One word for 2017 – Why

Long-time readers of this blog will know that instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions or goals for a year, I like to set an intention for my year, using a word or phrase as a guide.

In 2012 I chose the word ‘No’. It helped me break a cycle I couldn’t seem to get out of, one of constantly over-committing, getting overwhelmed, hating the world and burning out.

In 2013 I chose the word ‘Float’. That was the year Mia was born and ‘Float’ helped me take a break from striving so I could enjoy my new baby.

In 2014 I thought I’d do an experiment in ceding ‘control’ of my life to the Universe. I’m not sure I ever fully bought into that … but it was interesting spending a year repeating the mantra ‘Relax, nothing is under control.

2015 was the year of ‘Whitespace’ and that was a life-changing year for me. My days are now built around copious whitespace and everyone in my life benefits from this.

In 2016 I decided to tackle the things I have scarcity complex about, (scarcity complex is that thing where humans place higher value on the stuff that’s scarce, and a lower value on the things that are abundant). Using the word Abundance to guide 2016 brought more mindfulness, meditation and gratitude into my life along with the ability to be more present in the moment. These are highly useful skills to take into 2017 and beyond.

And now for 2017. My word for this year is going to be ‘Why’.

Last week I typed up a ‘summary of 2016’ to send out to friends. A bit of a catch up on all my and my family’s news. And I’ll admit, I was a little … disturbed.

Helping Ant run our businesses. Editing Flying Solo. Publishing two books. Starting two new weekly podcasts. Speaking at four events. Running an event. Finishing the build of our house. Two overseas trips. Four guest posts each for Copyblogger and Problogger. 50 weekly editorial columns for Flying Solo. 12 monthly columns for Flying Solo. 33 posts here on this blog. All while striving to be the mum, wife and human I aspire to be.

Even by my standards, the above seemed a little excessive when I put it down on paper.

But – it didn’t feel excessive at the time. And I think that’s because it was all done with intention. None of it involved getting sucked into things I didn’t really want to do/doing things because I felt obliged to.

In 2017, the fact we’ve finished building our house means I’ll feel I have the time to add things to my plate. While I don’t want to rule out any new projects or ventures, I think the life goals I have will be best served by doubling down on what I’m already doing. Which means every time I feel tempted to take on something new, even something like a new series here on the blog, I’m going to ask myself ‘WHY?’

And if the ‘Why’ is purely for ego or attention or validation, rather than the legitimate furthering of my life goals – then I need to question very seriously whether I really need to do that thing. Pandering to our egos or doing things because they’re validating is not the worst thing in the world. But my ego is solid and my work gets all the validation it needs currently. I really don’t need more.

Do you have a word to guide 2017? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Comments 32

  1. My word of the day is “habit.” That’s because it occurred to me I was spending a lot of time moaning about the status quo but not doing anything about it. Rather than wait for inspiration, I want to work on making the important things everyday habits. It’s going well so far this year, in that I have started running again by using the Couch to 5k after 9 months of nothing. Dogs are also happy with being walked every day on top of that. Watch this space!

  2. Perfect for you, Kel. Don’t even think about filling the house building gap… well, not unless there is s very good answer to your WHY?!?

    My word is intention.

    1. I love intention. I definitely reckon that while that wasn’t my official word last year, everything I did was done with intention and that’s why, while it was a lot – I didn’t feel burnt out at the end!

  3. My word for 2017 is consolidate. After nearly a decade of being reactive to a series of crises – familial, financial and personal – we are in a position to tie up loose ends and move closer to the life we want to live. Consolidate seems to cover what we as a family want to achieve as well as me personally. Declutter, simplify, pay off more debt, create space – just get things tidied up and finalised so we can continue to grow. Does that make sense?

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      Oooh I nearly went with consolidate because I am in a similar situation to you. Finally able to be proactive. Good luck this year – it will be such a nice feeling!

  4. I couldn’t limit myself to a single word. I’ve chosen “slow not lazy”. I need the “not lazy” to affirm to myself that it’s okay to live slow. Also, I intend to continue doing a lot of doing, but with deliberate shifts in how and why I do it.

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  5. I’ve thought a lot about this and my word is ‘courage’. I’m tired of living with fear. I need to make some changes this year and I don’t want fear to be the driver.

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  6. I’m still trying to figure out what my one word will be. I’ve not done it before but am feeling inspired by seeing other people’s words. I’m thinking it will be something like ‘simplify’ or ‘be’. I really like yours and think that it’s perfect for where you’re at. xx

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      ‘Why’ really is quote perfect for where I’ve landed right now.

      And I look forward to hearing the word you decide on. It’s really such an effective way to make subtle changes that (as you can see from my post) really add up over the years!

  7. I’ve never been able to limit myself to one word, but I must say, as soon as I saw the title of this blog post in my feed reader, I thought – I could DO that one word!

    I recently read Simon Sinek’s two books, Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last. I love the idea of asking Why before doing anything – a to-do list, a goal. What is the end aim of this? Very motivating if the task at hand is boring or hard – cleaning the baseboards comes to mind. Why am I doing this? Because I want my baseboards to look nice. Why? Because I want to be more hospitable (yes, dirty baseboards would actually keep me from inviting people over!).

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      I love ‘Why’ because it forces you to be really honest with yourself. Something that is easy to skirt around if we want to!

  8. I love the idea of one word for the year but I can’t reduce my idea down. So my phrase for this year would be “Get on with it!” I hope to do much better this year than ever before. Need to stop procrastination in its tracks. 🙂

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  9. Wow, you have been busy…”Why” sounds like a good choice for you.

    I have chosen “Nourish” as my word for this year. I have both my girls at school this year so I am going to be a little selfish and take time to look after my own needs for a change.

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  10. I wasn’t going to do a word for the year but there is one word that keeps screaming at me to be heard – which is quite funny really because that word is ‘Calm’. Taking a ‘Desire Map’ approach to how I wish to feel instead of what I wish to do/achieve. From ‘Calm’ will come many ripples of other feelings I hope to embrace with open arms. Xx (I’ve also treated myself to see Danielle LaPorte in Melbourne this February. Should be interesting. At the moment I’m still undecided if I’m ‘all in’ with this wave of thinking or not).

  11. No ‘word’ for me, but I like your ‘why’. I got a copy of the End of Year workbook from Better Than Busy – you suggested in a podcast.

    I particularly liked the question about time spent / stuff done, which wasn’t in line with our values or goals… a reminder that we need to ask ourselves ‘why’ we commit to things or do stuff.

  12. Love ‘Why’ Kelly. This is my first time at setting an intention for the year. This is also the year my last leaves for boarding school and after many years of teaching SOTA that phase of my life is over. During that period I’d remind myself that for everything there is a season and for our family and me it was educations season. Now that I’m unbound by being the educator this year I need to refocus and so my phrase I’m going with will be ‘nurture and grow’. This still gives me lots of grace to be present in my children’s lives and nurture and grow in myself and within our family.

    1. Wow big change for you Kate! And I love love love this: “This still gives me lots of grace to be present in my children’s lives and nurture and grow in myself and within our family.”

  13. Mine is “Action”. And that’s inspired by Carly’s advice for not letting anxiety stop you from doing things. When I get overwhelmed, I KNOW taking action – chipping away at what’s on my plate – always makes me feel less anxious. So that’s what I’m going to try to keep top of mind this year.

  14. I couldn’t distill all I want from 2017 into one word! Instead I am going to use a question, whenever I have a choice or I’m not sure what to do in a situation. The question will be ‘What would a person who loves herself do in this situation?’.

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