Do you want more Joy in 2020?  

Who wouldn’t, right? One way to focus your attention on cultivating joy in the new year is to be mindful of your language.  

You see, words matter. One Word in particular. You might’ve heard me mention this One Word idea before. I’m sharing it again now because it’s more important than you’d guess, with the major distinction in the ‘do vs. be‘ category.   

Instead of stating a resolution to act differently – lose weight, save more for retirement, spend more time with your kids – I implore you to set a One Word Intention for 2020 instead.  

Why? Because creating resolutions doesn’t work. You know, you’ve tried them, failed to keep them, only to feel worse for having set them in the first place. You’re not alone.  

Resolutions are often made either glibly, with no real reflection or commitment, or secretly so that others can’t support us in being successful.

Plus, you have to screw up your resolve, grit your teeth and hold your breath, willing yourself to make something happen. It’s a lot of work that generally doesn’t pay off, and only drags you down.

Resolutions typically focus only what we’ll do vs. how we want to be in our life experience.  The result? We don’t take full ownership for our resolutions; we let ourselves off the hook, minimizing any real importance the resolution might’ve held for us. 

Don’t get me wrong, taking action is important. Yet, your actions will be more powerful if they’re based in what you care about and how you want to show up in the world.

The antidote to the diminishing returns of resolutions? Set an intention instead – a One Word Intention. 

One Word Intention

Focus your One Word Intention on a Way of Being that you’d like to live into in 2020. 

Our intentions reflect what we value and what really draws us into a deeper commitment. Intentions are not flimsy or shallow or lacking teeth.  Our actions, or what we do in the world, flow from the quality of person we are, and how we want to be in the world.  

The process of setting and moving towards our intention serves as a declaration to ourselves, others, and the universe that we’re serious about our dreams and goals.  

A strong, positive, and energized intention serves as an attractor in our lives, while it’s equally likely to repel what’s not in alignment with it.

Why only One word?   

Having the constraint of only using One word brings about focus, clarity and the creative energy to take engaged, effective action steps. No gnashing of teeth here. 

Your One Word Intention will teach you a lot about yourself: you’ll see how you block yourself and get in your own way, how you engage in challenges, how you persevere over time, and what conditions cultivate you at your best.  

And, since energy follows attention, and attention precedes every action, and actions determine results . . . actively choosing your intention is key to success. 

Setting Your One Word Intention 

Ready to begin? Below are some guidelines for setting your One Word. 

Click here for a worksheet to use during your reflection.  


When crafting your intention remember: 

  • It’s less about what you want to Do and more who you want to Be in this year. Once you’re committed to moving in the direction of what you long to Be, the actions become clear and typically take care of themselves.
  • Intentions resonate within the arc of your faith in your future. Your One Wordwill inspire you to grow and move forward because at the core it reflects your answer to the key question, “what’s important to me?”  
  • Intentions contain rich visual and emotional imagery.


Intentions that are specific in sensory details are most powerful. How do you feel when working on this intention? What sounds and smells and tactile sensations accompany you as you move towards your intention?   

  • Intentions, unlike glib resolutions, excite your passions the most! Being excited and open to possibility as you set your One Wordintention will increase the likelihood that you’ll move towards it.  
  • You really only need One Word.


Resist the temptation to add two or consider a phrase. Pause, reflect and listen for your One Word to surface – it will. Be patient and be willing to be surprised when it shows up.  

  • Once you’ve reflected and selected your One Word, strategically post it in places at home and work where you’ll see it every day. Let your One Word work you.  
  • Share your One Word with trusted others. Share how you are living into it and ask for support.


I hope this process is fun and fruitful for you. Once you complete the worksheet, comment below and share your One Word! I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours!