultivating new friendships, and being open-minded and curious. Even just saying the word makes me sit up taller, breathe deeper and stretch out my arms as if I’m giving the entire world a big hug!

    • Caitlin says...

      Absolutely love this!

  141. HH says...

    I don’t have a word to share, but a quotation about words, which has helped me through the holidays and thinking about 2020/2021. It’s on a sticky note on my work computer and I read/think about it every day.

    For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
    And next year’s words await another voice.
    And to make an end is to make a beginning.

    – T.S. Eliot

    • Lakshmi says...

      Nice!

  142. Ari says...

    Harmony & Cooperation. Harmony is replacing Balance (specifically work-life) and Cooperation is replacing Empathy. Empathy burned me out in 2020, and it didn’t always guarantee meaningful understanding or good.

  143. Courtney says...

    For the first time ever, I picked two words for 2020, and it turned out to be a really powerful exercise for me. The words really set the tone for my year. And little did I know in early January how much I would need my two words “optimism” and “gratitude!” I’ve settled on my first word for 2021: generativity. I came across it in December, soon after my 40th birthday, and found its meaning so compelling.

    • Sonia says...

      I had never hear the word “generativity” before, but what a great concept. It’s quite profound. Thank you for sharing it.

  144. MB says...

    Five days into the new year, I realized I am unintentionally doing this. I started using “courage” as a mantra/reminder to me the first few days back at the virtual office, when it turned out that the crippling anxiety I felt about going back to work was almost untenable (nausea, tears, muscle tightness, you name it). A few breaths and imagining courage running through my bloodstream has been helpful, so I suppose I have my word!

    • Rachel says...

      Oh! MB, that sounds really tough. I hope you have someone you can talk to about this. Don’t feel bad if you can’t just muscle through those feelings. Your nervous system is your friend and this year has been really traumatic on so many levels in the workplace–even if we’re remote. Sending you a big hug.

    • Diana says...

      I am right there with you on the physical response to returning to work. I thought I was sick for the last half of 2020. But a week off of work has shown me that it may have been anxiety around work making me sick. I hope your courage gets you through this tough time!

    • Anya says...

      I love visualising courage running through your bloodstream – I hope it brings you the strength you are after!

  145. a.n. says...

    RISE! rise to the occasion, rise above the negative thoughts, negative people. rise to stand for those who can’t do it themselves or who need help rising!

    • N.N says...

      ‘Rise’ was my word in 2019. I loved it – it included “rising” up early to exercise, rising above things that don’t need my energy, and also lots of baking (cakes must rise!). Hope it brings you as much joy as it did me in 2019.

  146. Gill F. says...

    My word this year is patience:
    Patience with myself as I try to accomplish my goals and patience with my chronically ill body that always seems to be just out of my control
    Patience with those around me
    Patience with the world as it tries to heal and get back on its feet
    Patience at how slow things might feel or how out of control or how… bad
    It might not all be okay (it probably won’t) but I’m gonna take some deep breathes and stay calm and get through it and come out the other side in one, solid piece knowing I did what I could and treated myself and others and the world gently and kindly

    • pm says...

      Patience.

      This one speaks to me. <3

  147. Berta says...

    This is wonderful idea. My 2021 word would be love
    To love myself, allow love, lead with love. So many possibilities!!!!

    • Sangeetha says...

      Love is my word as well. Mainly to show love for myself and to my family. I also love my work! So I think trying to do things I love with people I love is what I want to do this year.

  148. Julia says...

    God.

  149. Caitlin says...

    I love this idea and have been mulling it over myself after reading about it somewhere a few weeks ago. The word I’ve connected with for 2021 is “enough.” I am already finding it a calming guide and sometimes answer. I have enough, I am enough, I am doing enough, even I’ve had enough. :)

  150. Dianne says...

    I so appreciate your post – thank you. I have been “setting an intention” for about 15 years now and it has been a really clarifying practice. I actually pick the word or words (sometimes I do word pairs as the intention or a small phrase) in the fall. My birthday is in the fall and I am a teacher, so it is a ripe time for me to be thinking in such grand terms. I then plant the intention in the fall. I usually really struggle with it throughout the winter – I’ve even sometimes forgotten my word, words, or phrase! But I work to renew my focus on it on New Year’s Day. And then come spring, I literally look to how it is blossoming or blooming in me and by summer, how it has “borne fruit” in a way – what has it helped me changed, altered, or re-committed to. Many many friends now ask me about it and have also taken the practice for their own. As a teacher and now a parent, it has been a really useful way to discuss growth and growth mindset with the children in my life. Cheers to many answers along the way this year. Thanks again for the post.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so wonderful, Dianne!

    • E says...

      I think my word would be “settle.” As someone who tends towards anxiety and always striving for more, this year seems like a good year to focus on rooting and grounding and settling in. I’m in a new home in a new state living with my partner for the first time, and I want this to feel like a soft place to land (as Joanna says). I want to find ways to feel settled after many years of feeling like life is constantly up in the air since I finally feel like I’ve put in the work to get to a place where I feel comfortable. I want to feel settled in my home and in my body.