The One-Word Resolution

Magnetic compass with needle pointing to orange Guide Word on white background

Sometimes I feel like a fraud …

I’ve written numerous articles on how to set resolutions … or rather, goals.

I know how to set them. And I’ve successfully achieved plenty of them over the years.

But the truth is, I no longer really believe in them.

Don’t get me wrong …

I believe in creating roadmaps or plans … listing out the things you need to do to move forward … which I guess one could say is like setting “goals.”

But when I think of the word “goal” itself, I just see a limitation.

Let me explain …

If you were to say to me, “my goal this year is to make $10,000 a month from my writing” — my question would be why?

What happens if you make $9,000? Will you feel like a failure for falling short? Even though you’re making great money doing what you love?

And on the flip side, I might ask why would you limit yourself to $10,000? By setting that goal, aren’t you creating a ceiling (something many people come to AWAI to escape) on what you can achieve?

Let’s say you hit that $10,000 “goal” on the 15th of the month, will you celebrate your win and stop pushing? What if you could have made $15,000? You may never know.

These days, I’m a believer in swinging for the fences …

To approach each year — and each day, really — with the intention of making it better than the one before.

And to do that, I’m a believer in making plans.

Planning Goals vs. Milestones

Now, I should point out that saying, “I want to make $10,000 a month from my writing this year” is very different from stating, “I need to make $10,000 to leave my full-time job.”

In my opinion, the latter is simply a fact …

You’ve calculated how much you need to make to pay your bills to ensure you make a safe/sound decision. It’s a milestone you need to reach.

I get it! We all have responsibilities, whether they’re mortgages, debt, kids, or any other financial commitment.

When you determine how much you “need” to make to move forward to the next phase of your career, it gives the structure you need to make a plan on how you’ll get there.

For example, if I say I need to make $10,000 a month to quit my job, I may look at the types of projects that could get me there …

  • 2 Case Studies at $1,500 Each = $3,000
  • 3 Social Media Retainers at $2,000 Each/Month = $6,000
  • 1 Newsletter Gig at $2,500 a Month = $2,500

That would total $11,500 and definitely put me in a comfortable position — with a little wiggle room each month — to commit to going freelance full time.

With a list of projects getting me to my financial goal, now I know what skills I need and can make a plan to acquire them. I also know what level of clients I need to land, which helps me choose my niche, etc.

So, that said, what SHOULD you do for the New Year?!

I encourage you to make a plan if you don’t yet have one, and if you click here you’ll get access to a webinar that will walk you through the steps.

And as part of making your New Year plan, I also want you to try something new …

Pick a Word

About six years ago, the Managing Editor of our Barefoot Writer Magazine, Mindy McHorse issued me and my fellow members a challenge …

Pick one word that would sum up our focus for the next year.

It was supposed to touch on an area in life where we’d like to improve and resonate with our hopes of what would happen in the year to come.

One word.

We writers are used to pouring our souls out onto the page …

But she wanted us to sum it all up in one word?!

Still, I decided to give it a shot.

And let me tell you, six years later, I’m doing it again today. And it’s become a “thing” we do every year now at AWAI.

It’s been that powerful.

Words I’ve chosen in the past have been Gratitude (when I wanted to be more mindful of all I achieved rather than constantly focusing on what was next) …

Health (when I felt I was putting everything else in front of my own personal needs) …

And Fun (when I was simply taking on too much … and realized I wanted to remember this time of raising young kiddos as being a time full of fun).

Other writers I know chose Abundance, Momentum, Persistence, Bold, Productive, Faith, Action, Courage, Confidence, All-in, Connection, Focus, Listen …

There’s really no right answer.

You just think about the year in front of you, and decide what you want the theme to be.

And then once you have your one word, you use it to guide every action you take for the next set of 365 days.

The year Mindy used Simplify as her guiding word, she was able to tackle all things with an eye toward simplification.

As a result, everything became easier. If something was hard, that was her clue that it needed to change. By the end of the year, she was an expert in one-pot recipes, only shopped at one store, and had a Virtual Assistant.

This past year when I decided to focus on Fun, before saying “Yes” to anything, I’d stop and ask myself, “Is this actually going to be fun?” It made it easier to say “No” to activities and obligations that lacked enjoyable or entertaining qualities.

The result was a lot more free time, which resulted in better productivity, more wins, greater satisfaction, and a happier me …

Which meant happier kiddos, husband, and colleagues. ;)

With another New Year upon us, I’m thinking about the one word I’ll pick to guide me through 2019 …

I’ve written down a few options, but haven’t committed just yet. I’m close though!

I’m hoping you’ll do the same …

Remember, there is no right answer; it can be any word you want.

And this assumes you also have a plan of what you need to accomplish this year to meet your milestones. After all, it’s easier to get where you’re going with a roadmap!

But, simply pick a word to be your guiding light this year …

And see what happens!

Care to share your word? Post it in the comments below, and commit to making it happen.

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Published: January 1, 2019

22 Responses to “The One-Word Resolution”

  1. Intent


  2. The one word I choose is 'FAITH'.

    Marcellus Greene

  3. My one word: Joy

    A second word I would choose is: Peace

    These are for myself, I will do what brings me Joy and helps me to feel Peace within myself. Thank you for this idea, it's great.

    Guest (Deanna)

  4. My best friend and I have been doing words for our new years resolutions for years. We started with "A" words, and we are now up to "K". this year, Knowledgeable, Kind, Kissable and Kaleidoscopic. Other good words have been Authorship, Joyful, Innovative, Gumption, Grateful, Fortunate... Use it as computer password to keep it in mind daily!

    Guest (CEV)

  5. Hi! I have two words. Brave and Bold. I can work with them separately or linked together. And they feel right. Last year’s word was Patience. And though it was good in some ways, I also felt stifled by in. 2019 will rock!

    Camille P -Carerra Ink

  6. 2019 in a Word: Vision

    Tim Geiger

  7. My word’s ‘quality’ my relationships, work, conversations, lifestyle. It’s gonna be a quality 2019 for me!

    Guest (Esther )

  8. Thanks, Rebecca for posting this suggestion! My word for 2019 is CHANGE. I began 2 classes through AWAI in 2016. I'm still working on them, but I think it's time to fish or cut bait. The word "change" challenges me and that's a good thing. When I'm deciding how to spend my time this year, I'll ask myself if my choice is going to lead to the changes I want in my life. 2019 = CHANGE!

    Theresa D

  9. Great stuff, Rebecca. I've narrowed it down to a few. Gonna focus on this.(Focus? Hmmm...) HNY!

    Jeff Trewhella

  10. I used a random word generator before Christmas to choose a focus word for 2019. I got "Count", which seemed a little strange at first. But then--count my blessings, my food macros, my workouts, my water intake--you get the idea. I think this is a good focus word for writing in 2019 as well. As in, count your daily word production. Nothing happens if you don't write regularly. Blessings everyone!

    Cindy Szponder

  11. My simple one word, is "Success." Everything I do this year, will move me towards being more successful and happier financially.

    I will live my Dreams this year.

    Guest (Abraham)

  12. I'll share. My word for 2019 is "better". :)

    Christina Gillick

  13. This is such a great idea. One I really needed.

    My one word resolution is "Focused" I get sidetracked so easily so this will be my mantra this year.


  14. Absolutely is my one word

    Guest (Bonnie Bannon)

  15. My word is "confidence". I have been taking classes and studying all year, just completing Nick Usborn's web writing class but I am yet to turn any writing in for evaluation. The man I work for now says I am afraid of failure and I know down deep he is right. "confidence" is what I need to take that leap into actually writing.

    Susan GCS

  16. The word I chose is Persist (thank you, Elizabeth Warren). I have reached burn out in the past as a result of allowing my emotions to overtake my work. I plan to allow meaning to guide me instead of tone, to ask questions when conversations become uncomfortable, and to change my mind in the face of facts without allowing the erosion of my character.


  17. ORDER

    Jody Tjapkes

  18. GROWTH is my word for 2019!

    Donna Renee

  19. Power!


  20. I have been ran through the mill by internet scammers in the past couple of years. I came down with stage 4 cancer and am now on Social Security Disability. I am desperate to improve my finances as I have a 2,200 a month mortgage and Social Security does not cut it. I have lost a few hundred bucks on internet scams that sounded to good to be true. It hurts. So far you have not hit me for money and that is both different and inspiring. Thank you for that. I hope to go all in with this. God Bless

    Guest (roy long)

  21. Since 'unquitable' is not a work, I choose 'Perseverance'.

    Theresa Kusumah-Atmadja

  22. My one word for 2022 is PAYEE!!

    Jean Allord

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