Happy 2019! Wait, What Was My Word?

Welcome to 2019!

Did you pick your word or words?

Have you forgotten about your word and all those good intentions?

(It’s January 6th already, I understand.)

Here are a few tips on how to keep your word alive all year.

1. Post it. Duh. We’ve been over this, but it bears repeating. Post it where you can see it. Got a vision board? Post it on top of the board. Or, you could make a new vision board for the year. Check out our Pinterest board for some ideas on that.

2. Brainstorm what you want this word to look like in your life. There’s a reason it resonated with you, right? We can use the word “restore” as an example. How are you going to translate that word? Do you have goals around that word? Maybe one thing you want to restore is your physical fitness. What do you want the end goal to be? Exercising 4 times a week? Running a 5K? Doing your first triathalon? And maybe you want to “restore” connections with old friends. You can apply your word to lots of areas. Once you figure out the goal or why you are drawn to this word, you can break it down to baby steps over the year. Which leads me to #3…

3. It’s time to map your word over the year 2019. STOP! Here’s where you have to acknowledge that this may, in fact, all blow up in your face. You can make all these awesome plans and then life happens. Unforeseen circumstances can take your year in a direction you never expected or wanted. SO, don’t stress this part. Keep it loose, knowing life is full of surprises. Here goes…

I draw a squiggly line and plot each month on the line.

Then I mark the quarters. After March, June, and September. That’s where I’ll hopefully do check-ins.

Then I write my word under each month, along with a baby step for the word. I’m using the “restore” example and I added “love” and “rest”  below:


Restore: Buy new running shoes, walk three times each week.

Love: hide a love note under the pillow

Rest: Actually listen to the meditation app I downloaded, at least twice


Restore: Try a new exercise class.

Love: Plan a date night.

Rest: Go to bed before 11pm every night.


Restore: Buy a new exercise DVD and a decent sports bra

Love: random act of kindness for the neighbor

Rest: Plan a “stay-in” family night

When you hit your first quarter check-in, you can decide if these words are even working for you. Maybe you were hopeful they would be the words, but really, you need to switch your words to “direct” and “wine”. Scribble all over that map! Acknowledge what isn’t working/what you aren’t interested in and re-design to make it work for you. January shouldn’t be the official “do-over” date. Adjust that puppy and move forward.

Plotting your words over the course of the year may seem a bit much, but I’ve found it to really help. One of my words this year is “discern” or “discernment”. I haven’t decided. Anyhoo, I like to think about what each word looks like at different points in the year. I chose “discern” as a reminder to stop raising my damn hand to volunteer for crap. I want to be more selective on where I spend my time. So, the word “discern” will be in capital letters for May and August because I already know those are the two months where there are so many calls for volunteers related to school and other groups I’m involved with. It’s not that I don’t want to help, it’s that I want to “discern” the best use of my time.

And if you haven’t picked a word, here’s the word generator we had in our previous post. (No, you don’t have to keep the first word that generates. We won’t tell.)

Buy some new markers, make it fun, keep it simple…being intentional reaps results! Happy New Word!



Anyone else out there spend the better part of an hour debating whether to choose a word (or words) for 2019 or to set an intention (intentions)? 45 minutes into arguing with myself, I grabbed a bunch of words out of the air (none as cool as ‘discernment’) and jotted them down. Regarding my list, I thought, ‘Now what?’ Enter Julie, ever so cooly, with her next steps. Aha! Now as I reflect on my list, I realize several words are too closely related, and so I can be choosier now that I’m thinking over how to apply them. And thinking over the year ahead helps me see past the immediate to-do list, which feels so freeing. Thank you, Julie, for freeing and empowering us to be our best selves in 2019!



2 Replies to “Happy 2019! Wait, What Was My Word?”

  1. I did a modified version of this exercise, adapted from a Passion Planner. I’m now paperless, but I kept in my e-planner a few brainstorming exercises. Instead of “words” I use categories (Home, Writing, Work, etc). A few items I hash out in detail, like an upcoming PCS, or editing goals, others I notionally plan or dream into notes. I have Wild Card category, for the known bull-honkey spoilers, and leave room for the yet unknown but inevitable bull-honkey. I have a Serendipity section, for the opposite of bull-honkey, for those blue sky dreamy what ifs. Because random awesome does sometimes happen…

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