Why a ‘Word Of The Year’ is so Powerful

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today marks the first full week we all experience of 2016! some of us may be feeling overwhelmed, confused where the time went, and/or beyond excited for what this year holds. i feel a touch of it all. this week i will be sharing some resources and exercises i have been utilizing to be intentional and prepared for the year ahead.

here is where to start:

1. close out the last year

i would encourage you to read my last post on questions to wrap up the previous year so you feel a sense of closure.

2. what makes you happy?

my husband gets full credit for having us go through this next process last year. create your personal happiness list! if you do no further goal setting (which is not necessarily recommended) at the very least, write down everything that makes you happy.

when we did this last year and again this year, we were surprised to see that from each of our lists, 90% of those happy things were occurring regularly. if you put this list together and realize that most of the things on your list aren’t happening frequently, it is time for some life changes (to which i would then recommend some serious goal setting)!

3. something to center you

what do i mean by ‘center?’ i don’t mean to make sure your balance is perfect or to tighten your core but rather something you can focus on throughout the year and be intentional about. the past few years, this centering thing has been a ‘word of the year’ for me.

last year, my word was capable (here is why) and holy cow was that the most perfect word for me. i called on that word hundreds of times when i was feeling inadequate, a lack of confidence or scared about an opportunity. i even considered using it again this year because of how powerful and useful i found it to be. i mean, there’s no rule about not using the same word twice!

as i was tossing this around in my brain, one word kept trying to poke through. this new word freaked me out a little and it’s because i do believe that “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, it’s that we are powerful beyond measure” – marianne williamson.

my word of the year for 2016 is G R O W. it freaks me out because i know this is my next step with this blog, with who i am as a business owner and who i am as a woman. it’s scary because as humans, we work so hard to be comfortable and hot dang, i was getting so comfortable. as eleanor said, that doesn’t build character though.

grow quote

although i am innately a creature of comfort, these past few years of traveling the world, expanding my mind and proving to myself that i am capable have demonstrated that growth far outweighs comfort in terms of reward. it’s one of those facts where you sort of wish it wasn’t true, much like eating vegetables is healthier than eating a dozen donuts.

how am i going to utilize this word, grow?

grow will be used as accountability for myself and whether i am maintaining (comfort) or reaching for that ‘powerful beyond measure’ thing (growing).

i have given my husband permission to ask me if the activities i am engaging in are helping me grow. this is mainly around the stupid social media scroll that sucks away my time or when my anxiety is making decisions as opposed to the very capable me.

personal development and growth have been part of my life since i entered social work land/education at the ripe age of 18 so i want to continue with this. it’s pretty freaking sweet that we are all capable of changing, developing and have the ability to grow. high five, humans!

i believe personal growth leads to deeper relationships but all relationships flourish when you are intentional with them. “grow” will also serve as a reminder to grow in the partnership and marriage my husband and i continue to create together.

so grab a mug of coffee/cocoa/champagne (depending on when you’re reading this) and let’s cheers to kicking off a ridiculously great 2016!

have you thought about creating a word of the year? i’d love to hear what it is and why you selected it!


  1. Elyse

    January 4, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Instead of separate ‘words’ my husband and I pick one word for both of us. Last years word was memories and 2016’s word is service. I’ll be doing a blog post about it tomorrow so you’ll have to check it out!
    Elyse recently posted…6 Books I Can’t Wait To Read in 2016

    • chelsea

      January 4, 2016 at 9:49 am

      oh i love that idea of a joint word, elyse! “Service” is such a great one, so excited to read more about it tomorrow!

    • Amberly

      January 4, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      I may steal your word of memories Elyse!! I’ve been finalizing my word for the year and haven’t fallen in love with any yet. But I LOVE that word and immediately had great ideas for make it work in my life this year.
      Amberly recently posted…Why You NEED To Make Your Spouse a Priority Every Day

  2. Amanda

    January 4, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I love those questions to close out last year. For looking ahead though, I’ve tried resolutions and a word of the year and neither were SUPER effective. This year, I decided to take it easy on myself and just in general, try to do my best. Instead, I did a meditation where I envisioned myself doing some of the things I hope to accomplish this year and in the spaces I want to be. Kicking butt at my job, being a good wife, buying a house and hopefully having a little one. Even if those things don’t happen, I like that I made time to really picture myself in all those roles. Kind of like a roadmap to my year, all in my mind.

    • chelsea

      January 4, 2016 at 10:17 am

      glad you liked the questions amanda, they were really helpful for me! sorry to hear that resolutions and word of the year wasn’t super effective for you and like all things, what works for some doesn’t work for others. glad to hear you are going easy on yourself this year and doing your best (as that is all any of us can do!)

      love that you did a meditation where you envisioned the things you want to accomplish this year – YAY. sounds like a fantastic 2016 ahead and glad you have roadmapped it out. what a year to come 🙂

  3. Kate

    January 4, 2016 at 10:34 am

    I have actually been thinking about this the past few days, and was leaning towards choosing “capable!” I didn’t realize it was your 2015 word, but your comment on an earlier post about “being capable” and what not made me want to choose it. There are a lot of things I want to accomplish this year that I’m not ready to share on my blog, but I also get stricken with anxiety that can hold me back. I want to use this word to remind myself that I am capable, and I can power through and achieve the things I want!
    Kate recently posted…Weekending: NYE Edition

    • chelsea

      January 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      ahhh capable was SUCH a good word for me – i think you will totally dig it and it sounds like it could really help you with all the goals you want to accomplish this year, kate! every time that self-doubt and anxiety crept in, i would say to myself “oh yeah, my word is capable. that’s what i am. i am capable” and then anxiety’s grip would lessons and 90% of the time i did what was needed of me. get after it and can’t wait to see what you accomplish this year!

  4. Nina @ Hugs and Lattes

    January 4, 2016 at 10:51 am

    This is the PERFECT post to start the new year. This is the first year I’ve had a “word of the year.” I haven’t posted about it yet. . .but I will soon. I’m excited to see how this word leads me throughout this year!

    • chelsea

      January 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      oh yay! so glad you enjoyed it nina! can’t wait to find out your word of the year woohooooo!

  5. Sheila

    January 4, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I haven’t chosen a word yet but my family members chose FOCUS, CREATIVITY, and HOCKEY. I’m still working on mine … maybe it will be PROCRASTINATION. I doubt it though. Overall I am feeling excited and motivated about 2016!

    • chelsea

      January 4, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      love that your family is all over it sheila! glad you are working on yours. you may want to consider a positive action with your word so instead of ‘procrastination’ perhaps “action!” or “productive!” unless you were being sarcastic and i totally missed it 😉 so glad you are feeling excited and motivated about 2016!!

  6. Charlene

    January 4, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    I love your word of the year! Last year, my word was learn. I think it’s kind of similar to grow. This year, my word is present. I want to focus on being present as opposed to living in the past or constantly worrying about the future.
    Charlene recently posted…Welcome to Enduring All Things!

    • chelsea

      January 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      thanks charlene! sounds like you have a great word picked out yourself this year! i totally get about living in the past or stressed about the future so present is such a great one!

  7. Amberly

    January 4, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    You are such a great example to me of someone who gets out of her comfort zone and grows exponentially as a result!!
    Amberly recently posted…Why You NEED To Make Your Spouse a Priority Every Day

    • chelsea

      January 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      amberly, this comment really means a lot to me! thank you 🙂 i wasn’t always that way (and still struggle at times) but thank you 🙂

  8. Audrey

    January 5, 2016 at 6:35 am

    I considered “grow” for a while when I was choosing my word. I think it’s just right for you (just like “capable” was perfect for 2015)! This year I went with “embrace” because I really struggle with embracing the moment or change sometimes. I also need to embrace others and their help/advice/feelings 🙂
    Audrey recently posted…My Renewed Grateful Heart

    • chelsea

      January 5, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      i totally toyed with ’embrace’ after your post audrey! i think it’s a really great one and love your explanation of it for you! there’s some big and exciting things happening for us this year so “grow” will help hold me accountable!

  9. Rachel G

    January 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Every year should involved growth in some aspect–I sure don’t want to have the same maturity I did at 23 at 24, but a year of growing in all things sounds challenging indeed, and perfect for you! I haven’t made any official plans for this year–at the moment life is just a little bit too much in the air, I don’t want to make plans and be disappointed when there’s nothing I can do to make them happen. I do want to focus on creativity and courage in the next year. “Survival mode” brought on by 2 international moves in 2 years kind of took away a lot of my creativity outlets, that’s why I’m craving more of that this year. I just started making Youtube videos and I got supplies for embroidery (one of my favorite artistic hobbies) for Christmas so I’m off to a good start on that end!
    Rachel G recently posted…Beach Preferences

    • chelsea

      January 11, 2016 at 11:38 am

      totally agree with you about growing each year rachel, now to be more intentional about it for me this year! i am glad you are focusing on creativity and courage in the coming year – that is great! you certainly have had quite the adventurous past few years so i am glad you are already embarking on the creativity with embroidery and youtube!
      chelsea recently posted…Perfect Advice From A Couple Married for 60 Years!