What’s your one word for 2018?

When someone asked me what my one word was for 2018, I was stumped.

I’d never thought of focusing on one word to set my course for the year ahead. I didn’t know it was a thing.

Apparently it is. Somehow I’ve missed blog posts and websites and influencers for several years, all saying much the same thing at this time every year – instead of making New Years’ resolutions and feeling the shame of not sticking to them (because who does that?), choose one word to help you channel your attention.

For someone like me, who never bothers making New Years’ resolutions but just randomly ‘puts it out there’ that I want to be healthier and more disciplined and do this and do that … the one word concept makes sense.

Except for one problem.

Choosing one word. I’m a word lover. I write. How am I supposed to choose one word?

Turns out there are plenty of websites to help with that. I found this list for 2017 here (see image below) and followed their instructions to add to the list, circle words that stand out, then refine the list. The site says:

“Chances are you’ll see a theme going on between the words you wrote down. Do any of the words jump out at you, make you feel excited, nervous, scared, uncomfortable, or at ease? Sometimes the words that scare us most can mean we’re on the right track, after all change isn’t always easy. At the same time I think finding your word can also bring peace and empowerment.”

Made sense to me.

But then it started. The dreaded Monique thoughts that go like this: ‘What if I choose the wrong word? What if I think that’s my word but it’s not? What if I’m just choosing the word that I want my word to be rather than the one it should be? Is this a test?’

And then, ‘What if I like someone else’s word better?’

[bctt tweet=”What if I choose the wrong word? Is this a test?” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]

Bloody perfectionism. I can hear my dad saying that now. Always trying to get it right. Geez.

‘You’ll just know,’ my friend said. ‘Let the one word pick you.’

I waited and waited.

I still didn’t know.

And then I walked away and thought some more. And my word popped into my head.


Earlier, I’d thought my word was patience. Or breathe. Or maybe even balance. But I realised I’m already focusing on all those things and the word direction had the right feel.

I’m focusing on direction too, but there are changes ahead. Decisions to make.

I’ve been feeling indecisive about a number of things. And there’s some uncertainty about some other things.

Sometimes I feel like there are so many options but I don’t know which one to pursue.

Which ones I truly need to do and which ones I don’t.

I’m wondering if I need a mentor, especially when it comes to writing. But any decision to do that affects others in my family, especially financially … and so I think and think.

Guidance. Direction. It’s what I’m calling for in my heart.

I want to be open to opportunities, to be brave and take risks where needed – but have the wisdom to know deep down which direction is right.

And as I figure that out, I want to focus my intentions on steering myself in that direction.

That’s the plan.

What’s your one word? This cute video might help.



Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

12 Responses

  1. Like you, I was stumped for a word- and spent a couple of days thinking about it. I didn’t have that useful list at the time. Maybe I would have picked one f them, but my word rose organically out of my own thoughts and experiences.

    In January 2017 I set intentions list it had nine items , rather than be satisfied with that I gradually added another six items. Some were important some not, but most did not get me any nearer to my main objective.

    That made me think about what I wanted to achieve this coming year.
    I only found my word today when I was journaling and trying words out for what felt right. I thought my word might be completion or progress but I finally settled on focus. Focus on what needs to be done to make progress, to complete things. More specifically, to focus on my main goal and no to be sidetracked.

    1. I think focus is a great word. You can utter it any time you get distracted and uncertain. I love that our one word leads to so many others, such as clarity or completion.

      1. Agreed, So often we go ahead without really thinking of what we do want to achieve. One word can encapsulate so much. There are so many brilliant choices but our word need to resonate for us

  2. Like you, Monique, I didn’t know there was a ‘thing’ about choosing one word, but when the question of what my word for 2018 would be popped up in my social media feeds, my first thought was ‘write’. I’m still not certain if that’s exactly what I want my one word to be (so perhaps I haven’t found ‘the’ word yet…), but it’s certainly what I intend to do in 2018 — specifically, to write my novel. Let’s see what the new year brings!

    1. Patience popped up first, but it didn’t feel like. More the word I thought it should be. After a while, I realised that what I needed most was direction and clarity.

  3. This is such a good end of year post. Like you, I didn’t even know the ‘one word’ for a year was a thing.
    ‘Direction’ sounds like a great word to stay on track, but also to allow you to choose what that track might be. It could apply to any aspect of life, too, not just writing.
    The word that popped into my head was ‘thrive’. I put so much pressure on myself to get published, win competitions, etc that when I don’t (which is most of the time!) I feel ‘unsuccessful’. So I need a word that helps me remember that writing is about enjoying the creative process, and a word that reminds me to get out and live life, too!
    Thanks Monique for prompting us all to stop and think about what we envisage for the New Year.

    1. Fiona make a list of all that you did achieve last year, even if you didn’t win competitions you had enough guts to enter. Thrive is a great choice, it reminds us of our self-care as well as our aspirations.Wishing you success in 2018

      1. Hi Sonia, that is such kind and wise advice, thank you. I’d been telling myself I should do that but hadn’t yet. Now that you’ve gently prompted me, I will do it, right now!
        I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you, too!

        1. Hi Fiona,
          Isn’t it funny how we celebrate others achievements and congratulate them, but forget to remind ourselves of our own progress? I am as guilty of this as anyone else, but I am slowly learning to appreciate the things I did do. Being our own cheer squad( not boastfully but in our self-talk) is an important step to take.
          Loving the fact that you are going to write that list!

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