I Hate New Year’s Resolutions, So I Picked a Single Word


Ah, a new year. The Earth has completed another full revolution around that burning star that is the Sun. If there’s one thing that I can count on in these uncertain times, it’s the numerous #newyearnewme posts that fill my Instagram feed.

In my 20s, I may have crafted a list of “big idea goals” for the upcoming year. Let’s say, hypothetically, that I also curated pseudo-vision boards on Pinterest, filling them with all the things I was going to “do better” – a more consistent fitness routine, cooking for myself, journaling, reading all the books, you get the idea.

The one thing I know for sure is that my zeel for those newer, “better” habits petered out over the following months, their only remnant being a Pinterest board that has gone untouched for the better part of a decade.

Now, in my 30s, with two little kids, I haven’t the desire or drive for New Year’s Resolutions. In the words of Moira Rose, “Who has time amidst all the chaos?”

I find that if I want to change something, developing a new skill or habit, my heart has to be in it regardless of what time of the year it is.

I’m not sure if it’s obvious, but I’m not all that new age-y (no judgment if you are, keep #livingyourbestlife). However, there is something to doing a personal check-in and some self-evaluation around January. Maybe it’s giving ourselves something to focus on for the coming drudgery that is a rainy, Portland winter. Regardless, I’ve come around to the idea of picking a word to help ground myself to my intentions for the coming year.

Letter tiles spelling out "THE WORD" on a pile of booksWhat is your word for 2021?

Well, I can tell you that it’s obviously not punctuality or preparedness since we’re basically at mid-January and I’m just now coming to this moment of clarity. (But I mean, really, what is time anyway?)

When I was coming up with my word, I wanted to be intentional about it. So I stopped watching Tiktoks for half an hour and pondered what I wanted to focus on.

My previous word (for 2020, in case you needed the reminder) was Seek. I spent a lot of time learning more about various professional skills. I also dedicated a lot of mental energy towards figuring out what direction I wanted to go in my career. Last year was about learning.

This year, I’m ready to enjoy the ride. My word for 2021 is: Captivation.

I’m hoping to get more creative this year, not thinking about the “why” of things as much. I want to engross myself (as much as practical) in whatever seems interesting to me for no other reason than it brings me joy. This year is about exploring.

Naturally, I wanted to know what other people were thinking for 2021. So I asked around. These are some of the responses I received:

“For me it is Mindfulness. A lot of change happened in my life last year, not counting the craziness of the world, and this year I really want to focus more on my mindset and creating the reality that I want. Focusing on my intentions, my thinking, my inner voice, and my dreams.”

– Fellow PMC contributor Samuel Broaden

Trust – because we’re in limbo with a lot of changes this year and I need to trust the process as we go into these life-changing experiences.”
– Sonja G, local mom

More plants? Yes, it’s two words. And yes, there is nothing deep or meaningful about it. But I daresay it’s a good mantra and one I can really get behind.”
– Fellow PMC contributor Lee Ann Moyer

“Mine is PRESENCE. My goal is to focus on being present, taking it all in and enjoying the simple moments as they are happening. I spend so much energy thinking about the future, which causes anxiety, or focusing on the past, which creates depression, so this year it’s about the current moment.”
Greta P, local mom

Relentlessly unsubscribe. Probably not what a blog wants to publish but my digital clutter is overwhelming and I’ve just been deleting. Especially after [2020]. I want to read more books and fewer emails and news this year.”
– Fellow PMC contributor Katie Koehler Reed

“Mine needs to be Perspective. I feel like I’m getting back into butting heads with [my 5-year-old] after a couple years mostly tantrum-free. All the while [my 3 year-old] still does toddler tantrums. I need to think long-term and just chill. Give the decision-makers some grace – give myself and my husband some grace.”
– Fellow PMC contributor Karen Liu

Now, I want to hear from you. What’s your word (or phrase if you’re getting fancy) for 2021 and why? Let me know in the comments.