One Word


During the time of resolutions and unrealistic New Years' goals, I prefer to have my clients choose one word in order to set an intention for the new year. Because statistically, resolutions tend to fail, having a focus for the year instead seems to be a healthy alternative. It's like putting on a pair of glasses shaded with a specific intention for all your thoughts, decisions, and actions. Even if you forget to do it half the time, it can still make a big difference in moving you toward a goal.


Choosing a word may seem overwhelming, but here are some steps that can help.

  1. Start by reflecting on the past year and the significant decisions and changes that occurred in your life. How do you feel about your progress during the year?

  2. What would you like to change about your life and your process for next year? In which areas would you like to see improvement in your life?


Examples my clients and I have chosen in years past include:

  • Fearless.

  • Empower.

  • Breathe.

  • Peace.

  • No.

  • Yes.

  • Me.

  • Embrace.

  • Slow.

  • Surrender.

  • Presence/present.


Each of these words and countless more can affect the way we think about things in our lives and help us become more like the person we want to be. It's amazing how even this slight perspective shift can make such a significant difference in our choices and even mood.

An excellent way to practice your one-word intention is to embrace your word and keep it visible. Maybe make it your phone background or display it artistically in your home. You can also choose other art that supports your word. Things like quotes, songs, and art in many forms can help us go back mentally and emotionally to the place that reminds us of our intention. Life can be so distracting that it is helpful to have strategies to ground us back into a healthy mindset. Choose your word and watch the trajectory of your life shift towards your intention!


--Kristin Benton, MA LPC

Senior Therapist

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