At the beginning of this year, we asked you to think of just ONE word to define or sum up your year ahead. No wrong answers – simply one word that captured what you wanted to achieve or tapped into something that spoke to you.
Well, turns out it was a popular task! HUNDREDS of replies flooded in – thank you so much, we read them all and feel motivated for you. While we cannot share absolutely all of them, we thought we’d pull out some of the most popular words chosen, along with a few other favourites that stood out. We hope they motivate and inspire YOUR year ahead.
This was one of the most popular words that we received. Among the responses, Margaret C wanted to live 2019 “in a focused way so as to own my life and enjoy the moment's pleasures”, while Tara D was far more blunt in her reasoning: “I have chosen this word to avoid prevarication, which is the greatest enemy.”
Another top-rating word, and for all the obvious reasons. After all, we all want a taste of success from time to time, so devoting an entire year to it seems like a great idea! Jenny K admitted that “I have avoided things sometimes because I have been scared of success” but she’s looking to turn that around in 2019. Meanwhile, Tiffany J was adamant: “The goal posts may move throughout the course of the year, but no matter how far or wide they move, I will be successful in all that I do, in every part of my life.” And finally Timothy L had a specific wish: “This year I want to win at least one of your 500 word story competitions.”
Sam A likes it because it’s “a short, powerful word”. Kevin B also has hopes for this simple word: “Without the weight of any huge specific expectations, it will hopefully get my backside into some sort of forward gear on a regular basis.” And finally Natasha D is “determined to stop dreaming and start doing things that I know will make me happier. DO more writing, DO more courses to help me write, DO enter my writing in competitions – I won't know what I'm capable of until I DO something about it. Two letters but endless possibilities.”
A clear goal for many of our community and a popular choice this year. Barbara P had this to say about it: “I have written for around sixty years always putting off the editing and publishing until one day. As a senior I know that if I don't do it now I never will. All those notes and jottings must be completed. NOW.” Great sentiment Barbara – now is the perfect time! (Extra shout out to those who chose “now” as their word!)
The beginning of a new year can be a time for starting over, and many of the words had this kind of theme attached to them. For Marcia A, her choice had been all around her for some time: “I've been seeing it a lot, reading about it. I'm into Dr Joe Dispenza at the moment, fascinating person, mind blowing really. So to change old habits, old mindsets, you have to reinvent yourself. I like the sound of that. Becoming someone ‘new'.”
What a great word to hang to 2019’s hook! And for Fran C, she had a very simple reason: “Why did I choose FUN? It's the single thing I want more of.” Who can argue with that astute logic?
A very popular word, for a variety of reasons. For Christine M, she had many hopes including ones about health and this simple one which stood out: “I HOPE to put more laughter in my little corner of the world.“ Meanwhile, Paddy W hoped for “less stress, more joy” and Joan loves the word because it “embodies a cornucopia overflowing with positivity”. Final word on hope however goes to Michael S: “Hope makes it possible to dream. There is no equal to take its place.” Nicely put!
This word (also our feature picture!) bubbled to the surface a number of times, with Tammy R sharing that she plans “to take time for me, just time be me … back to the basics … just breathe!” For Belinda P, her trying 2018 was saved many times by “the ability to stop, BREATHE”. She explains further: “From work, to war, romance, illness and everything, breathing is what keeps us going.”
Definitely the next most popular two-letter word behind “do”, it’s easy to see why ME makes sense for many of us who have spent years in services of others. As Shannon S puts it, “I'm not being selfish. It's an attitude shift. I put Me at the back of the line a while ago letting Us and Them and Everyone Else move to the front. This year I will do the things for Me and move out of the mental fug of being overwhelmed all the time.” Robyn L also chose this word, years in the making, and is looking forward to “putting myself first in everything and re-establishing a life that is personally fulfilling”.
Many of us were looking forward to actual adventures here and overseas, while for others it was more of a literary journey – as Hannah A sums up: “This year will be a continuation of my adventure into the wonderful world of writing/editing and attempting to get my first book published or at the very least on the road to publication. There is so much for me to learn and I am looking forward to every minute of it.”
As we saw with ‘reinvent’, a new year is chance to become something else, and this word seemed to capture it best for many of those who replied. Ashlea C chose it for the following reason: “I feel like I have coasted along for the past couple of years and it's time to step more out of my comfort zone. So this year, I really want to focus on my goals of becoming the person I want to be and take action towards living the life I want!”
We’re a creative bunch, including Claudia C who will be very busy come tax time it seems! “I chose it because it covers such a broad range of expression. Not only the arts, but crafts too. Also gardening, cooking and interior or exterior design. One can even be creative with one's accounting! Ha ha!”
An interesting choice at first glance, but we love the courageous aspect to it and Johanna B seems to know where she’s going with it: “My ‘one word' for 2019 is RISK – The kind that even if I fail in, is worth taking. I've realised that to keep growing in every area of my life, I need to keep taking action to move into unknown territories. So that's my theme for this year – looking at every area of my life and seeing what kind of risk I can take to move forward and keep growing. As a writer this has meant, enrolling in two courses with you, talking to writers ahead of my journey and asking them for their mentoring.” It’s a great word Johanna (and yes, you had us at “enrolling”!). Here’s to positive risk-taking!
The “new year declutter” is well in the swing of things – and the urge to simplify our lives seems more and more powerful. So it’s little wonder, theming 2019 with an eye on less being more would be a mantra many of you chose. As Genai R puts it, “I want less physical and mental clutter. More clear air, less waste. To take opportunities to be more efficient and try to avoid second guessing myself.” We hope you find it!
And just to prove that we are all on different paths, what could be more “yin” to the “yang” of “simplify” than MORE? Leanne L explains why she chose it: “I've always been a big fan of minimalism, but this year there's just something in me that's calling for a different approach – something that's saying that it's okay to ask for MORE, that it's possible to be MORE, and that there's so much MORE out there for me to experience and learn. So, this year I feel like I want to open up my life and MORE just seems to encompass where I'm heading.”
Okay, this is similar to “creativity” from earlier, but we liked what Lynley H had to say: “Creating a word, a story, a way of being, a life. WRITING: serious writing, big writing, creative writing. I am creating that space for writing, making it a priority rather than merely fitting it in. The books, stories and poetry will be finished, and others started. I am creating.” We wish you all the best in your creating Lynley!
Definitely one of the more unique words we received, with Lex H having this to say: “The word I am defining 2019 with is ‘Ukiyo' – a Japanese word that, literally translated, means ‘floating world'. In a sense, the word refers to detaching yourself from the worries of daily life and instead, living in the moment (something I'd very much like to do this year).” A wonderful word Lex – and wow, those Japanese have some great words don’t they?
Another unusual selection – this from Suzie. “Saw this on my Facebook feed – it's definitely my vibe for 2019. Lots of change and transformation!” Well, it definitely has a great vibe to it, and in truth, we suspect that most of our years may end up with a coddiwomplish tinge to them, Suzie!
The nineteenth word is one very close to our hearts here at AWC. This is why Mali M chose it: “I spent most of 2018 being very unhappy in a job and stagnating on all levels as a result. Leaving that workplace in October was the best thing that could have happened as it reminded me that we are not stuck, and there is a whole world out there that exists beyond the stressed blinkers of where you are. I want to make sure that I'm recognising and embracing opportunities to learn in 2019, and gaining experience in all areas, whether it be work, education, life, family etc. And I feel if I am being true to myself, I'll earn as an outtake of each experience. Financial would be great but I'm also happy with emotional lessons.” Such a great sentiment Mali – we never stop learning!
Thanks again to ALL who took the time to send us their words. And finally, as a sneaky bonus, Lindal J did apologise for sending us a phrase, not a single word – but we forgive her as it’s from the late Stephen Hawking and it mirrors our sentiments to you all:
“Be brave. Be curious. Be determined.”
Whatever words define your 2019, we hope it’s a successful one for you!