Help Me. My Mind is a Blank.

Help me! My mind is an utter blank.

As I write about in Happier at Home, in (no surprise) the January chapter, I now try to choose a single word or phrase as an overarching theme for my year.

I lifted the idea from my sister the sage. One year she picked “Free Time,” another year, “Hot Wheels.

For the year I write about in Happier at Home, I chose the word “Bigger,” and my sister chose “Smaller.” (It’s a Secret of Adulthood: the opposite of a profound truth is also true.)

I’ve heard of many great themes: Action, Play, Healthy, Answers, Adventure, Forbearance, Create, Slower, Reach.

I want to come up with an excellent theme for 2014, but I can’t think of a single one, and time is running out. I

Any suggestions?

Have you tried choosing a word or phrase to set the theme for your year? It’s been really interesting for me to see how effective it is. I loved the theme “Bigger,” and was initially tempted to use it again, but then decided that recycling a theme is hardly the “bigger” way to think.

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  • Joe Grandinetti


    • gretchenrubin


      My first personal commandment is to “Be Gretchen,” so I think about that a lot, but maybe it would make a great year theme…

  • Tammy W.

    I have been doing this for six years inspired by Ali Edwards, she just released her word for 2014 on her blog post . I have my word chosenfor 2014 (Finish), but I love reading through the comments of others inspiring word choices as well. The concept has entered into the faith world too: .

    • Cherri Porter

      Finish really speaks to me.

      • Dee

        Great word choice.

    • LCD

      Last year my word was focus. This year it’s Light. I also do Ali Edwards’ One Little Word workshop every year–it helps to revisit my word each month. I’ve found having a word each year and doing the workshop has been a rich, rewarding and enlightening experience.

      • Sheila A

        Focus is my word this year. I really like Light, too. Hmm, I might have two words this year…

      • Liz

        What constituted Focus for you? I’m considering that for my 2014 word …

        • LCD

          It really turned out to be much more than I expected. I thought just focusing on relationships, career, creative pursuits, photography, stuff like that. It really took much more of a spiritual dimension, little by little over the course of the year, and ended up being more of a focus on what’s really important in my life and the big picture. It was a great experience overall; I don’t plan to say goodbye to focus completely–it seems at this point to be more foundational–I’d like to build on it this year. 😉

  • Natalie


  • It’s surprising how much a single word or phrase can keep my actions in line with my bigger goals for the year. My word for 2014 is “primetime” (I went back on forth on splitting it into two words, but decided against it). I hope this word propels me to think bigger and step outside my comfort zone. Good luck with your word!

    • gretchenrubin


  • Terri

    Gretchen: I choose three words to live by at the start of my new year. Last year they were Simplify, Linger & Appreciate. This year they are going to be Clarify, Cultivate and Savor. How about EXPAND for you? Kind of like bigger but seems to encourage growth in all directions…..

    • gretchenrubin

      Great ones!

  • Randee Bulla

    My theme this year is going to be either “Forward” or “Move” (I think!) as it speaks to so many of the things I want to do. I want to move forward in my career (I have a big certification program I need to do, but don’t want to), I want to move forward in my fitness (get past some injuries and start again smarter in 2014), I want to move forward emotionally (forgive and be nicer to myself for my past behavior or things done to me), I want to move forward in my personal life (continue building relationships with family and friends). I want to move forward financially (as we finally pay off our credit card and car and work to staying smarter with our money). So even if they are baby steps getting started, or baby steps on top of longer-term bigger successes I already have, I want to continue building and moving forward in growth 🙂 When I am frozen and just want to sit in my personal cocoon at home with the hubby and kitties, I will think of these words and just take that one step forward. Like that first few minutes of exercise, I’m betting they’ll lead forward to many more steps and I’ll be glad I did.

  • YoungOldMe

    While reading Happiness @Home, I chose “Now.” Then you had a chapter at the end, with the “Now is now” insight. But I still like “now.” I think it’s helpful to remind oneself often about “now.”

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m SO HAPPY to hear that “Now” resonates with you. How I loved writing that chapter—I think it may be the best thing I’ve ever written in my whole life.

      • greendoc

        yes, Laura and her Pa “now is now” moment brought tears to my eyes.
        that was a wonderful chapter. That is my word for the year: mindfulness (as in be in the now).

        • gretchenrubin

          Again, that makes me so happy to hear that. What a joy it was to write…that passage from LIW has haunted me my whole life, and to be able to see how it fit into my own ideas…so enormously satisfying.

          Maybe I should go with “Now”!

          • BKF

            Such great ideas! I l love “Now” and am going to adopt it myself. A reminder to be fully present, and worry and procrastinate less. Too, you can only change your habits now, not yesterday or tomorrow (“do it now.”) Most of the other great suggestions can be worked into “Now” (be kind now, be loving now, move now, etc.)

  • Jo


  • peninith1

    My new word for the year is going to be “kind” . .. I need this one because I am now my 89-year old Mom’s caregiver, which challenges me to be kind, and I know that I need to be kind to myself through all this. So, that’s it, KIND.

    • gretchenrubin

      I think it’s especially helpful when the theme has many meanings…like this, Kind to others and Kind to yourself…or Move, meaning physically and in a career sense…

  • marycorbet

    How about Color? It’s something we often take for granted, but it sure can alter one’s level of happiness. And it can be found in every aspect of life – literally and metaphorically. Colorful speech. Color in food (especially veggies!). Color in decor, color in clothes, color in one’s outlook. Color in creativity. Color in the landscape. Color and mood…. And on and on…

    • gretchenrubin

      Ooh, that’s interesting…very different from the way my mind usually works.

    • Andrea

      I just read this after my “decorate” post, some similar threads!

    • COLOR was actually in the running for my word choice this year, mary! i like how you described its use.

  • Amy

    I have been going back and forth between “Show Up” (as in show up to all the areas of my life wholeheartedly) and “Love” as in choosing love over fear (A Course in Miracles Style)-which affects my ability to show up wholeheartedly. Been thinking of combining them “Show up to love” or “Show up in love” It’s been tough to choose.

    • gretchenrubin

      Good choices!

  • William Brams


  • RocketJ20

    “Announcing” would be a good word for you.

  • Jillian Ratti

    I’m thinking “Enough.” I’m tired of focusing on my weaknesses and trying to improve all the time– I want to take some time to think about my strengths and accept that I’m enough the way I am.
    At the same time, I have a terrible tendency to want more things, to eat too much food, etc. Enough reminds me that I have enough, that I only need enough.
    I think it fits my needs right now.

    • gretchenrubin

      This is a great example of a word with many helpful meanings…

  • Tristen

    This time of year your mind should be blank…no thinking of the past, no playing things over and over again in your head. It is the New Year it is time for us to write on that blank slate and create something new. My new phrase…Live don’t just exist

  • Stephanie Lillegard

    Mine is “lean back” — I intend this as a jazz musician would when he relaxes into the tempo of the song and stretches and pulls and bends it. It means (to me) to stop straining forward as an undisciplined dog on a leash, but instead to look around, breathe out, stay inside the back of the beat. (2012 was “ask the question” and 2013 was “take the risk”)

    • lolabelle

      @stephanie_lillegard:disqus This is BRILLIANT! I have been trying so hard to think of something that describes this very thing. Something like “self-possessed, not desperate, not controlling” but nothing was quite it. Thank you so much for your inspiration; I might just have to share it. Hopefully, Sheryl Sandberg won’t mind the adaptation;)

  • mainlinewife

    “Follow through” is going to be my intention for the new year.

    • gretchenrubin

      A friend of mine set this theme, many years ago.

      He’d told me he was going to send me an old gorgeous copy of “The Water Babies” that his family had, because he knew I loved it and they didn’t appreciate it. I never thought he’d remember, but he did, and with the book he enclosed a note explaining that his new aim was to follow through.

    • AmandaG

      I love this. I’m so glad I found your comment. Follow through resonates with me. Thank you.

  • Anne Stockwell

    I’m going to try this this year. My word is “grace.” I like the idea of exploring the multiple meanings, and shades of meaning.

  • Nancy

    Joy has been mine for a couple of years now. I want to be able to see the joy in everything I do and see.

  • xenia

    This year is off to a start with some challenges ahead. At Christmas time, we sing about “Immanuel” which means “God is with us.” That’s mine. No matter what happens, no matter what’s going on, good or bad, God is with us!

    • Anjali

      the words or themes that are hovering in my atmosphere for the coming year are these: connection, meaning, and real…

  • Mandy Rauffer

    I’m thinking “Complete”, both in the “finish” way and in the “all encompassing” way. It’s something I often struggle with, as much as the “starting”!

  • Kate @ Savour Fare

    Mine is present. No time like the …, Be … in the moment, give yourself a …

  • Diana Cherry

    My theme for this year is “UP and OUT.” We are planning to buy a house, my kids are at that age where I need to involve them in activities outside of the house, my home business is expanding beyond my one client to several more with even more prospects ahead. It seems like a good theme in many ways. UP and OUT!

    • gretchenrubin

      Along the same lines, one of my catchphrases is “Onward and upward.” Now I’m realizing that that would make a good theme.

      • Diana Cherry

        Yes! I got this idea when I read The Happiness Project and I do it every year. I’ve realized that I actually usually have something just below the surface that I’ve already been thinking/working toward. Kind of like “onward and upward.” You’re already saying it/thinking it and that’s probably because it just makes natural sense for your year. Happy New Year!

      • twinkle

        “Onward” was one of Diana Nyad’s mottos for her Cuba to Florida swim this year. What an inspiring human being!

    • Valerie


      • Valerie

        Sorry, I just wanted to add my own word, not reply to Diana 🙂

  • ALL

    Freedom from expectations

  • BabyPhill

    Reawakening is my intention for 2014 and may continue to be the intention, or some element thereof, for coming years. Why reawakening…………………………………………..
    I am continuing a journey alone, now that my husband and I have decided to move on separately. So when I say reawakening, I mean a reawakening of those emotions and activities (physical and intellectual) that I either suppressed or tossed aside while taking care of my marriage and children. I now have to go it alone, with friends and family of course, and in doing so plan on participating in things that I haven’t in a very long time.

  • Molly

    I love ENOUGH and NOW IS NOW below. I really need to make headway in my career, either accomplish more or move onto something new (or branch out a bit), and my family needs to move since we have outgrown our house (years ago!), so I was thinking this would be a year of CHANGES. I like the ones that have Buddhist or Zen inspiration to them (be present, show up, etc.), but I am just so not Zen that I don’t bother trying to be very Zen. I do better with savor, anticipate, relish, etc., which are still probably Zen but imply more enthusiastic effort to me. I swear I can’t do anything that doesn’t imply work or effort!! Happy New Year!

    • Molly

      Sadly, I forget about my theme as easily as I forget about my resolutions, as easy as the word I choose is. Maybe you can post reminders during the year…if you are better at keeping up with yours.

  • Mette Søby

    The theme for my 2014 is “free” :o) My 2013 was quite a turnover, from executive job
    to unemployed with chronic pain because of hyper mobility-syndrome and a spinal
    injury. And I can in honesty say, I’ve never been as happy as I am now – thanks
    to a lot of books that has given me a very wonderful perspective on my life –
    your “happiness project” as the most recent (I read it this week :o).
    So my 2014 is going to be free, from pain, from overweight, from bad excuses
    and from standing in my own way ;o)

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m happy to hear that my work has been helpful. “Free” in 2014!

      • Mette Søby

        Oh it has been – and I love your writing style! Books about expanding yourself tend to be a little…hmm…in Danish we would say “saved/holy” and mean that the author has a “head in the clouds” approach to ordinary human life haha. But you have a very practical approach ( loved the Scientific approach, I’ve already quoted some of the statistics for my husband) – and quite funny also :o) I’ve passed the book on to my
        little sister and now my only “problem” is that I have to read everything you’ve written – once I get curious about an author, I like reading ALL the books that author has published :oD Happy new year!

  • clover


    Kidding, only kidding. I think my word this year will be “Zoom.” I like it because it’s fun to say and because it pertains both to my goal to get back to running consistently and my goal to improve my ability to focus where focus is needed.

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      Ooh I love that! I might use Zoom as well, or something similar. I have several projects and goals that I want to kick off this year, so Zoom is a positive way to motivate me to get to them!

  • Annelie Drakman

    Loving patience. I’m expecting my first child in two weeks, and I figure I’ll want to be lovingly patient both towards my daughter, and towards myself and my husband.

    • gretchenrubin

      Exciting! Congratulations.

  • Kristi Socha

    At first I was thinking “Dare Greatly” after one of my favorite author’s, Brene Brown, book. But after thinking about that for a few days I realized I’m not quite ready for that big of a challenge. Instead I really need to “Embrace”. I need to embrace the changes that are occurring in my life instead of fighting them, I need to embrace those people put into my life…even when my instinct is to fix things and not be vulnerable. I need to embrace myself as a I am….yet embrace the healthy changes I want to be part of my life. I need to embrace those activities that give me passion and life…not put them on the back burner for later.
    I think you get the idea!! 🙂 2014 will be the year of embracing for me!

    • Cavalieria

      That hits the mark for me. Good luck with your year. I am going to aim high with this too.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great word, great concept.

    • Leslie

      Actually, by picking embrace, as you have defined it, you are daring greatly. As she says in her book, it is by recognizing and facing our vulnerabilities ,no matter whether they seem big or little, that we dare greatly. You are your own hero..

    • Amy E

      I like the idea that every physical embrace can serve as a supportive reminder of the affirmation. I’m not a hugger, but becoming one would certainly make my life sweeter.

    • stephMK

      I read through several of these posts a few days ago and took some time to consider a word. Embrace keeps coming into my mind based on your response. Thanks so much for your description! I like the idea of embracing aspects of my life that I have ignored or put on the back burner.

  • Betsy P.

    I think my word for 2014 will be “discover.” Discover more…about myself, about my spouse, family and friends, about the world around me. I like this word because it implies action rather than complacence, and involvement rather than isolation. (I am a major introvert, so this will be a challenge for me!)

  • karen

    i picked listen this year. I like the multi-dimensional aspect of:

    Listen to myself: My body, my soul, my heart, my brain/thoughts, and my gut
    Listen to others: be open, stop and hear as opposed to preparing a reply, choosing to receive
    Listen to the universe: Pay attention and see the signs, listen to messages, listen to what the universe is whispering, the sounds of nature

    I also like how listening will require presence. i like that it’s kind to others and it’s also a good way to check in with myself and make sure I am course correcting back to being me 🙂

    • Debora

      I have been mulling over the question of my “word” for 2014 for several days.
      This is it – LISTEN. So many dimensions, subtleties – – perfect!

  • Jennifer

    I guess Truth is my theme this year. Even if I never act on it or express it to others, to know fully what is true for me about what I am experiencing in any given moment, situation or even what I am truly wishing will be.


    How I love the discussions on your blog! I was thinking of “engage” but in reading these, “enough” jumps out at me. I think the reason I like engage is because I get engaged in so much. Enough has so many meanings: it will help to ensure I remember I have enough already on my plate; that I have so many blessings and don’t need more things; it will help me purge clutter; and when I delay or procrastinate, I can think of the word “enough.”

    Thanks for posting this question! The responses were so helpful for many, I’m sure

    • Therese M

      Enough is my word too… I have ENOUGH, I am ENOUGH, I have done / contributed ENOUGH, Near ENOUGH is good ENOUGH, I’ve had ENOUGH…. ENOUGH already!!!

  • MidwesternGirl4ever

    My theme you already mentioned: Healthy. The more time I spend registering for a half marathon and training for it, and cutting out sugar and flour, the happier I am. I cannot bring myself to going vegan, but I am going to be vegan just for the month of January to get the year off to a healthy start. I lost 15 pounds in 2013, and if I can lose 15 more, I will be back to my high school weight, which, as shallow as it sounds, definitely makes me happy. Those are a few reasons why my theme word for 2014 is healthy. By the way, I am trying to get tickets to see your book talk in DC next week. I am going to with someone I met at Toastmasters, because I gave a speech on how to be happier and I used examples from your book. The person I am trying to go to the book talk with came up to me after my speech because she is fan of “The Happiness Project.” We are both trying to get tickets. I am so excited to possibly see you next week!

  • OurGalFriday

    I haven’t read all the previous comments but here are some ideas:
    (1) Gratitude/contentment
    (2) “No” — You’ll want to pick some exceptions (i.e., I won’t make “no” my default response to my spouse, children or parents), but in general, try to make “no” your default response to everything else — time commitments, spending commitments, signing up for email lists, etc. It’s very hard to do but quite freeing.
    (3) “Yes” — Again, you have to set certain limits, but saying “yes” as much as possible can open your life up to new possibilities. I recommend “no” before “yes” — that way, if you decide to take on “yes” as your theme one year, you’ve already pared a lot back and have room for all those “yeses.”

  • Eliza

    How about “Fun”?

  • Bethany Dickey

    My theme for this year is “CHOOSE”. I’m focusing on living intentionally, and truly choosing in every aspect of my life is what makes me happy!

  • Hilary Sutton

    I finally figured mine out while reading this post. It is “thank you.” I want to focus on doing things my future self will thank me for: speaking kindness, eating healthfully, not gossiping, living in gratitude, investing in close friendships, etc. “Thank you.” 🙂

  • Karin Moone

    My word for 2014 is “grateful.” I saw something the other day that asked the question, “What if all you have tomorrow is what you are grateful for today?” It really made me think. When faced with frustrations during my daily commute I should be grateful for my steady job and my reliable vehicle. When my tasks are interrupted by our seven-year-old I should appreciate my intelligent curious and healthy child. When my mom and dad require help on my day off I should be glad that I still have both of my parents to love. Most importantly, when my husband doesn’t do something exactly how I would do it or in the time frame that suits me I can stop and be glad that I have someone by my side to help with our home life, who I can always count on who has my back no matter what. “Grateful” is a good practice on its own, but it is especially useful when faced with the challenges that inevitably arise during everyday life.

  • debbiedarline

    How about “Leave a Legacy”, that great phrase from Stephen R. Covey’s book First Things First? “To live, to love, to learn and to leave a legacy.” You already have a great start with your writing and happiness projects; having it as a phrase for the year would make it more intentional.

  • Anne

    I decided to try to come up with a word after reading this post. After some thinking and reading of all the comments, I think I will try “passion” as my 2014word. I want more of that in every aspect of my life.

  • My word for 2014 is OPEN. Open to new possibilities, opening my heart, open to abundance, open to feeling good right when I am. I felt very desperate and “grabby” in 2013. Next year I want to release, let go, and allow things to come to me.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great one!

    • Carina

      Me too…like!

  • Shambray

    I started doing this last year and loved it. Last year I choose believe. Believe you can do any thing…believe there is good… believe you are good enough. This year I am doing my own happiness project since I just finished the book (LOVED IT) so my word this year is happy (or happiness).

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific – good luck with YOUR happiness project.

  • Amanda

    Daily. A nod to my last name (Daley) in hopes of keeping it from being merely ostensible… I struggle to maintain consistent practices (meditation, exercises, BREATHING!). I need to remind myself I’m worthy of good practices that live up to my last name… Thanks for all you do, Gretchen – I’ve been following your blog for years and always look forward to your wisdom (and books! Can’t wait for Before and After!).

    • gretchenrubin


      So happy to hear that you’re intrigued by Before and After. Habits is SUCH a fascinating topic.

  • Janet Chapman

    Mine is “Simplify”!

  • Claire Crawford


  • Netstrider

    Seems like one of the best dozen words for each of us to keep in our hearts and minds is “gratitude.”

  • carrie

    Mine is finding beauty. I will be tackling clutter of the home, mind and body. I hope to find beauty in the details of life.

    • Ardys Zoellner

      beauty is a great goal, we all need it.

  • nonperishable

    My word is VOICE. I have decided this is the year I speak my mind. Not with the intention to offend anyone, but I no longer want to politely agree when i am uncomfortable, simply to keep the peace. I have also found I have had life changing experiences when someone has been brave enough to speak their mind completely with me. Now that I am a mom, I want my son to be self confident, so I want to model this behavior.

  • Kate in Idaho


  • txsooz

    I’ve been thinking about Clean. Clean home, clean words and thoughts (gossip/negative self-talk), clean eating, clean living (exercise), etc … I’ve also been thinking about Mindful, using the same “definitions.”

  • diana

    This year’s theme is lovingkindness. My theme of last year was mindfulness and it did get me to engage in a daily meditation practice. This evolved into metta (Pali for lovingkindness), a meditation practice where you meditate on phrases wishing yourself and others happiness. Now I am embracing the larger context of Buddhist teachings, embodied in the work of Sylvia Boorstein, Sharon Salzberg, and Jack Kornfield, really trying to immerse myself in the basic tenets, with a focus on lovingkindness toward myself and others. Through reading these authors, engaging in daily (and moment-to-moment) practice and hopefully a discussion group with some close friends, it is my intention to practice lovingkindness. A sub-theme is to pay attention to and encourage the kindness that lies within my pre-teen children – kindness that is there underneath their sometimes grouchiness, surliness and mood swings!

  • Brianne

    I just wanted to say that picking a theme for the year changed my life. I read Happier at Home last year after a difficult break up and decided to give theme’s a try. It turned my whole world around. I chose Inside as my theme for last year, I wanted to work on my insides and my home’s insides. I am so glad I did, I had one of the best years ever!

    This year I want to make sure I keep up the momentum from my Inside theme. I am thinking about Self as my theme. As a mom Self is probably almost last on my list.

    Thank you so much for Happier at Home! It turned my entire life around.

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so happy to hear that my work struck such a chord with you. Onward in 2014–

  • Andrea

    Last year mine was “decorate”. My walls were too bare, I wasn’t accessorizing enough, I wanted to wear more color and overall life was too much about work, so the goal was to “decorate my life”.

  • Laura Mowle

    Legacy? I read an interesting column …sorry can’t come up with author…but the article was “What do you want on your tombstone ” or in my words..what will you leave behind as a legacy?

  • Melacey727

    How about richer? As in more satisfying, resonant, colorful… Similar to colorful, but can appeal to any of the senses…

  • cucumbermoon

    Mine is Persevere. It’s going to be a difficult year, but the work I’m doing will be worth it in the long run.

  • Wallabebe

    My theme for 2014 is “Change.” It’s the only constant in life and in this coming year I want to cause it, own it, embrace it and seek it out.

  • Melinda

    I have been doing this for several years and here are some of the words I have used Invigorate, deliberate, harmony, buoyancy,

  • Anne L.

    I have always liked the words that Nikki McClure chooses for her calendars: I’m especially interested in “inhabit” and “stay” and “home.” These words resonate for me right now. I love that all of McClure’s words on her calendar months can be verbs, but some (like “home”) also work as nouns, and therefore open up the possibilities for drawing meaning from them.

  • Zala

    I’m expecting our second child in May and have picked Surrender [to whatever life
    brings] to be my word of 2014.

  • Amy Warner

    Did you know this is exactly the same as Ali Edwards’ One Little Word course she’s been running for the last few years online? She lists each year’s participant’s words each January so those lists (and the project/course in general) might give you some pointers? See here, for example:

    I am participating for the first year myself this year and I think my word is going to be ACTION, as an antidote to my usual habits of procrastination and good intentions!

    • Amy Warner

      Just noted that others have already pointed you that way – perhaps my word should be along the lines of “read all the comments first”!!

  • Shelley

    Funny, I was just reading about this idea over here

    Her word for this coming year is Expansion. Look forward to hearing what you choose. I’ve not used this idea as yet. If I did I’d probably continue what I have been practicing in the last couple of months, establishing good habits, mainly along the lines of exercise and housekeeping. Happy 2014!

  • vthorne


  • helena catt

    My word for 2014 is enthuse – chosen while reading your happiness project and a desire to bring more enjoyment to many things and using your idea to start with the feeling. In 2013 my word was quest and it worked really well to set me off on a series of explorations socially, creatively and physically. My 2012 word didn’t really work and I can’t remember what it was. In 2011 I chose dance as a metaphor for being flexible and light hearted which kind of worked. 2010 (connect) didn’t work and my first was in 2009 – a year of great chance for me when I used ‘what next?’ and it served me very well at the many decision junctures I encountered that year

  • Bonnie

    Mine has been “balance” for the last few years. Balance.

  • Andy Mair


  • kiwibelle999

    I’ve chosen EMBRACE as my first year of choosing a theme/word to live by.

  • Annette

    Purpose: What is my purpose? What is my goal? In my Junior year of high school, my teacher made this our class theme, which was appropriate because it was the year we’d make our choices for which colleges and universities to apply to for undergrad. However, the idea has stuck with me ever since (almost 10 years later) and helps bring me focus, especially in a difficult moment or period in my life. For each day, month, year, and sometimes sections of each day and for small moments, I try to remind myself to give meaning to what I’m doing and saying and to be the best I can be. The path is not always easy and has frequent bumps, but I know that I’m doing my best and getting the most from my life.

  • Anne

    Here is a list that may give you inspiration:

    I’ve read it and now I’m contemplating clean, nourish, strong, positive, invest, enthusiasm, cultivate, grow and commit…

  • sandy

    I am planning on being more mindful in 2014. Less distraction and more being in the present moment! Also my mantra is poing to be Abundance!!, Being grateful for all the abundance already present in my life and for manifesting more in all areas of my life!!

  • Mimi Gregor

    A few weeks ago, I read the book “In Praise of Slowness” by Carl Honore. It had a profound influence from the get-go. Previously, I would have done several things art once, doing all of them in a mediocre fashion. Now I uni-task whenever I can, do a better job of whatever I am doing, and feel more relaxed at the end. So MY word for the year is “SLOW”.

  • To start, The Happiness Project found me in my lowest moments last year and was the perfect initiator of important changes. So humble thanks!!!
    Last fall we bought a 200 year old farm house, and I’ve discovered a peculiar source of happiness for me is raising the goats and ducks and chickens. We have an orchard and a garden as well as the livestock, all of which I know nothing about raising!

    My word for the year would have to be “GROW.” Not only do I love te idea of all the growing happening in the farmyard, I am endeavoring to grow personally in my knowledge of how exactly to tend this wonderful crazy place & to grow in my art and in my soul and in my relationships.

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so happy to hear that my work was helpful during a tough time.

      What a great idea for a theme – especially living on a farm!


    I have had enough of carrying fourth extra pounds but I am enough and don’t need to change.

  • Elizabeth

    How about “simpler” as your theme? I was thinking this might be a good one, and then your post circled back to the idea of simplicity. Kismet?

  • alcatch

    Smarter. As in work smarter, not harder. And dress smarter. Not more expensively, not more formally. Just right for the occasion and with a twist.

    • Nancy

      My word is “smarter” too! A little more thought, a little more preparation, a little more research and observation. Reading “Before and After” is definitely on my list!

  • Chris

    Mine is going to be “DO” as in “Not try, but Do!”

  • kimlw

    love the idea of a descriptive word for the coming year. instead of coming up with a theme or resolutions, i like to make a “to-do” checklist, so i can check off items throughout the year:

    it allows me to see tangible evidence of the things i’ve accomplished, no matter how small or insignificant they are!

  • William Colmenares

    Why not “Grit” as defined by Angela Lee in her famous TED Talk. Grit = Passion + Perseverance. Happy 2014 !

  • Maggie Raptis

    This year I want my theme to be Full. I want to embrace both the active meaning, to fill, and the passive, being full. Meaning I will fill our lives with fun and happy and enriching experiences but also the meaning of enough. Even though I can work for more, what I have is enough too. My kids make our house Full. Good, real food can make me Full. I can be Full of Love.

  • AnnE

    I enjoy your writing. You are insightful and encourage others to be insightful, too.
    JOY is my 2013 word… I was so consumed by getting work done, being on time, and having things perfect that I had forgotten “joy is in the journey”. Joy has been front and center in my life this year.
    DISCOVER is my 2014 word…. I’ve been discovering inspirational works, and Buddha challenges us to “discover your world, and with all your heart give yourself to it.”
    Happy New Year!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Great ideas!

  • Linda Bieker


  • Life is perfect

    Yes, and… Those are my two words for 2014. ‘Yes, but’ stops, ‘yes, and’ goes forward! So this year it is all about “YES, AND…”

  • Susan

    I, too, am blank – and time is running out! For 2013, my word was “trust”. I’ve also had the word “joy”. So there you have a couple words for your consideration!

  • Sandy J

    Appreciation – It is interesting. I was looking forward to 2013 being over and 2014 starting fresh. I had it in my head that 2013 was such a terrible year, just because of a few bad things happened. When I looked at my facebook timeline and saw all of the really wonderful things that happened in 2013, it far outweighed the negatives. I want to focus on appreciating all of the good things in my life!

  • anricca

    I’m starting this year with my word being “commitment”. Like the word love it has many degrees and many variations. I’m going to lower my expectations so I can meet the commitments I make. I’m not going to run five miles, I’ll walk two first. I got a Uke for my birthday this month and instead of expecting to play dueling banjos…I’ll learn twinkle twinkle first. I will do it. In 2015 I will look back and say…WOW

  • KC

    You’ve got to have CHARITY- in all its various meanings. This year, in honor of the Man of the Year, let’s take it to the streets.

  • Barb K

    Mine is enoughness! When I see something I want but don’t really need, I tell myself that I have enough and to be happy with what I have.

  • Anna

    Like Kristi, I was thinking “Dare Greatly” also, but perhaps “Courage” is more accessible. Our greatness is unleashed by the simplest acts of courage.

  • Eve

    I’m in Bogota on a family vacation and have been thinking about the New Year and theme. And my word is NEW… Talking to a new man that we started dating in December, pretty new. We decided to start doing something new, for each of us, once a month. As simple as a recipe to cross country skiing to going to a new museum.

    In addition, to the new adventures with the new man. I’m also working on a new career as a writer which also manifested itself at the end of December. And doing a new triathlon in April… The word new manifested itself from 2013 and it will be in full force in 2014.

  • Ashley E

    I am focusing on FUN. So many times I get wrapped up in details and little things and forget to take a step back and enjoy the ride 🙂

  • Gay

    Attention. I suppose that is another way of saying “Present” or “Be here now”. I want to get attention to my life.

  • Judy

    I usually don’t do this – but I just had to respond. I just finished a women’s book study, the book was “My One Word” by Mike Ashcroft. It fits perfectly into what you do with your one word or phrase. My one word is “strength” since I recently broke my ankle, and there are days I need strength to get through. Some other ones that were chosen – begin – release – focus – I could go on – but you should check out the book for other ideas. Good luck.

  • Steph

    I’m borrowing from Kris Carr and setting intention this year with the word EASE. It’s time for a year without struggle 🙂

  • Daphné’s French Touch

    Dear Gretchen, Thank you for this interesting post, that made me think all morning. I tried to read all the comments, and could only be impressed by how engaged your readers are today! That reveals (in my opinion) how much our society needs a sense of value in our personal lives, and to live by them, focusing our efforts toward what we believe is noble yet relevant in our modern lives. I recall that as a child, a teenager, and a young adult, my memories of having a fulfilled life were always when I was truly passionate about the context I was living in. 2014 will to me be the year of PASSION. Living with passion, putting passion in my relation to events, people, places. Thank you and happy passionate new year!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific word!

  • Lynette

    I debated about Be and Nurture and Celebrate…I even thought about Pause and Connect and Forward. When I found the word Nourish and it just felt right. Nourish my soul. Nourish relationships. Nourish my children. Nourish my mind. Nourish this year.

  • Amy Benton

    Faith. In all areas of my life. Practice it, live with it and embrace it. Faith.

  • Paige

    My word from 2012 was Clarity, which I have thought of repeating in 2014. It incorporates the ideas of simplicity, prioritization, mindfulness and contentedness. All of which are qualities that I need to work on improving…

  • Ann

    Create. As in create your reality, don’t live in a reactive mode. Create, as in do some hands on work like painting or a craft of some kind; gardening, etc. It is a very satisfying thing, which I haven’t made time for in several years.

  • juhli

    I’ve picked mine and it is MORE – more exercise for body and mind, more getting on with it (tasks, projects), and more celebration with family/friends and of the seasons/holidays/life in general. I can be too introverted and retirement means I need to find ways to engage with life MORE.

  • Sara Shabtai

    I’m having some trouble with mine too! My life has recently taken a different turn than expected and I’d like to stop comparing myself to my peers constantly. Any ideas?

    • Ann


      • Sara Shabtai

        Thank you so much! That’s brilliant!

    • Robin Hunter

      I don’t have a one word for this concept but “Run my own race” is one of my personal commandments

      • Sara Shabtai

        I love that one! Do you have any more info on that commandment? I would love some more inspiration!

        • Robin Hunter

          My thought process is that you can always find someone who does more, has more or is better than you in some way and that becomes a negative thing in terms of motivation. On the other hand if you focus only on your own improvement you can motivate yourself to keep going. A couple of years ago I weighed 30 pounds more than I do now. I increased my exercise slowly over a 6 month period. Some weeks that meant adding in 5 minutes more on the treadmill, others it meant increasing the incline by one step. Later on it meant focusing on keeping my heart rate above a specific number. All very tiny steps that led to a big improvement for me that had nothing to do with competing with anyone else. Good luck with what ever challenges you are facing!

  • Amelia


  • Michele

    Check out Ali Edwards One Little Word for some inspiration. MY word for 2014 will be action.


    The theme word is ‘NOW’. If we take care of the minute we are now, we will have taken care of the whole year (this applies for diets, studying, fitness…). BURN TOMORROW. THE TIME IS NOW!

    • gretchenrubin

      In the last chapter of Happier at Home, I write about “Now,” and the phrase “Now is now,” which has always been very meaningful to me. Now is a very, very powerful word…

  • Martha

    My word for the year is balance. I have this visual image of myself as an old-fashioned juggler spinning plates on flexible sticks, trying to frantically keep them all going. I have been successful in simplifying my life over the last year or so (i.e. fewer plates) but I still need to make sure I get to all of them often enough to keep them spinning instead of crashing down around me!

  • Erin Singer Miller

    Peace. In Hebrew we say shalom beit, which means peace in the hom. That’s what i want to achieved this year. Shalom beit.

  • Betsy

    Gratitude. As in there is no better attitude than gratitude.

  • Meg

    I discovered the children’s book this Christmas and purchased it as well as introduced some of the staff at B&N to it, The Day The Crayons Quit,. I thought of it when I read Marycorbet post.

  • Laura Jean

    My friend just offered me “reinvention.” She says many of us started on one or two career paths and now have seen that we need to reinvent ourselves in order to be happier with our occupations. In other words, let’s have an avocation rather than a job that occupies our time and provides little sustenance for the soul.

  • Kate

    Mine is “Breathe”. In any aspect of my life if I ask myself what action/decision/approach would let me breathe the most I realise that it will also be the path to the most peace and happiness for me.

    • gilcarvr

      As I was reading thru all the prior comments above, my mind kept saying “these folks need to just breathe … ”

      I’ve never once pondered or thought about the need for a word for the year, but > Breathe < it is… for it ties in nicely with my last few years of just letting things and people go.

      I was up all night wrestling over the last words of my conversation with my mother yesterday. Regretting that I'd given her something else to be sad about on a day that we are supposed to wish each other joy. Mom is difficult, contentious, judgemental, manipulative and tiresome. She uses guilt to get what she wants from everyone around her. I need to learn to "just breathe" as she weaves her guilt laden web, instead of trying to fix her.

      I also need to "just breathe" as I let go of trying to be the social calendar coordinator for my many disparate circles of family and friends. I need to set them free as our lives mature and diverge.

      Just Breathe

  • Amanda

    Vibrant. Just saying the word makes you feel uplifted and inspired to do whatever it is you want to do and achieve.

  • Judith

    “Complete the cycle” is my mantra for 2014. In a life with many distractions I often leave tasks or projects half finished starting another in my enthusiasm to do more and am then frustrated and irritated by the results. This year I want to slow down a little and finish what I start whether it is a craft project, a work orientated task or clearing away after a meal.

  • J

    Choose is my word. I choose happiness. Any emotion, action or thought I indulge in I have chosen. This keeps me powerful in my own life, powerful enough to change if I choose to, and prevents me from blaming someone else for my problems.

  • Jennifer Plath Dierkhising

    DELIVER. I recently attended a coach/speaker who touched on this topic, and I latched on. Thought this is great for constant reminder, to stay on track with what you strive for. I was thinking something around RESULTS, finishing what you start, focus on the end result vs the steps or details in completing it. When I heard the word DELIVERY, I thought that encapsules much of what I’m striving for. “Just get it done”. Not to mention I’ll be DELIVERING my 3rd baby girl in March.

  • Kathleen Sweeney

    I thought it might be “sufficient” but I think it’s “enough”.

    • Amanda

      May I suggest plenty? It represents the perfect, abundant amount.

      • That’s a great one! especially with that lovely plosive ‘p’ at the beginning!

  • rlepkan

    How about new or change? If there is something you do on a regular basis, just change it up for once. Same brand of toothpaste? Buy something different even if it’s only just once. Take a different route to the library, change the order of your bedtime routine..etc. You may find something you like better, or really appreciate the way you already do things, if anything it will give your brain and body a change from the regular routine.

    • Anna B.

      I chose ‘Change’ for my 2014 word. This is the first year I am doing this, since reading Gretchen’s books last year. Change for me meaning changing my habits, saving my change, being the change I want to see in the world, stuff like that. 🙂

  • MaryK5

    Whimsy! Much in life goes better when you lighten up and look for the whimsicality around you.

  • Ryan H


  • KeLa

    Epic! That is my word for 2014. Cliché or not. In 30 days I will be 29 and up to this point I have only been struggling and living for the people around me. Now it’s my year. I’m done with being afraid of living my life. I started in the latter half of 2013 but in 2014 it’s full blown. I’ve applied for a Ph. d that I’m waiting on, I’ve made my expectations clear of those around me (I’m just a girl, not a punching bag-verbally speaking of course), when the music plays I’ll be dancing, when karaoke’s on I’ll be singing! What I’ve been doing isn’t working so it’s time to spice it up.

  • joellis

    Thank you for the question! I’ve never formally themed a year before. My word will be “essential” to focus on the essentials of relationships, living space, health. 2014 promises to be wonderfully challenging as I prepare for a major move and focus on improved health to keep up with young grandchildren. My essential reading begins with my pre-ordered paperback copy of Happier at Home which arrived yesterday!

    • gretchenrubin


      I hope you enjoy Happier at Home —

  • To borrow from Captain Jean-Luc Picard:
    “Make it So”

    • Leslie Koller

      This is perfect! I have so many days where I say, “I want to do this, but I’m not sure where to start.” Or, “I’d like this to be done in my house.” I can “Make It So.” Thanks!

  • Frabel62

    Simple…I want my life to be simple, yet full

    • Felice

      That’s what I’ve been thinking, Simplify. My life has been too complex and overburdened for so long that I feel in doing so much I cannot reach my full potential in the individual endeavors. I need to simplify so I can do more, be more, love more, share more, enjoy more, relax more.

      • Frabel62

        Felice, I can relate to your comment, I have been working on simplifying my life for quite a while, still not where I want it to be but much better than a couple years ago. Sometimes, you need to end relationships, get rid of “stuff” in order to enjoy life more. We are such a consumer society, we fill up our lives with so much stuff so it doesn’t feel empty when really, we are just making ourselves more dependant.
        Cleaning up the mental clutter by going back to basics makes a big difference.
        Good luck in your discoveries, you might be surprise what you find out 🙂 Happy New Year, Happy New You

  • Merry

    Not sure that I have a suggestion for your year long theme but I wanted to just chime in on the theme idea. A few weeks ago it seemed every thing I read and talked about was about maintenance…all aspects of it…self,house, relationships,etc.
    It was like it was my time to ponder maintenance

  • Amanda

    My word is Yoga: Yoga breathing (I have a habit of holding my breath), Embracing the concept “Yoga My Way Through My Day”: Do what I can, not what I can’t; push myself, but not into pain; be present; find my center; be myself; & do my daily yoga, because as hard as it si to get going to truly makes me happy & healthy.

  • Laura

    Mine is not so glamorous, but it really stuck out: Systems. For years, I’ve failed at follow through, but something started to click in 2013. I learned a bit more about motivation and flow, and I’m figuring out the ways to best maximize my energy. As a result, I’m creating systems that will help me keep my energy where I most need it: family, friends and work. I’m excited to start my first Happiness Project tomorrow!

  • Robin Hunter

    I’ve been doing one word resolutions for the year, for three years now. Each one has been a reaction to what is happening in my life and it now seems I also react to last years word. For the first year I choose Fun. It was the year after my Father passed away following a 3 year battle with dementia. My sister and I spent a lot of time in hospitals and dealing with Doctors and social workers during that period. The year after that was Organize. It seems that I had so much fun, my homelife became very messy and chaotic. The next year was Productivity, that was a result of starting a new business. 2014 will be the year of Balance. My focus on Productivity was very successful but it did make me realize I need more balance in my life between striving for goals, enjoying myself and being grateful for the incredible life I have.

  • Deanna

    I am between the following words: resilience, confidence, productivity, and self-love

  • BLOOM. As in “Bloom where you are planted.” Reach, lean, expand, open, receive, give. Sometimes life’s soil is rich with nutrients, sometimes stripped and barren, sometimes there is drought, sometimes there are floods. And sometimes, the sun shines, the birds sing, the worms wriggle and optimal conditions prevail. Whatever the conditions in 2014, I am determined to BLOOM. Your blog has enriched the soil in my garden with so many wise and wonderful explorations. Thanks for adding to my optimal conditions for growth.

    Happy New Year to you and all your readers. It’s been invigorating to follow your compelling posts and their thoughtful responses.

  • Mike E. West

    Invest. It works for all things, not just money. Every investment has its risks, but the outcomes can be incredible.

  • AnneD

    What about BE as a theme?

  • Diane Medici

    My word for 2014 is ” Powerfully” I intend to live my life powerfully this year, to have great effectiveness in all areas.

    • Diane Medici

      My kids and I have also chosen a family theme ” Do It Now” will be the focus of 2014 … we are working on eliminating procrastination. I am at the office and just finished printing out little signs with that theme, that we will post all around the house tomorrow.

  • Sherri Gibson

    Mine is going to be MORE….more kindness…more patience…more exercise…you get the picture!

  • trish

    My word would be “HOPE!” 2014 is the year for HOPE…. HOPE for a more organized home and office place! HOPE for a reconciliation with my youngest daughter and her husband! Hope for PEACE in my life and more energy to enjoy life as it is!

  • Jacqi Strauch

    I love this idea! My word for this year is “conscious”. I want to simply be more conscious of my thoughts and actions and believe by doing so I will be able work on all the areas of my life I’d like to improve. It applies to so many things: health, wealth, productivity, relationships, confidence, etc. I want to be more of an active member in creating positive outcomes in my life, rather than living each day passively.

  • Marie

    My word is “daily”. It’s the small things we do daily that have more effect on our lives than the big things we do once-in-a-while.

  • nancy lubin

    I ask my ‘Revolutionary Resolutions’ students to make sure their theme has enough sensory stimulation to draw them forward into the heart of what their theme means to them. How would you like to be bigger? for example, what would that ‘bigger’ feel , taste smell like?

  • Shelby

    My word for this year is “Happiness”. After struggling with depression and other trials this next year I really want to focus on doing things and achieve goals that bring me happiness. Not just thing that bring me temporal happiness but inner-peace as well. That’s what I’m looking forward to most this year.

  • Stephanie E

    I’ve been thinking about this all day and have come up with 3 different words:

    1. Wait-I tend to react quickly to things and if I can intervene wait, even a minute or so, I usually handle them better.

    2. Deliberate-It’s easy for a small misstep to cause somewhat of a calamity. For example I locked myself out of my apartment, without a phone, while getting my laundry in the laundry room next door. Now whenever I’m doing something I try to be very deliberate with my thoughts and actions.

    3. Kindly-wise-I came across this term in Wallace Stegner’s book “The Big Rock Candy Mountain” and it’s used to describe the mother and how she deals with the hard men the father is friends with. I often ruminate on this term and also the reverse; wisely-kind.

    Happy 2014 and see you on January 22 in San Francisco!

  • marissamuffin

    Last year my word was Forward. This year, I’m aiming to live more Intentionally. I really wish your new Habits book was out, that would be a big help I’m sure! 🙂

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! Hold that thought until 2015.

  • Serena


  • BeccaB

    How about: “Choose” or “Decide.”

    After all, so much about happiness comes down to mindful, purposeful decision-making. Choosing to be happy instead of the alternatives, and choosing how best to accomplish that. Habits, too, revolve around choices. 🙂

  • Sue


  • Susan

    Habits? Discipline? Either would go with your new book.

  • Chris

    I just read “January” the other day and have been letting words roll around, testing them out. I’m thinking ” celebrate” because it’s something I’ve forgotten how to do. As a kid, you celebrate every holiday and milestone. You anticipate the joy of it. For me, that word seems to capture the feeling of excitement and play. Maybe it will make me a more fun person to be around–and happier.

  • Wendy

    Exuberance for life and what all that it offers!

  • Carol


  • Vicki

    I never picked a word before for a year, but this year it is “outside.”

  • Rose

    Gentle. With others and with myself! And the planet!

  • Love Sun Valley

    Reading all the previous ideas is invigorating! Thanks for sharing! This is the first time I’ve joined the blog. And it gives me an attitude of gratitude for the connection. Gratefulness is my theme but I want an action verb, so “I am grateful” will carry me thru some difficult relationships and life changes in 2014.

  • Stephanie

    My word for 2014 is Freedom. To me this means good health, so I have the freedom to enjoy the world around me with my family. It means financial freedom, to gain the freedom from monetary constraints and take care of others around me. It means the freedom to relax and let the future unfold and know I can not control everything. To encourage and support my 2014 goals I am beginning my own Happiness Project. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Cecile

    Mine will be acceptance, tolerance, I am far too quick to judge and criticise and I want to change!

  • Jen

    “Speak my Truth”, because I need my voice to accurately represent the real me, I need to be true to myself, I need to be accepted for who I actually am, not for what I think others want to see. This all means I need to KNOW MYSELF, accept myself, love myself. -Those who matter won’t mind, those who mind don’t matter.-

    You have some wise readers out there; I was inspired by reading the comments. “Listen”, “Voice”, and “Make It So” especially resonated with me.

  • Vivian

    ” and time is running out.” You just gave me my theme. How about “Patience”? You can be present, listen, have empathy, and time for color, finishing, forbearance, and all manner of things, if you allow for patience.

  • Jeanne

    My word for 2014 is NEW. New experiences and new people. Like you, I can get caught up and comfortable in my routines. Not a lot of pressure though (first and foremost, I need to be Jeanne). I just want to be open to trying new things every now and then. I’m posting my art on a few new sites this year and may start volunteering and blogging. So that’s a good start. I love the people and experiences in my life now, but there is room for more and different things too. Make new friends but keep the old…

  • Gaurav

    Balance is the word that comes to my mind. It can include topics like work/life balance.

  • Annette

    Purpose: What is my purpose? What is my goal? In my Junior year of high school, my teacher made this our class theme, which was appropriate because it was the year we’d make our choices for which colleges and universities to apply to for undergrad. However, the idea has stuck with me ever since (almost 10 years later) and helps bring me focus, especially in a difficult moment or period in my life. For each day, month, year, and sometimes sections of each day and for small moments, I try to remind myself to give meaning to what I’m doing and saying and to be the best I can be. This past year, I immigrated to the Netherlands to keep pursuing my passion for archaeology (and pursue a PhD), writing and language teaching. The path has not always been easy and has frequent bumps, but I know that I’m doing my best and getting the most from my life.

  • Annette

    Purpose: What is my purpose? What is my goal? In my Junior year of high school, my teacher made this our class theme, which was appropriate because it was the year we’d make our choices for which colleges and universities to apply to for undergrad. However, the idea has stuck with me ever since (almost 10 years later) and helps bring me focus, especially in a difficult moment or period in my life. For each day, month, year, and sometimes sections of each day and for small moments, I try to remind myself to give meaning to what I’m doing and saying and to be the best I can be. This past year, I immigrated to the Netherlands to keep pursuing my passion for archaeology (and pursue a PhD), writing and language teaching. The path has not always been easy and has frequent bumps, but I know that I’m doing my best and getting the most from my life.

  • Valerie


  • Sadye

    This year, I want to live by “spend less, give more.” The spend less is definitely about money; give more is about being a more generous person overall (whether that’s helping others, giving them the benefit of the doubt, etc.).

  • Allison Pollard

    I heard “Astonishing” from the Little Women musical earlier, and it hit me–my 2014 will be Astonishing. Do more things I love and a few things that push my boundaries.

  • Jennifer Smith

    thats my theme 🙂

  • CKR

    I’m going with ‘Simplify’. I spent so much of 2013 stressing about lots of things, many of which would not have been so stressful had I simplified my approach or response to them. I want to simplify my approach to home, health, and work by focusing on the most important things in life and the things that are likely to increase my and my family’s happiness. And to help keep my focus, I just ordered the Kindle Healthier at Home.

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! I hope you enjoy it. Simplicity is a big theme – and the fact that simplicity is surprising complex…

  • jenni

    Present. My intent this year is to be fully present in every situation/setting.

  • Karen

    My personal word is “essences”

  • Lori

    Simple peace

  • Toni Tiu

    “Simpler” 🙂

  • Hopeful!

  • Shelly Cunningham

    My word of the year will be “balance”. It’s cliche, but it’s truly something I need to work on. Meeting the needs of my family while meeting my own needs… Keeping a clean house while enjoying time with my boys… It’s all about picking and choosing and “balancing” work with fun. I can’t wait to hear what you picked!

  • Fuzzy

    My word for this year is ‘Cull’ in all areas

    • Fuzzy

      oops hit the wrong button Cull as in im a horder and I want to get rid of so much stuff so whoever comes after me doesn’t have to deal with it

  • Carina

    Intentional. But my hubby has just said he will play some new kid games we bought for the grandkids with me…and I love them…the grandkids and the games…so I won’t elaborate on my word…gotta run!

  • Donne Davis

    My word for 2013 was “teamwork” which helped me get over my thinking I have to do everything by myself. And in 2012 it was “expansion.”

    • Lisa

      Oh, I love the word ‘expansion’… so many places to go with that.

      • Donne Davis

        I’m still trying to choose a word for 2014. The 2 that come to mind are “focus” and “presence.”

  • previous years’ words: BOLD (2011). UNTETHERED (2012). WAVE (2013). this year’s word: RISK. i absolutely love “word of the year” discussions. thank you for starting this one, gretchen.

  • Ardys Zoellner

    ‘baby steps’ my goal for this year is to improve my painting but to do that I first need to get into the studio and paint. So my baby steps are the tiniest things I do to move toward my goal, even getting into the studio for half an hour counts! some days my step will be to prepare a canvas or buy materials, or prepare my reference materials. I’ve learned that I can achieve big things with many tiny steps.

    • gretchenrubin

      In my habits vocabulary, I call this the Strategy of Starting. Just starting is hard, but just starting is enormously powerful. Good luck!

  • Gloria

    I like the word “Begin.” I have a lot of things if like to do, be, learn… and I find that sometimes the hardest thing to do is to begin. I procrastinate. I do the laundry, organize the house, run errands, take a nap, watch TV, and I think a lot about beginning. Every now and then I do begin and then wonderful things happen like I learn to can plum jam, I get walking five miles a day and feel so good about it, I make my own greeting cards or iron the cloth napkins. I think it’s also why I enjoy the New Year and Chinese New Year and September which is the new school year. I also love the beginning of each season because it’s a new beginning and somehow that feels so refreshing. Warmest regards as you begin this new year. I look forward to continuing to read your work.

  • Aunty Penny

    Might sound a bit silly, but my word for this year will be WORK, or EFFORT.
    I’ve had nearly two years out of the workforce for travel (and a bit of
    depression), and have only recently gotten back to work, and I’m finding it
    invigorating. I’ve spent a lot of time being too relaxed, and letting myself get away without putting in much effort, just sort of ‘drifting’ (as our guru Gretchen once said in a post I have re-read many times –

    So this year I want to WORK. To me that means: getting a permanent job, pursuing my casual and volunteer jobs that I love, better fitness, and putting effort into things I usually procrastinate over. I will be kind to myself, but without always giving in to my lazy demons.

    An area I want to work on, but which scares me, is friendships.

  • Lisa

    Freedom! I want to live in the freedom of being ‘free’… free of regret, free of comparing where I am in life, free of angst. I want to give myself the freedom to embrace life and joy. Freedom to take on new projects I have wanted to do for so long. Just the word itself points me in the direction of excitement.

  • Gloria Ives

    Personal power and ownership thereto- self reliance and
    Voice. All these things tie in to listening to the still small voice within
    As we listen we get a sense for our personal power and whether it’s enough to start an engine, or it sits there dead on the tracks, a metaphorical caboose, along in someone else’s. Ride. I used to think of power as a bad thing. To be feared and to want it and have it was a looming force. Now I know that without it, there exists a great darkness within, and that in the dark, nothing can develop, except a photograph of what is, which is nothing without light, the light being locomotion, impetus, force, power.
    And the darkness being fear. Nothing can develop in fear.

  • Sazzie

    I picked TRANQUILITY as my 2014 theme. For me this means being able to cut through all of life’s noise and to focus

  • Sazzie

    I picked TRANQUILITY as my personal theme this year. This means being able to cut out life’s noises and remain calm and focused despite setbacks and challenges. It also means finding peace in my God and trust that everything will work out for good.

    • gretchenrubin

      A beautiful word.

  • metro_member

    I need to organize myself, my home and my life better. Organize. Better.

  • Jacomijn

    So much inspiration, great to read al those words!

    I picked DIS-COVER. I love the double layer to it. Discover new ideas, new aspects of life, love and living… And if I take the word in a literal way, it means taking of the cover of things and see it in the way things really are. Seeing the bare essence. To me dis-cover has this crisp, white, promising of the 1st page in a new journal.

  • EB

    A wonderful idea! Tempted as I am by maryk5’s idea of whimsy, for me it has to be ODYSSEY. I already know it will be a year of change and upheaval and I think it will help to regard it as a mythic quest of trial and change ending in a triumphal transformation.

  • Anna Blackmon

    My word this year is directly tied to last year.

    Last year was Foundations. I had a lot of areas in my life where I said things were important to me but I wasn’t working on them. That word ended up being prophetic in ways I couldn’t have imagined and I moved all the way across the country as a result of realizing that if I didn’t take my goals seriously no one else was going to either.

    So this year is Burgeon. “To grow quickly, to put out new growth” I am looking to explode out with new life on the fountains I built last year.

  • Eileen Smith McDermott

    Kindness…something that changes the one giving and the one receiving…

  • Shannon Crow

    I also have not chosen, but it is between a narrowed list of: nurture, kindness, flow and spontaneous.

  • LouAnn

    Grace –I just finished writing about it on my blog

  • Lee Ward

    Last year’s word of focus was Balance. This year will be Forward. I might still throw balance into a meditation now and then!

  • Rosemary

    My word is peace—within myself and in the world. I was watching Deepak Chopra and De Rankin talk about how to heal within. This word resonates with me especially this year as I am using this as my mantra.

  • barbie

    Last year my word was Stretch—-I will stretch my mind and my body by learning new things

    This year my word is Mindful…….i will present in all that I do

  • Tabitha W. Bishop

    Mine is simply to “Live”

  • Dee

    I was thinking of Serventhood. Covers alot of things in my life, family, faith and friendliness.

  • Dee

    I should always use spell check. My word is Servant hood

  • Bonnie Small

    Often we get so caught up in the hamster wheel mentality that we forget to enjoy, well, anything; family, friends, nature and even the absurdity of the situation or circumstance which causes the majority of our glum expressions. Milton Berle said “Laughter is an instant vacation.” I think he was on to something. 🙂

  • Stapler Confessions

    My word this year is Growth. I hope for personal growth in learning new things, growing my career and my business, growing my net worth by paying down debt and contributing to my IRA, and growing our family!

  • Karen Kerr Hardy

    I chose Freedom. Freedom from the past, from hurt, from pettiness, from self-doubt, from needing more, from anger, from anything that will make me less. Freedom from the little voice that says that I don’t measure up. Freedom to choose what I want, what I need, what is best in My life. Freedom to live on My terms. I am a clean living Christian Woman and I claim the freedom to live like one without worrying every minute if I am offending anyone.


    awakened alchemy, are my words 4 the year, representing the illumination of the soul as we awaken to our inner truth turning our lives into gold!

  • Mj


  • uncadiane

    My word for the year is “engage.” I want to make a special effort to become “engaged” in my life, to become “involved” in causes and projects that interest me. I have already been doing this at some level, but this year I want to do even better!

  • Brandon Snead


    I have set my goals and objectives for the first quarter. Persistence in my objectives is the ultimate goal. After three months of doing the work, I can look back and decide what needs to be altered to help me reach my goals.

    This approach removes my constant worry that I’m not doing enough (failing at life). Objectives define success each week. I will persist in my objectives and record the results (internal feelings and outward results). My previous habit was to: 1) set reasonable goals and objectives, 2) succeed in objectives, 3) get excited and challenge myself to do more and more until my objectives are huge, 3) fail to meet new objectives, 4) quit…and feel like a failure. This time I’m not allowing myself to raise the bar until three months have passed. My objectives are set and they are attainable. I’m ready for success.

  • Darla Kinney Scoles

    I actually had chosen a two-word resolution, or theme – “Kindness, always.” Really, the single word “Kindness.” would make a great theme for 2014. I intend to extend kindness to all others, but also to myself, my health, and my heart this year – as well as taking note of kindnesses I see around me and posting one each day.

  • Emily Nghiem

    Forgiveness. The best quote I ever read about Forgiveness: “Unforgiveness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” When we don’t forgive, we make ourselves miserable. The #1 issue causing people to be unhappy is comparing ourselves to others and not forgiving differences that create resentment and ruin relationships.

  • Connor


  • Kenneth Hunter

    “Attention”. That seems to be my word for the year. I say “seems” because rather than doing resolutions I take the first weeks of each January and go through the simple process taught in “One Word That Will Change Your Life.” That involves brainstorming to get what my brain thinks is my real Need hidden amongst all my “Wants”, then opening myself to Listen for guidance from my Source, then implementing that One Word throughout my work, relationships, development and spirituality.

  • Linda Zeigler

    I’m feeling a lot of energy and curiosity around the word acceptance. Not from a “what-ever-will- be-will-be” standpoint but becoming more generous with myself and others around our intentions. I’m wanting to explore the idea of accepting rather than resolving,

  • VicAnne

    My “phrase of the year” is No Expectations. While expectations can give us things to look forward to (a vacation), or to motivate us (wearing a bikini on a vacation this coming summer), I’ve found that expectations more often lead me to a very bad place: I expect to get certain things done at work each day — but I work in a university department and, with a bunch of faculty running amok, my day never goes as planned. So I’m going to stop expecting to get anything specific done when I walk into work every morning. Or: I expect that I should spend my time at home writing (which seems to be the only talent I have and the only way I feel I might find purpose and love), but pressuring myself to spend my free time in that way keeps me from looking at all the daily tasks I do as anything other than a time waste.

    I noticed this past week that if I let go of expecting to write (I really don’t have any good ideas at this point in my life, anyway, and there are plenty of other people who write at least as well as I do), the daily rhythm of my life becomes less stressful and more enjoyable. Gotta make my lunch for work tomorrow? No problem! And not only that, giving myself the freedom to sit on my butt and watch TV or play with my cat has made me — gasp — happier.

    I’m recuperating from a bad bout of depression last year that almost landed me in the hospital (but instead landed me in the intensive outpatient program for two weeks), and I’ve realized that I don’t want this to ever repeat itself, so I’m doing a lot of reflecting to get the ick out of my life. In the previous comments, “ALL” used the phrase “Freedom from expectations”, and that’s what I’m looking for — some freedom, so I can stop beating myself up from all the things I expect to do and don’t get done.

    Thus endeth my oversharing to a bunch of complete strangers! Funny how an enthusiastic author with good books (of the kind that make you think) can bring different people together to discuss what matters to them most. And best wishes with all of your words for 2014.

  • Heather

    I chose Trust.
    In Myself
    My Intuition
    That everything happens exactly as it should
    That my happily ever after is still out there

  • jenny

    I love the idea of picking a theme for the year! My theme for 2014 is love. Act in ways that demonstrate love for myself. Express love so my loved ones know how I truly feel. Show love to all I encounter, strangers even. Love the environment. Choose love over fear. 2014 will be a total love-fest for me 🙂

  • happyinminneapolis

    ‘Connect’ is my word for the year. Connect to God, Connect to myself, Connect to friends (more so on a face-to-face basis, rather than electronically), Connect to my husband more intimately and authentically, Connect with my children in a more loving way, Connect with the various communities that I belong to by serving them, rather than just being involved in my own inner world. Realize and appreciate how we are all connected and have influence over each other, in both good and bad ways, and opt to intentionally behave positively toward everyone in all my connections with them!

  • MKSP


  • Like An Apple


  • Suzanne Hard

    Focus. As a person with a freelancey-type occupation, and with lots of interests, I think I will have good results with narrower focus this year. However, as a law prof once said to me, “Lawyers have bathtub brains; we fill them up with the details of whatever we are working on, and then drain them out for the next thing we must focus on.” Perhaps this is why law attracted me. While I don’t practice much now, I am still a serial learner. Whether I will be successful with pursuing more depth, and less breadth, in all areas of life this year, will be an engaging question for me.

    • gretchenrubin

      Interesting image!

      • Suzanne Hard

        Of course, the problem is picking the things to focus on when you have choice.

  • Amynic

    My word is “fearless”. I’ve been afraid to speak my mind, always worrying about someone else’s feelings or how I’m being perceived. This year, I plan to speak my truth (in a respectful way, of course) and hopefully feel in better alignment with my true needs. The word came to me awhile back when I saw a bracelet that said “fearless” and I knew it was my word!

  • Heather N. Paxton

    Last year, I chose “opulence,” but really the theme of the year was “hoarding.” What I learned: “Shabby chic exists, but there’s no such thing as shabby opulence.” This year, I’m getting ready to build a home. I saw the heading “Help Me. My Mind Is a Blank.” I decided then that my word for 2014 would be “blank.” I don’t know exactly what the house will look like — the architect will fill in the details. I don’t know where all the things I’ve collected will fit — my friend who is an interior designer will help with that. (He may think some things are best left at the curb. I’m not sure how I’ll react to that, but we’ll see.) I’m not good at asking for help. This is the year that has to change. This isn’t a project I can do alone. 2014: fill in the blank.

  • Bridget

    I chose “enterprise.” I’m a science teacher who does a lot with space science, so I’ve always loved the names for NASA’s space shuttles (Endeavour, Discovery, Challenger) and other missions (currently, Curiosity). “Enterprise” was the first space shuttle. defines enterprise as, “a project undertaken or to be undertaken, especially one that is important or difficult or that requires boldness or energy.”

  • Kay McCarter Pflueger

    Commit… I chose a scripture verse from Proverbs as my theme for 2014. ” Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

  • mgmichlein

    I pick “APOPHATIC’: Objects, beings, experiences for which I have no words in my vocabulary. Things I am in relationship to that have no words to finitely explain the relationship or insight. Some things are just known or sensed and accepted for what they are … especially that which makes me happy. The word is very old referring to differences in two religious approaches to God; one religious approach believes that God can be described in words and that He reveals himself to us, the other approach believes he is not to be known and indescribable in words. Please accept my layman’s explanation of the term and enjoy the thought. I plan to be OPEN to more than that which can be defined that makes me happy this year. I look forward to the journey.

  • maxwell ivey

    Hi gretchen; I know I’m coming in late here, but how about bolder instead of bigger? i’m thinking expansion instead of reach or stretch but that isn’t quite the word i want either. happy new years, max

  • curlygirl

    My first commandment and suggestion for you is “EACH ONE MATTERS”. Whether it’s eating a cookie, taking time to say a kind word, making an apology, or trying to decide if it’s okay to set your paperwork on the coffee table just this once, I’ve found the mantra “each on matters” to be extremely helpful.

  • Sharon

    Kindness is what comes to mind. I love the concept of random acts of kindness. I believe that the most effective kindnesses come from a loving, generous heart; however, I would vote for kindness even when we aren’t feeling it.

  • stacey

    Last year was KINDNESS. And it extended out to the whole family, including “kindness hearts” the kids earned in the first 1/2 of the year by doing anything notably kind. It also tied to my giving goals in that I donated more $ than I normally would have and supported other people’s causes, not just my own fave charities.
    For 2014 it is QUIETUDE as in Talk softly and gently. Maintain a state of peace and
    quiet. choose to remain calm in words and actions. Links with solitude and reflection
    Our family is very loud in many senses of the word: lots of yelling, activity, hyper-reactivity, overreactions. I need to bring more peace into my life and my family’s so QUIETUDE is the word to help me focus on that.
    I’ve loved this discussion! So many wonderful words for me to write down and consider in the coming years. Thank you!

  • AlaskaChick

    There are so many options but I’m choosing MOVE. After some injuries and finally retiring from my job, with my hubby about to join me, I will be moving my body for to be more healthy both physically and mentally, moving clutter out of the house and our lives so we can be free to pursue the next opportunity, moving us forward into our next life phase.

  • Creative One

    “Aunthenticity” is my word for 2014. I’ve been an Office Manager/Accounts Payable person (yawn) for the past ten years, despite being a Right-Brained, creative person. It’s steady job with a flexible schedule; perfect for my when our sons were young. I’m very grateful to have had the job; I know there are many who are not as fortunate. But, this company also has a lot of aggravating interpersonal drama between coworkers. So, now I want to get back to doing a more creative career that is more in line with the person who I am. I felt alive and so much happier when I utilized my degree in Art and my innate skills working at various artistic jobs- Cataloging artwork in the collection at LACMA (LA County Museum of Art), doing Visuals in Department Stores and working as an Artisan at an art bronze foundry helping to make make fine art sculptures. I’ve updated my resume & portfolio and this year I’m taking the leap!

  • Kelly B

    Modern Simplicity chose Curate as the word/theme for 2014. I loved it and adopted as my own for 2014. Here is the post that explains what it means to her.

  • xladydanger

    It was easy for me to choose a word this year because I’m just going with what I know I’m already being pushed towards. Less technology, more engagement. Less traffic, more walking. Less sickness, more pleasure. Less drama, more peace. My word this year is EMBODY because to me it means being in the moment, grounding myself, connecting and making friends with my body, living my spirituality, and generally walking my talk 🙂

  • weekswhite

    Inspiring to read so many great thoughts. My word/phrase is “Live simply” from the beginning of the quote by Gandhi. For me it refers to mindfulness, the breathe, de-cluttering both mind, body and physical space, eating whole foods, and consuming only the necessary.

  • Katie

    This has worked so well for me the past few years. This year it’s “courage”. Last year (spirituality) I had to be quiet and listen, this year it’s time to act.

  • Karol Ann


  • Laura

    I recommend the word “gratefully” – I think this is word that I am going to use this year so that I can always remember to count my many blessings.

  • Karen H. Phillips

    I’m repeating my word from last year: SIMPLIFY. I believe decluttering my life and home and finding the simplest ways to live and to do things can help me reduce it to the essence of who and what I love and believe.

  • Karen H. Phillips

    Found all the comments inspiring! Thanks, everyone.

  • Caroline Donahue

    I hadn’t thought of this before reading this post, but as soon as I read the newsletter, I knew my word for 2014 would be ENJOY.

    I am definitely an improvement junkie and always up to try something new and make a big list of things to cross off. Yesterday, I sat with friends on New Year’s day to plan 2014 and realized there wasn’t as much to improve. I was suspicious- almost disappointed. I’m dating someone wonderful and available, my job is going well, and the part of me that has always identified with struggle and trying to fight to the next level is a bit lost.

    So this year, I will learn to simply ENJOY. Thank you for inspiring this thought, Gretchen!

    • gretchenrubin

      LOVE this word.

      • Caroline Donahue

        Me, too! I’m so excited about this. I think it may be the biggest challenge yet. Can I enjoy things that I have worked so hard to achieve before rushing off to the next thing? Can I find a way to enjoy things that seem hard and not at all fun? I think this will be a game changer.

        Thank you so much for this conversation. It makes such a big difference.

  • Cheryl Gajowski

    Enjoy! Enjoy this moment right now. Find something to enjoy in ( most) everything.
    enjoy the day, the moment, the walk, food, company, your dog, your bed, the sunshine, the snow… It might be put negatively – stop whining, blaming ( yourself or anyone) wising your were somewhere else or something else, stop treating every new “good” habit as a stress.. Look, setting specific measurable goals has been a bust for me. And “enjoy” is not as vague as it may seem to some. It’s going to be a reminder both to be present in the moment, and to actively experience delight in small and large bits and pieces of daily life.

  • HKpowerStudio

    My 4th year choosing OLW…this year I chose PLAY. I was headed down a totally different path (recieve) but I did my writing practice based upon Christine Kanes WOTY ( as well as Ali Edwards OLW & PLAY came about after I released the other words I had in mind…

  • Guest

    This year my theme is “simple”

    Last year was the most tragic of my life with the loss of my twin sons. Of course it was also the best because they came into my life. But from terrible tragedy comes the realisation that life is short and unpredictable and that there is beauty in every day. This year I’m using my theme of “simple” to go back to the simple things in life. The love of my husband, good company, fresh food, our lovely animals, exploring our beautiful city, learning new skills and understanding that it doesn’t have to be extravagant to make us happy.

    • gretchenrubin

      What a terrible loss. Hang in there. “Simple” is such a beautiful word with which to approach the year.

    • peninith1

      Peace be with you. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Maddy

    My theme is “simple”

    Last year was the most tragic of my life with the loss of my twin sons. Of course it was also the best because they came into my life. But from terrible tragedy comes the realisation that life is short and unpredictable and that there is beauty in every day. This year I’m using my theme of “simple” to go back to the simple things in life. The love of my husband, good company, fresh food, our lovely animals, exploring our beautiful city, learning new skills and understanding that it doesn’t have to be extravagant to make us happy.

  • sandra

    Mine is ….. “simple” . That’s it – SIMPLE.

  • Joyce Acomb Larsen

    I am thinking of FOCUS for this year. Focus on the moment. Focus on my closest relationships, on the person I’m talking to. Focus on one thing at a time. Focus on the current project.

  • WRizzo

    Evolution. We are continually evolving whether we realize it or not. I hope to evolve in positive ways for myself, my family and my community.

  • Kira M. Newman

    Now. I get caught up too much in worrying, planning for the future, and forgoing pleasure for productivity, and I forget that the whole point is to be happy today.

  • Kristen

    I am choosing LESS as my word for 2014…less stuff (de-clutter), less rushing (better planning), less commitments (more me time), less stress (more happiness and peace), less weight (to cover those eternal fitness goals of mine)!

  • yogini


  • Melissa

    Last night at book club my friend told us that her motto for the year is “shed the shit”. Love it!

  • Barbara

    “Think”…..that is my chosen word. Not frivalous, not hasty, not rushed, not thoughtless, not half-hearted. “Think”,,,,,,a slower pace, a deeper stretch, meaningful, to be ‘all there’ in the moment and not being a step ahead of myself…… Thank you for helping to set my tone for this fresh new year/fresh new day!.

  • TrishC

    My word is SAVOR. I totally agree with Gretchen that the “Days are long but the Years are Short” My boys are now 15, 17 and 20 and I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. I want to “SAVOR” every moment I have with them now as I have already had one leave the nest and the other two will soon follow
    I also will turn 50 this year and I want to SAVOR the life my husband and I have built together and enjoy all our family, friends and career opportunities.
    It is a year of slowing down to SAVOR instead of always asking “What’s Next”
    Hope you all SAVOR this year as well!

  • Cynthia Z.


    Not at the expense of others, but to the benefit of me, which in turn benefits those I love. Your second splendid truth of happiness states that “One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.” I have focused far too much on the first part of the equation, and not enough on the second. Being selfish will actually provide balance.

  • ann

    Lighter. In attitude, in “stuff”, in weight, in spirit.

  • Gretchen

    Ownership – health, happiness, finances, future.

  • Tasha

    Mine is ACCOUNTABILITY. To myself. To my finances. To my work. To my relationships.

  • Maureen

    I’ve decided on Empower. Empower myself to take control of my own health and happiness. Empower others with knowledge and support to make their own best choices.

  • amyjokim

    My 1 word for this year is “collaborate” – for me this year will be about building partnerships and empowering teams to do their best work.

  • La

    My word is “flow”. I’d like to be in the state of flow more (see the Wikipedia page on it) and to go with the flow instead of fighting it. I like to see myself as water: taking the shape of the vessel I’m in and slowly eroding problems one drop at a time.

  • Kristen Boehmer


  • Chris Cade


  • Mary Keating

    “Spacebar” – “just as words would eventually lose their meaning if there were never a space between them, so life lived without any spaces or margin comes to feel like a lengthy run-on sentence,” writes Nicole Unice. Recently, I spend some time in reflection and realized that I was living life at a fast and furious pace; in short, I was always ‘busy.’ Responsibilities for family, spouse, children, work, volunteering, caring for aging parents and friendship seemed to run together like rain droplets in a vast and rapidly moving stream. With multiple transition moments on any given day, I found that I often had little room between ideas, thoughts and actions. Too often in 2013, I missed using my personal spacebar and thus missed moments to seek clarity, find meaning and deeply reflect on my thoughts and actions. As a fellow writer, I understand and appreciate the importance of a space bar when writing – it is a tool unlike any other on our keyboards. In 2014, my theme is ‘spacebar’ so my life is not just an endless series of runonsentencesthatclutterthemindandmakenosense.

  • Valerie


  • Mary Keating

    “Spacebar” – “just as words
    would eventually lose their meaning if there were never a space between them,
    so life lived without any spaces or margin comes to feel like a lengthy run-on
    sentence,” writes Nicole Unice. Recently, I spend some time in
    reflection and realized that I was living life at a fast and furious pace; in
    short, I was always ‘busy.’ Responsibilities for family, spouse,
    children, work, volunteering, caring for aging parents and friendship seemed to
    run together like rain droplets in a vast and rapidly moving stream. With
    multiple transition moments on any given day, I found that I often had
    little room between ideas, thoughts and actions. Too often in 2013, I missed
    using my personal spacebar and thus missed moments to seek clarity, find
    meaning and deeply reflect on my thoughts and actions. As a fellow writer, I
    understand and appreciate the importance of a space bar when writing – it is a
    tool unlike any other on our keyboards. in 2014, my theme is spacebar so
    my life is not just an endless series of

  • Mine is “Success”. I haven’t find it finantially yet and I wanna make it happen.

  • Mine is “Success”. Mostly financially. I wanna make it happen this year!

  • “Spacebar” –
    “just as words would eventually lose their meaning if there were never a
    space between them, so life lived without any spaces or margin comes to feel
    like a lengthy run-on sentence,” writes Nicole Unice. Recently, I spend
    some time in reflection and realized that I was living life at a fast and
    furious pace; in short, I was always ‘busy.’ Responsibilities for
    family, spouse, children, work, volunteering, caring for aging parents and
    friendship seemed to run together like rain droplets in a vast and rapidly
    moving stream. With multiple transition moments on any given day, I
    found that I often had little room between ideas, thoughts and actions. Too
    often in 2013, I missed using my personal spacebar and thus missed moments
    to seek clarity, find meaning and deeply reflect on my thoughts and actions. As
    a fellow writer, I understand and appreciate the importance of a space bar when
    writing – it is a tool unlike any other on our keyboards. In 2014, my theme
    is spacebar so my life is not just an endless series of runonsentencesthatclutterthemindandmakenosense
    I think I posted this earlier, but I was not logged in … feeling seriously social networking challenged this week 🙂

    • jowill

      Oh this is wonderful Mary!

  • My suggestion for you, if you haven’t picked one yet, is HAPPIER. 😀 How’s that?

    Meanwhile, my word theme for 2014 is Home. Check it out here:

  • Sherry

    Last year my woed was “enough” as in I have enough stuff! This year it will be “health” meaning take better care of my body.

  • Theresa Welch

    I’m a little late to the party….

    I actually have two words for this year and both are in homage to our host, Gretchen! The first is “word”. I’ve always loved to write and one of my first career goals was to be a writer. That’s since evolved and I’m a school librarian (very closely related!). After reading The Happiness Project (especially March about work), I’ve decided that I won’t fear failure and I will challenge myself and try my hand at writing. That coupled with my love of reading has my first word as: “words” – writing them, reading them and appreciating the power and beauty that they possess. I’ve started a blog ( and am toying around with ideas for possible books.

    My second word is “Better” – as is bettering myself, doing things better, feeling better, looking better, acting better. It again ties in with one of Gretchen’s ideas of “acting the way I want to feel.” So I’m hoping to improve in all areas of life.

    Happy 2014 everyone!

  • Love_Shine

    I love the book My One Word and the blog at to help with choosing my word instead of resolutions.
    It’s a fantastic resource for choosing your word toward actionable and fruitful results.

  • Love_Shine

    I love the book My One Word and it’s blog to help me choose my word instead of New Years resolutions. Its a great resource for picking your word toward actionable, fruitful results.

  • Nzreader

    Have you picked a word Gretchen? Can you add it to the post, there are so many comments! Mine is patience.

  • jowill

    I’ve decided that my word is “Reduce”. I am committed to reducing waste by recycling as much as possible; reducing my grocery bill by growing more produce; reducing my petrol bill by working more from home; reducing my expenditure by minimising purchases and challenging consumerism; reducing my ‘stuff’ by giving away things I no longer use. On a personal note I am committed to reducing my intake of food and alcohol; reducing my tendency to take on more responsibility than I need to; and as a person who replenishes by being at home, reducing my tendency to say ‘yes’ to an invitation when I really want to say ‘no’.

    It’s been great reading everyone’s ideas about their words, and personal stories behind their choices. Wishing everyone well with their commitments!

  • Kim

    Last year it was downsizing (me and my stuff) this year I choose stewardship.