How I Picked My 2019 Word of the Year

meaningful jewelry meet the maker planner planner organization word of the year

Welcome to 2019! I’m trying my hardest to stay away from clichés but they’re hard to avoid when you’re talking about the new year, goals, and kickin’ butt! So, let’s jump right in, seize the day, and make 2019 our best year yet!

We talked about this last year, but both Amber and I were really drawn to the idea of having a Word of the Year. I had heard that phrase around before, but never really put thought to it. When we started talking about it together, we realized this was something we both wanted to do for our 2018 year. We started including it in our planners, too, so that we wouldn’t lose sight of our guiding word as the year went on.


Last year, when I picked the word Here, it was one that resonated with me immediately. I put a little more thought to it and looked for alternatives, but I knew that after a busy 2017 and with my boys growing up so fast I needed to be present and separate work and mom life. A big task, but I at least wanted to make progress towards better separation.


Making my 2019 planner led me to plan for my 2019 word. This year I went about my selection a little differently. I don’t think I used a unique approach, but wanted to share it with you in case it helps lead you to your focus word.


First I spent some time just reflecting on the year.

Did I improve on being “Here” more often?

Did I make progress towards that “goal”?

Is that ability to separate work and home becoming more natural for me?

Am I ready to move on to another focus?


Then, I turn it to a less uplifting train of thought…

What do I consistently think about wanting to change?

What makes me unhappiest?

What do I know to be some of my flaws?


Sounds depressing, but we’re not going to change things that are going well, so we have to examine what we’d like to shift. In my case, I was reflecting on our family values that we have posted in our entry way. I was also thinking about some great people that I’ve met and how genuinely nice and selfless they are. I was also thinking about our financial goals for the year and beyond. And how I like my house to be. And… lots of other things. This sounds so unrelated and so overwhelming.

If I wrote down traditional “resolutions” for all these things, I would fail. So I just focused on what those had in common. What I noticed was I have some great foundations and intentions for how I want to live my life and who I want to be.  I just need to model those values and goals in my every day life; how I parent, make financial decisions, treat others, and spend my time.

I started out with the word Model, but realized that could be misconstrued as being a “model citizen” or becoming a model. HA! Just kidding. But, it didn’t feel right. So I totally googled “Synonyms for verb Model.” Seriously guys, it can help find something that resonates with you!

 Just like with 2018’s word, I waffled a bit but realized I kept coming back to “Aligned.” So I made a little graphic organizer to organize my thoughts and relate that word to each facet of life. These aren’t resolutions, I just wanted to brainstorm how this word could work for me. I did this at a coffee shop while both boys were at school (my 1.5 hour break on Tuesdays/Thursdays!) and it helped finalize things for me. You can see the organizer I made below. Click on it to download and print it off for yourself!



I treat myself to a piece of jewelry with the word on it, and this year I got a pointer-finger ring. It’s super small so it’s not like everyone can see what it says, but whenever I’m using my hands (always) I’ll be reminded of what I’m aiming for this year.

Hopefully this look into my thought process a little more and is helpful to you as you think about your goals! Because I’m a former teacher, let me review my steps:


  1. Reflect on the past year – what went well, what didn’t
  2. Think about what isn’t bringing you joy, success, fulfillment, etc.
  3. Find a common thread
  4. Find a word/phrase that describes your focus – google search for synonyms if need be!
  5. When you connect a word to them, brainstorm what this will look like day to day. What does PROGRESS (not necessarily perfection!) look like with this word?
  6. Add it to your planner and have a way to remind yourself of your word so you never lose sight!
  7. Reflect at the end of each month so you can re-focus on your goals!


I’m hoping I can continue to develop as a person and become a better parent, spouse, citizen because of it. I’d love to share more about how I am using our Habit Trackers to tie in with this word when it comes to day-to-day work.

Please share your word, phrase, or resolutions with us and let us know what brought you to it!


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