Personal Reflection on my Word of the Year

Upstream Field Guide

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We are officially ending the first full week of 2016.  It seems a little surreal to me.  I’m not sure why.  I think the fact that up until Wednesday my kids had been giving me a run for my money in the sickness department may have had something to do with it!  Add in the start of homeschool after our very long homeschooling break and it ended up being a busy week!

I haven’t had nearly the time I expected to sit down and work on my goals.  You know what though?  That is OK.  2016 is a full year, and just because I can cram my goal making into a week doesn’t mean that I necessarily should.

I read a great post by Jeff Goins today called The Slow Start Solution to Conquering New Year’s Resolutions.  It was just what I needed to read.

I love setting goals, it is a highlight for me, and while I talk about my big yearly goals in January, I tend to sit down and think about goals at the beginning of each new season.


That is the key word, think.  I love to think about goals.  I love to think about how I want my life to be, I love to dream.  It is something I can easily spend hours on.  In fact, I think so much that I often sabotage myself.

While thinking up goals is important, not having the action steps to complete those goals is essentially failure.

Last year, my word of the year was intentional.  It was a perfect word for the year I had in mind.  After having a new baby at the end of 2014, I needed to be intentional about spending time with my  older kids, about getting myself healthy again, to figuring out homeschooling with two kids and a baby.

I spent a lot of time getting to know myself.  I took Tsh Oxenreider’s awesome Paddling Upstream course.  I wanted to dig deep, to really know why and how I tick.  I was being intentional with my time, with figuring out life.  It was quite life changing actually, to know why I do certain things, why I think a certain way.  If you haven't taken this e-course, I definitely recommend it.  And January is a perfect time to start!

It was a year of a lot of introspection.

Then I started thinking about my word for this year.  After such a great 2015, how could I make 2016 even better?  Not to say that 2015 was without challenges, obviously there were challenges.

This brings me to my word of the year for 2016 – Action.

After I chose that word, I went to search on my friend Google to see what I could come up with.  One of the first quotes that I saw:

Action always beats intention.

It is interesting that that quote was the first one that popped out at me.

I have written before that I love to take my time with goals.  Even at the beginning of this post I talked about my love for thinking.  But, no matter how intentional I was this last year, I realized that I needed to be the one to also take action.

When I think about my life, I know that if I don’t work on certain things, they will not get done.  I do not have a magic cleaning fairy at my home that will keep everything in order (if you do, could you please loan her to me for a couple of days?!).  If I don’t schedule time for self-care, I don’t take care of myself.

Picking action as my word of the year could be a recipe for disaster.  I have so many things running through my head that I want to change, I always do.  But, narrowing those things down and making them into concrete goals with action steps is going to be a priority for me this year.

My first action of 2016 will be to finish writing out my goals for the year.  I have already shared a few home goals that I have, as well as some crafting goals as well.  I am still working on my book list for 2016, and my personal goals.  I hope to share those soon.

Overall, I think that action is a perfect word to go with my theme of the year – organize my life.  Clearly that theme will take a lot of action on my part, and I hope that you are going to jump in with me and enjoy the ride.

Do you pick a guiding word for the year?  Are you slow to set goals for the year, or were you finished on December 31st?


  1. I don't normally pick a word but if I had to it might be 'change' or 'difference' because I want to continue making a difference and change myself for the better.

  2. Still thinking about the word of the year! Action is a great one! I agree I do better when I just go for it, just thinking about a plan doesn't lead to much accomplishment sometimes! Great choice!

  3. We have just retired from ministry after a hurtful situation. This caused a move across state. So everything is new. I receive the promises of God that He is doing a new work, so my word of the year is getREADY. That is this year I don't jump into new things I just get ready for them prepare my mind, body, and soul so that I am READY for that new thing God is working on!

  4. Love your thoughts here and ACTION is so great. I think a little grace thrown in there is a good thing, as I think you've taken more actions than you maybe have given yourself credit for! Look at how well you've organized your homeschooling and how much your blog has grown in the last year or two---amazing gal :) But I tend to THINK for a long time too. I'm also an amazing time waster, so I've been "thinking" about how to start cutting back in some of the wasting areas :) Action is such a great focus though and I'm excited to see where 2016 takes you!

  5. Yes! Action is my word too instead of saying I am going to do something I want to actually do it instead of intending to!

  6. Hm, I've never picked a word for the year! I'm going to think about it (no pun intended) and see if I can come up with just one!

  7. Glad that I'm not the only one that reviews how the previous year when. Introversion can be an important part of understand life. Cheers to 2016, hopefully it will be another great year for personal growth!

  8. Action is a most fantastic word! I too am always running through how things *could* be in my head and the way things *could* turn out...always insistent upon the part of me actually doing things. Most of which are things that I don't do! And then it keeps me up at night, and then I get tired and lazy, and then it's just a crazy spiral. Instead, I'm trying to, well, just kick myself in the rear and say "just do the darned things, get going!" (my word for the year is "more" and it fits in quite well with this idea, in my mind).
    Action is also a good follow up to Intentional. Showing you what was actually important and what you want to be focusing on, and now this year a time to get moving more!
    I am looking forward to seeing what Action can do for you this year! :D

  9. action is a great word! I usually pick my one little word for the year too but for some reason this year is taking a little longer to decide! lol

  10. First, I love love action always beats intention! My guiding word of the year is FOCUS.

  11. Action. I love that word. Mine is SAVE.

  12. My year is to get focused on my goals. Last year I had many distractions, and I know this year will be better!!!

  13. yes I pick a word for the year too! Already posted about it, but my word for 2016 is Aloha. I've been doing this for 10 years and usually find the words pick me rather than me picking the words!

  14. I think I have two words for my year. Passionately Positive. I'm usually a bitter little negative person so this will be a huge challenge.

  15. Oooo loving the word action!!!! That's a great word. Wishing you all the best in 2016!!! Hope you kick some butt ;-)

  16. Words of the year is a great idea! I haven't thought of one yet, but I definitely would now!

  17. Love this. I just need to read that article about starting slow. I just posted about how I was overwhelmed with everything new year yesterday. Love your word of the year, mine this year is focus.

  18. I don't usually pick a word but if I had to I would pick positive!! I've tried so hard to stay positive with my littles & approach problems from a different & positive point of view!! I tried to set a few goals & so far I'm killing it!! Loved this post!!


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