By Barb Ward from an interview with Laurie Cure, Ph.D

It happens every year. You have good intentions in anticipation of the New Year… and then before you know it, February is upon you. Your New Year’s Resolutions have lost momentum, and have fallen by the wayside, unmet and forgotten. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.

There are many reasons for this failure: your goals are too lofty, you want results immediately, you lack motivation and social support, you’ve failed before. The list goes on.

So, let’s take a different approach. Let’s turn the negative of a short-term, failed resolution, into a positive ONE WORD vision for the year.

In his book “One Word that will Change Your Life,” Jon Gordon explains that the simplicity of choosing one word makes it a catalyst for life-change. He suggests placing that word in your office and around your house as a constant reminder of your vision for the year. He further explains that in resolutions the clutter and complexity can lead to procrastination and paralysis, while the simplicity and focus of one word can lead to success and clarity.

Think about it, words are the most powerful force you have. Your words have the ability to build up or tear down. As a powerful, positive force, you can uplift, encourage, heal, inspire and create with your words. And your one word has the power to change your life. 

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Laurie Cure, CEO and owner of Innovative Connections, Inc., explains her experience with one word. “We found New Year’s Resolutions to be ineffective in our family. We would define our resolutions with enthusiasm and momentum, thinking we would see great results. And then, at varying times into the New Year, we would become overwhelmed, lose our focus and give up our goal. Instead of being a positive force for change, our resolutions became a negative message in failure.”

Then, her family adopted one word, and it has been a tradition for seven years. “Each family member gives thought to and selects a word for the year. We’ve had many different words over the years: expectancy, rise, rebirth, health, transition, connection, grace, joy, you name it. The options are limitless,” she says. “While the one word provides clarity and excitement for our year, it’s really more about the journey and what is learned through staying focused than it is on the end goal.”

By being thoughtful and taking the time to select your one word, you become intentional and focused. So how do you select one word for an entire year? Look back at where you’ve been and determine how your future might look different or improved. Your word should align with your values, your goals and your vision for your life. You should put thought into it, embrace how you want to move forward and apply positive energy to it.


Set goals, but know that the

arriving is not all that important.

~ Eckert Tolle

In his book, What Is Your One Word? This Is Why You Do Everything!” Evan Carmichael suggests looking for your word by evaluating three areas of your life:

Favorite things:

  • What are your favorite books?
  • What are your favorite movies?
  • What do they have in common?

Personality traits:

  • What type of people do you like to be around? What personality traits do they share?
  • What type of people do you avoid? What personality traits do they share? What is the opposite of that?


  • What interests have been in my life for as long as I can remember?

Carmichael suggests that you evaluate your answers to these elements and identify and write down the common themes. Then, as you look at your notes, your word will emerge. If it is still not clear, or you want to further drill down, consider these questions:

  • Who do you want to be?
  • How do you want to live?
  • What relationships do you want to impact? Family? Friends? Co-workers?
  • How do you want to show up in your life? At home? At work? At school? In social situations?
  • How do you want to impact your community this year? The world?
  • If people described you in one word, what would it be? Is that word how you perceive yourself?
  • What do you envision for your future?

Your word should be something that encompasses who you really are and what gives you a sense of purpose. This word connects all of the things in your life and will drive you toward meaningful change.


“Selecting one word allows people to shift their attention from what is wrong, to what could be and how they can build their future. It’s about experiencing exuberant enjoyment of life and focusing on what you want to hold through all of your experiences as you move through the year,” Laurie says. “Focusing on one word makes it more about the journey than the destination.”

Do it now! Select your word, make it prominent in your life and get ready for the ways it will change the way you think and interact, how it shifts your attitude and actions, how it transforms your relationships, and how it impacts every area of your life.

If you would like to explore One Word further, follow the links below for these great video resources:

One Word that will Change Your Life What Is Your One Word? This Is Why You Do Everything!