How to Gain Clarity in Your Life With One Word

I don’t know about you, but the start of the new year often brings excitement, motivation, and a whole lot of “shiny object syndrome.”

You know what I’m talking about, right?

It’s the desire to take on several New Year’s resolutions, set every impossible goal, and adopt countless healthy habits, all at once.

And while things go great for the first…three days, sooner or later we start feeling overwhelmed. We struggle to keep up with all of the plans we made for ourselves. And we feel tempted to throw in the towel.

More often than not, after the first few weeks, we’re right back to where we were on December 31.

Does this sound familiar at all?

Can you relate?

Find Clarity

If so, then I think you’re going to love this week’s episode.

Because this week we’re spending time creating clarity about the year ahead.

That way, anytime that we do feel overwhelmed or we think about quitting, we can hit pause and return to this mindset. We can get clear on our vision. And we can return to our goals with excitement.

And we are going to gain this clarity today by choosing your word of the year. 

Are you ready? Great! Then click “play” on the podcast player below.

Prefer to read? No worries! The transcript follows.



  • Why clarity and focus help you stick with your goals
  • Why you should choose a word for the year
  • Powerful questions to help you find your perfect word.



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Have you ever chosen a word of the year? What word are you choosing this year? Share it below!

Transcript: How to Gain Clarity in Your Life With One Word

Hey, friends! Happy New Year! Welcome to the podcast. This is the first I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast episode of 2020, and I am so excited that you’re tuning in today.

Quick Announcement

Before we dive in, I want to let you know that my 6 Weeks to Success course will be launching soon, which I am SO SO excited about. It is a 6-week online course that provides you with both the tactical tools and strategies as well as the mindset self-coaching tools to help you set and reach a goal in 6 weeks.

It is really an awesome course, and I am super proud of it. I’ve had great feedback and seen some amazing accomplishments from my previous students who took the course this fall. I have been working on the finishing touches over winter break for this launch, and I can’t wait for you to learn more about it.

I have created an early waitlist. If this sounds like something you want to learn more about. If you have some amazing goals in 2020 and you would like to put some structure around them to make sure you see those goals come to fruition quickly and efficiently, I definitely encourage you to put your name on the waitlist. 

Of course, doing so does not mean you need to sign up. It just means that I will add you to my list and you will be the first to know when the doors open so you can check everything out and make sure it’s the perfect fit for you. 

If you want to join the list, just head to and fill out the form. I will get you on that list and let you know when the doors are open.

Back to the podcast

Alright. Let’s get to the podcast.

Now if you’re like me, you’ve probably been spending some time thinking about the New Year recently.

I know some of you joined me on my Facebook Live on New Year’s Day where we spent some time reflecting on the wins and the lessons we learned in 2019, we took stock of where we are right now, and we spent some time looking ahead to 2020 as well. 

And don’t worry, if you missed it you can check out the video on the Facebook page at

Getting Focused

I’ve also been thinking about getting focused and clear about the year ahead – creating a 2020 vision if you will.

Because at the beginning of a new year, I think it’s easy for us to get a bit of shiny object syndrome. We want to take on every single goal, resolution, and new habit that we can. And while it’s great to set those goals, and it’s fantastic to challenge yourself to keep stepping out of your comfort zone and working toward new heights, it can also lead to burnout when you are attempting to tackle everything at once. 

And I’ve seen this happen with other people and I’ve certainly had it happen myself.

We basically try to revamp our life with all of the new resolutions and goals and healthy habits, all at once, and we’re all in for everything for about…three days. And then when we can’t keep up with everything, we throw in the towel and call it a day.

And by day four…maybe day six if we’re really lucky…we’re back to where we were on December 31 of last year.

Does this sound familiar at all?

Can you relate?

Find Clarity

If so, then I think you’re going to love this week’s episode. Because we are going to spend some time creating clarity and simplification around our mindset for the year ahead.

And this way, anytime that we do feel that sense of overwhelm or we feel like we want to call it quits, we can return to this mindset. We can hit pause. We can get clear on our vision. And we can get back to work.

Because as I’ve mentioned before, when our brain is busy, and it’s distracted by all of the different ideas, projects, and habits that you’ve created for yourself, we start thinking that we can’t keep up with everything. And we tell ourselves that there are way too many things to focus on. 

And when we’re thinking these thoughts, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. When we start slipping into those indulgent emotions of overwhelm, we simply stop taking action. We stop working toward any of the goals, and we don’t see the results that we want in our life.

So today I want to talk with you about bringing all of your resolutions, goals, and habits together under one unifying idea in order to bring you back to clarity.

And we are going to do this by choosing your word of the year. 

How to Gain Clarity in Your Life With One Word

Now chances are you’ve heard someone talking about picking their word of the year at some point. And perhaps you’ve chosen a word of the year yourself. Or maybe you’re listening to his way later than January. Maybe it’s July 14th and you’re just tuning in.

First of all, welcome. Second of all, keep listening.

There is a reason this practice is really growing in popularity, and it’s something you can use at any time of the year. 

I’ve been choosing a word of the year for about three years now, and I’ve found it to be incredibly powerful. And while I love doing it for many different reasons, one of the reasons I find it so beneficial is because it helps me refocus myself. It pulls me back to center, and it helps me recommit to the goals that I’ve set for myself each year. 

When you identify your word for the year, it helps you separate what’s important from everything else. It separates what you want in your life from all of the noise around it. And it helps you identify who you want to be in the world. It allows you to turn inward, to do a gut check, and to make sure you’re living in integrity with who you want to be and how you want to show up this year.

My Three Year Practice

As I mentioned, this is a practice that many people have been doing for years. I’ve been doing it myself for three years now, and I have no intention of giving it up. It is one of my favorite things to think about each year. Most importantly, I love how it helps me think about where I want to go in the year ahead.

But I also love looking back at my previous years and seeing how those words helped define my journey. It is like a snapshot of who I was and where I was going at each stage of my life, and I think that’s a really powerful thing as well.

So I thought I would start by talking about my past words to give you some examples of what I’m talking about. 

Back Story

So the first time I chose a word of the year was New Year’s of 2018, though if I’m honest, I chose the word for myself in September of 2017 and continued returning to it in 2018 as well. And in fact, the word I chose is actually the word for my life. 

If you’ve been listening to this podcast since the beginning, you’ve heard me talk a little bit about the challenges I went through as I tried to figure out what I was meant to be doing in the world. Throughout 2017 I was feeling pretty lost about who I was, what I wanted to do, or where I was meant to be. 

But as I neared the end of 2017, I started diving into more personal development and coaching tools. I started getting this inkling of the direction I was supposed to take. But because it was so different from what I knew or the path I thought I was supposed to take, it scared the crap out of me. 

It wasn’t the path I had been planning for 10+ years. And as a type-A planning fanatic, that was super uncomfortable.

A New Direction

But something told me I was moving in the right direction. I felt that spark, and I knew I needed to keep following it. I didn’t have the tools I have now, so I wasn’t tuned into the thoughts that were creating this feeling. But I went with it. And it took a whole lot of courage for me to do so.

And I came across a statement during this early study and self-discovery by Mary Anne Radmacher, which read:

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I will try again tomorrow.

And that spoke to me. And it is still my favorite quote to this day. I have it as my computer screensaver. It’s on the wall in my office. I have it pretty much everywhere.

And then I came another quote about courage by e.e. cummings, which read:

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

And these two quotes really shook me up. They helped me realize a whole different understanding of what courage means. Because prior to these quotes, I always thought of courage as some big heroic soldier racing into battle. Or someone like Martin Luther King Jr. standing up and speaking the truth even up against the worst adversity.

A New Perspective

But after seeing this different perspective, and seeing that courage can mean digging deep and trying again, even when things are hard. Even when you’re scared. And even when you’re feeling lost. That really resonated with me.

Because as I continued digging deep and trying new things and taking different paths that were way outside of my comfort zone, it was courage that got me through it. 

As we all know – it is so much easier to stick with what is safe. It’s so much easier to return to what’s familiar.

And the crazy thing is that – as humans – most of the time we will even return to the thing that we think’s making us unhappy, whether it’s a certain lifestyle, a relationship, or a job, because it is familiar. And familiar feels so much safer than stepping out of your comfort zone and listening to that small voice that says, “try again.” “Try this.” “Maybe this is the answer.” 


And when I had this realization, that’s when I really embraced the idea of courage. That’s when I realized courage is what I need each and every day of my life. If I want to continue showing up authentically as myself in every situation, regardless of who I’m with, or what I’m doing, or where I am, I need to show up with courage. 

And if I want to share my story with others, I need to feel the courage to show up and speak.

If I see something going on that I don’t think is right. I need to be courageous and speak my mind. 

And if I feel that pull to head in a new direction, or to pursue an unconventional path, or to take that road less traveled because it’s the one that’s calling me, I need that courage every step of the way.

Now as I said, courage is essentially the word of my life. I return to it every day because it keeps me showing up authentically as who I am.

Even when I feel vulnerable. Even when I feel nervous. And even when I feel afraid. So while it was my word of the year throughout 2018, it is always there in the back of my mind. In fact, I even have it tattooed on my wrist as a reminder each day.

Of course, I am not suggesting that you go and tattoo your word of the year on your body. But I do think it’s important to have a daily visual reminder of that word, whether it’s your computer screensaver, a post-it note on your bathroom mirror, or a painting of the word that you hang in your office. 

But I am getting ahead of myself here. We will return to how we can use that word of the year in a bit.

First, let me quickly share my other words.

All in

After I embraced my year of courage, and I started stepping out of my comfort zone and exploring new ideas in 2018, I decided I was ready to go bigger in 2019. And so my word for 2019 was “all in.” 

Of course, this is actually two very short words – but you get the idea.

And I loved this phrase. It was such a powerful reminder to take the leap and go big. And when I really embraced this idea, and I allowed myself to “feel the fear and do it anyway,” I started diving into some exciting stuff. 

Stuff like creating this podcast, and designing and producing my 6 weeks to success course, (which is launching in just a few weeks, by the way, so stay tuned for that!) 

And any time that I started getting cold feet. Or I wanted to stay where things felt easy and comfortable, I reminded myself that I was “all in” in 2019, and I took the next step forward.


And what’s been interesting is to see how these words build on one another. And how they continue to build into 2020 as well. Because in 2017 and 2018 I practiced courage to explore, and to try new things, and step out of my comfort zone. In 2019, I took the plunge and went all-in on those new ideas and adventures. And this year, in 2020, my word is committed. Committed to all of these pursuits that I went all-in on last year. 

I’m committed to over-delivering for my 6 Weeks to Success students. Committed to my coaching clients. I’m committed to further grow my business. Committed to providing weekly value for you through this podcast. 

And – as a side note – if you’re enjoying this podcast, would you mind opening up your podcast app right now and just leaving me a quick review? You don’t even have to write anything if you don’t want to. Just click the stars – 5 of them would be amazing.  And if you want to write something, that’d be even better! 

You see, more reviews help me reach more people, which is one of MY big goals this year. So if you could help me out and just take 10 seconds right now, I would really appreciate it. Just open your podcast app for iTunes, tap library icon at the bottom, select the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast, and then scroll down to where you see the stars. That’s it! Thank you so much in advance.

Anyway – back to committed. I’m so excited about this word, because, like my previous two words, it applies to all areas of my life. I just shared with you some of the places where it applies in my business, but it also shows up in my relationships. 

I’m committed to making time for regular movie nights with Ryan. I’m committed to spending time with my friends. And I’m committed to self-care and moving my body every day. I’m committed to getting enough sleep each night – which is probably the most challenging one for me of everything I’ve listed, but I’m doing pretty well so far!

So in 2017 and 2018, I was embracing courage. 2019 I was all in. And this year – 2020 – I am committed to each of the priorities in my life.

Your Turn

So now that you’ve heard my words, it’s your turn! Maybe as you’ve listened to me talk you’ve had your own words popping into your mind. Maybe you know exactly what you need to embrace this year. 

If not, no worries. Because I have some tips to help you think it through. 

And that reminds me, I also created a free workbook to help guide you through this process. So if you’re scrambling to write everything down – or you’re listening in the car or at the gym, or you’re taking down your holiday decorations, don’t worry. I’ve got you. Just head to and grab your workbook, which will guide you step-by-step through this process.

Question 1

Alright, so you’re ready to find your word of the year, but you’re not quite sure which one feels right. If that sounds familiar, then I recommend starting out by reflecting on the past year and the experiences that you had in your personal life, your work life, and your relationships.

And as you think about this past year, first ask yourself: what do I want more of in my life in 2020? And what do I want less of in my life in 2020? 

Maybe you want more time with your partner. Or maybe you want more healthy foods in your diet. Maybe you want more downtime. And maybe you want less screentime. Maybe you want less stress. Maybe you want less stuff and you’re ready to minimize.

Spend some time thinking about what you want more of in your life and what you want less of in your life in the year ahead.

Question 2

Then, as you continue thinking about the past year, ask yourself: if I were to describe this past year in one word, it would be _____ because_____. 

For example, maybe your answer would sound like this: if I were to describe this past year in one word it would be busy because I was constantly running from one meeting, practice, or activity to the next and I never had time to rest. 

Or maybe, if I were to describe this past year in one word it would be growth because I became a new mom and I think I’ve grown as much as my child in the past year.

So think about your past year and how you would describe it in one word.

Question 3

Next, spend some time thinking about the year ahead and more specifically, think about yourself in the year ahead. Where do you see yourself in 12 months from now? How do you feel? How do you act? Who do you want to be? Literally, close your eyes and picture yourself. Where are you living? What are you wearing? What do you look like? Who are you with? What are you doing? 

Get to know the future you 12 months from now.

Question 4

And after you’ve really gotten an understanding of your future self, then it’s time to think about which goals you’ve accomplished during the next 12 months. Have you crushed that impossible goal you set back in episode 21? Did you cross off all of the goals on your 20 for 20 list? What did you accomplish this year?

Question 5

Now, the next thing I want you to do as you think about the year ahead is to start writing down single words or short phrases that come to mind. How is 2020 going to be this year? How might you describe it? 

Maybe it’s fun. Maybe it’s learning. Perhaps it excitement. Or peace. Maybe it’s joy or driven. Maybe it’s curious or intentional. Perhaps it will be magical or filled with family. 

As I said, write down all of the different words that come to mind. And don’t do any editing now. We will do that in the next step. So for now, just get everything down on paper. 

And in the workbook that I created, I included a long list of possible words that you can check out to see if any of those resonate with you, too. It was a super fun list to make, so be sure to snag your workbook and check it out. Again, go to 24

Question 6

Alright, so you have your list of words, now it’s time to start looking through your list and narrowing down the words. Choose 3 maybe 4 words that stand out to you. Chances are you will feel something inside of you when you read these words – a sort of “pull” that draws you to them. Choose those three or four and write them down.

Question 7

And then finally, after you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s now time to choose your word. Look at your smaller list of 3 or 4 words, think about each one, and ask yourself, what is the word that best describes how I want to approach 2020? Or what is the word that I need to embrace as I move into 2020? 

And I want to stress to you that there is no wrong choice. Each one of the words on your shortlist is absolutely perfect. How do I know? Because you make it perfect. You get to decide. You get to embrace that word and make it yours as you walk into this new year. 

So choose it with confidence and don’t look back. 

How to Use Your Word of the Year

Now as I mentioned, one of the most powerful ways to use this word throughout the year is to reflect on it and think about it often. It acts as a reminder and it helps you return to how you want to show up throughout the year.

And I like to do this in different ways.  Now don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you all go get your word tattooed on your wrist. But, I do recommend having the word visible where you see it each day. 

So maybe you make the lock screen on your phone. Maybe you make it as a screensaver on your computer. You could write it on a few post-it notes and stick them around the house or the office where you most need the reminder. 

If you’re into drawing or painting, you could create a canvas to hang on your wall. Heck, you could get really fancy and find someone on Etsy to inscribe your word onto a piece of jewelry or a keychain. The options are endless, and I really think the more you return to that phrase the more you will internalize it and live into it throughout 2020.

And after you decide on your word, I would LOVE to know what you chose. What is your word for 2020? Once you decide, would you pop over to Instagram and let me know? You can send me a DM @imbusybeingawesome or share your word on your instagram stories and tag me. It will be so fun to see what everyone is choosing this year!

Quote of the Week

Now before we go, I want to leave you with this week’s quote of the week by Lalah Delia, which reads: 

She remembered who she was and the game changed.

Lalah Delia

This quote pops up in my Pinterest feed a lot, and I absolutely love it. In fact, I am going to read it one more time. “She remembered who she was and the game changed.”

So I spotted this quote again the other day when I was creating the outline for this podcast. And I found it so fitting as we think about our word for the year. 

Because we’ve all had an experience in our lives where we felt a little confused or like we’ve “lost our groove.”

Maybe we weren’t sure what path to follow.

Or maybe we were lacking confidence in something.

Or maybe we weren’t sure what choice to make. 

And sometimes in situations like this, all we need is a slight redirection. We just need that sign to help us get back on track. 

And that’s one of my favorite things about choosing a word of the year.

It helps provide that nudge, or that reminder, of where you’re going this year. It helps you return to your priorities, and recall who you want to be, and remember how you want to show up in 2020.

And it will help you remember who you are so you can change the game.

12 thoughts on “How to Gain Clarity in Your Life With One Word”

  1. This is life transforming. Everything resonated with me. I will study the steps over again

  2. Love this! I never chose a word for the year but will definitely start now!

    I think for 2020 my word would be conquer – conquer fears, tasks, setbacks, relationships, whatever comes my way!

  3. I love this! I always try to keep going even if I feel like I’m failing. My word of the year is food because I love it 🙂 I think I’m doing the word of the year thing wrong, but you know, I love food so it seemed perfect at the time.

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