2016 The Word

Have you ever picked a word for the New Year?

I went to an advocacy event a few years ago, and as part of the decompressing and debriefing, we created collages and chose one word for our next year. That was 2014 and I chose the word: Create.

2014: Create

It calmed me when I fretted about things like, oh say, rejections from editors. (Don’t worry, just create more, I told myself.) More importantly, it was the answer when I wondered, “What should I do next? What should I do right now?” Create.

2015: Publish

I entered 2015 with the word: Publish. Again, whenever I struggled to prioritize, I went back to my go-to word. We did alright on that front, publishing Marcus’ Book, Black Day: The Monster Rock Band and co-authoring The Parent’s Guide to Down Syndrome just released Jan. 1st, 2016.  

About Focus

You may not realize this, ‘course – then again it may be obvious by my blogging style, but I can be a bit scattered. My to-do list is all #1’s. I used to keep a George Carlin quote on my desk, “Always do whatever’s next.”  Because, looking at the big piles on my desk, floor, house, office – Everything is important and Everyone wants “a piece of me” – picking what’s next isn’t always easy, you know what I mean?

By having a word, one word, it helped me to clarify the bottom line.

OK, 2016 begins and last year I had in my mind that this year’s word would be Marketing. But…life. 2015 I learned and let go and, well, I’m pretty good at learning. At least, I should be because I do it All. The. Time. But letting go? Not so good at that. SO, to say I “let go” is an overstatement. I’ve thought about starting to appreciate the concept of choosing battles and assignments, playing to strengths – which may mean giving up on a few of my weaker points, what is winning and what is losing, and more vague but pretty sounding expressions. The point is, all signs point to big changes, again, in 2016. Perhaps a sign of my own failure. Perhaps a sign of my previous success, with all the potential for future failure. There is nothing I fear and hate more than failing.

BUT That’s not what we’re talking about here – we’re talking about the 2016 word. I think you can tell I’m at a crossroads. I’m undecided. I’m afraid and also preparing. I’m conflicted.

To help me clarify, I made a word art.

I’ve been playing with these word clouds. So I rambled, much like this blog, into a document about what I want for 2016. What I’ve done and what I feel even with so many unknowns floating about, and I found my word: Purpose.



I knew it the second I typed it in. It was like in the movies, a light shown and a small bell rang in my brain. (ting!)

That’s the word for 2016.

2016: Purpose

Now, it’s a bit trickier then my previous choices as Create and Publish were both specific verbs, their own call to action. This word, Purpose, holds more flexibility. Yet, I still see it guiding me. I want to have purpose and to serve a purpose. I want my actions to reflect this. When choosing where to put my energies, I will be reminded to ask, “What purpose does this serve? Does it align with *my* purpose?” I want my next steps to be chosen on purpose. I don’t want to slip and slide through the days, I want purpose to show in every interaction.

So there you go. I feel a little more ready for the New Year with this mantra in my pocket. 

What about you? This blog is part of the lovely Finish The Sentence Friday BlogHop hosted by Finding Ninee where I selfishly chose to co-host so that I can read what you all have planned for 2016. What is your word? and I look forward to seeing where that takes you! Join in here:


  1. Kristi Campbell January 7, 2016 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    PURPOSE is perfect. I’m off to bed but I love love love this one. So much. I had a hard time choosing a word as well. THANK YOU for this.

  2. Allie January 8, 2016 at 6:27 am - Reply

    That is a very admirable choice. And I love your word art – very cool. From one rambler to another, Happy New Year.

  3. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me January 8, 2016 at 10:14 am - Reply

    I love those word art clouds. I chose focus for my word two years in a row because, well, I needed to! 😀 I love your choice of purpose for your word. That’s something I want to think about more in the days ahead – what is the purpose behind the choices I make in life.
    Happy new year!

  4. Lizzi January 8, 2016 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Ooooh I like Purpose, a LOT! I think I probably drift too much through life without really being purposeful. Fear of failure perhaps…or even fear of success! Either way, I’m a muddler in the middle, but I wish you every success for your year 🙂

  5. Valerie Newman January 8, 2016 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Purpose is a great word for focusing on what is important. I love the visual.

  6. Julie S January 8, 2016 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Purpose is a great word choice! Acting with purpose and having your actions have meaning, such a great thing to strive for!

  7. Anna Fitfunner January 9, 2016 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Here’s wishing you a year filled with purpose. With lots of great opportunities for both you and for Marcus. And don’t be afraid to publish, publish, publish as well!

  8. Janine Huldie January 10, 2016 at 8:17 am - Reply

    I love how you came to the conclusion of your word being purpose and sounds like you picked the perfect word here for you. So truly awesome and here is to wonderful and purposeful 2016 now! 🙂

  9. Julie Jo Severson January 10, 2016 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Yay! I found myself rooting for you the whole way through this until you found your way to the perfect word. Purpose! Yes! Life can feel dreary without it. We all need purpose, and I ache for anyone who feels they have none. May you be overflowing with it this year!

  10. Kenya G. Johnson January 10, 2016 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Great mantra. I like a flexible work more so than a definitive one which are intimidating. Great choice. Now about the word cloud how did you do that? Nice!

    • Kenya G. Johnson January 10, 2016 at 11:28 am - Reply

      *word not work 😉

    • Mardra January 10, 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Thanks – I’ve been using an online source called Word It Out .com for word clouds these days.

  11. Chris Carter January 10, 2016 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Oh, do I absolutely LOVE your word. I focus on it often, daily actually. I enjoyed so much reading about your previous words and how they truly defined your accomplishments! I especially love the journey you have taken to discover this year’s word!

    It’s a beautiful way to live intentionally. I couldn’t think of a better route to take. 🙂

  12. Dana January 11, 2016 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    I love word clouds – what a great idea to help you find your word. Purpose is a good one!

  13. Mimi January 11, 2016 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    THIS: “I will be reminded to ask, “What purpose does this serve? Does it align with *my* purpose?” I want my next steps to be chosen on purpose. I don’t want to slip and slide through the days, I want purpose to show in every interaction.” So much wisdom there that I want to put in my pocket and carry with me everywhere. Thank you for this most purposeful and important word! Happy New Year!

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