How to Win 2017…in One Word

Feel like you’re just drifting through life on auto-pilot? For a long time that was me. I’d make decisions in a one-off fashion, jumping from one turning point, crisis or milestone to the next. In fact, 30 years went by before I ever stopped to really consider what kind of life would make me happy. What type of work would really fulfill me? What type of free time do I want and how do I really want to spend it? Financially, what do I need to be comfortable? What types of people do I want around me?

It wasn’t until I hit a point of total frustration and hired a career coach that I ever gave any of those things serious thought. When we’re always charging full steam ahead, it’s easy for the years to start running together. And as we get older it only gets worse. Without a clear picture of your priorities – the things you personally value most – where you commit precious time energy is, at best, a crap shoot and, at worst, chosen for you by the demands of others. In either case, odds are you’re going to be left feeling unfulfilled, restless and resentful.

So, let me ask you this – what is it that YOU want to get out of this new year? What have you been missing? What have you been longing to do? And how can you make it – and YOU – a priority so 2017 is your best year yet?

You know that I think resolutions are pointless. But, I’ve got something for you that does really work. Several years ago I read the book One Word that will Change Your Life. The idea is simple. You only pick 1 word to guide you for the next 365 days ahead, instead of making those lofty, vague resolutions you drop a month later.

This 1 word becomes your priority. It’s the lens you look through and speaks succinctly to what you value. The beauty of just choosing 1 word is that, unlike a resolution, it is much harder to break. Instead of a goal you’re not likely to meet, your 1 word is a theme, a mantra, a regular reminder for what you want and need most right now.

The first time I did this exercise, “Connect” was my theme. At that time I had been working from home and was feeling extremely isolated. I knew I needed to shake things up. While skeptical at first, I was quickly amazed at the power of its simplicity. When you start to align all the elements in life from relationships to work, hobbies, and free time, around your values, that’s when you have the pieces in place to create the life you’re craving.

Every year is a shiny, new chance to revisit what’s most important. A theme for your year is the best way to channel that unspoiled energy.

What are some ways you can you use your 1 word? It could be…

  • A filter to decide what things to say yes to…and what gets a “no thanks.”
  • A mantra to remind yourself every day what you’ve chosen to matter most (especially when life throws you the curve ball).
  • A tool to communicate your priority to others (the catch is you have to share it)
  • A calendar alert to make time for what’s important to you in the phase of life you’re in.

So what’s your word for 2017 going to be? Is it Health, Faith, Conquer, Commit, Connect, Explore, Savor, something else? And what are all the tiny details that word represents to you? Whatever it might be, this worthy and simple exercise is an awesome chance to make 2017 a winner.

Need help picking your 1 word? I thought you might. So, I’ve put together a quick list of questions to get you thinking. You could do this on your own, or even better, do it as a group at your next happy hour.

Of course, like anything big you’re working toward, the more you put it out there for the world to see, the more support you’ll get and the more likely you’ll be to get there. So, share your word on Instagram with the hashtag #BDPriorities and #wordfor2017 to share it with me. I can’t wait to see where our words take us in 2017!



  • Share this