word of the year: Focus



My word for 2015 was flexible.

I don’t think I could have chosen a more fitting word. I had to be flexible, and sometimes it was a natural leaning and other times I had to choose it.

Two kids requires flexibility. A husband that travels for work sometimes requires flexibility (and patience!). Working from home requires flexibility. There are so many more things that occur in my life that require flexibility, and I genuinely experienced more joy and less stress this year because of my intention of being flexible.

I want to continue to choose to be flexible for the next year, but I also want a new word to meditate on as well.

and that word is Focus.

I have really exciting goals for 2016. I will have a 2 year old and a 1 year old in 2016(WHAT!). My husband and I will celebrate 7 years of marriage in 2016. There is a ton to look forward to. But focusing has been a consistent struggle in my life, both when I’m working and when I’m not. I’m quite easily distracted, and I don’t have a type A personality that can set a goal and work hard to get it done within the parameters I set for said goal.

I’m the queen of exceptions and excuses.

So, for 2016, I’m going to practice focus.

I’m going to make a strong effort to write effective to do lists that are achievable with specific to do’s (instead of “reply to all e-mails”). I’m going to try to set myself up for success in the time I’m working, and in time that I’m spending time with Justin or the boys. And I’m hopeful that all of these things will help my focus on whatever task is at hand at any given moment.

Do you pick a word for your year? If so I’d love to hear it in the comments!

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Comments (77)

  1. Amy says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I haven’t thought about choosing just 1 word for the year, but I love this idea! And your word focus really resonated with me as I have multiple things going besides my 3 boys & husband. Now I’ll have to choose a word! 🙂 have a great year!!!

  2. McKenzie H. says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    Simplicity. With a toddler and another due in February, a cross country move and working full time, I’ve promised myself that I will streamline and simplify our home, our routines, and my expectations of myself. I will find contentment in the smaller moments. There probably won’t be any tropical vacations, elaborate entertaining or any of the other things that make for great social media posts, but there will be plenty of low-key get together with family and friends, giggles, messes and memory making. I can’t wait! All the best to you in your 2016 goals for Focus. Thanks for bringing your honesty and positive attitude to your little corner of the Internet. I love reading your posts!

    • SSC says
      Posted January 1, 2016

      As I was reading this, I thought of the word “simplicity” too. Do we need so much stuff? No. Do I need to pile myself under a blanket of stress to make my business successful? No. Does dinner need to be an Instagram-worthy affair every night? It most certainly does not.

      By truly trying to simplify and purge some of the clutter out of my life, I think it’ll be very freeing- plus, purging the house will mean that other people will get to enjoy our castoffs which always makes me happy!

  3. Ashi says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word is balance. I have had the have to have it all mentality and being a first-time Mom in 2015 has made me realize a nice balance is necessary for happiness.

    Happy New Year!


    • Kate says
      Posted January 1, 2016

      It is! Balance is an ongoing struggle for me too!

  4. Alyssa says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I just saw in Real Simple “Own it”, and I like that idea in my 30s.

    • Kate says
      Posted January 1, 2016

      love that!

  5. Arian says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for the year woke me up in the middle of the night. It is Value. I love that I can apply it in so many ways. Value myself and make self care decisions to support that. Ask myself if decisions for my new business are creating value. Am I acting in a way that values my loved ones. Looking at all that, I might need to throw in some balance too lol.

  6. Carrie says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    Fun. Which is a tree with many branches and means something different depending on the context I am thinking about… Whatever will allow me to hVe more fun in 2016 is what I want to do!

  7. Amy says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for the year is Joy…I want to find joy in the mundane areas of my day and also spread joy to those around me.

  8. Christen says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    The phrase that’s been rolling around in my head the last few weeks is “chase peace”. My daughter will be 1 next week and this past year has been a bit tumultuous, so my goal is to chase peace in all situations 🙂

  9. Sherri Yoder says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    Encourage. This past year has brought a lot of change for our family (a move, a baby & a new job for my husband). It’s been a rough adjustment for me, so I am choosing to take the focus off of myself by encouraging others & speaking life to the people I come in contact with.

  10. Emily says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My theme for 2016 is “Prepare.” I am always running late, underestimating how long things will take me, and rushing trying to get 2 young kids out of the house. I hate rushing! Time to get better about preparing for my week and the next day so I can enjoy the people in my life, my work, and the things around me.

  11. Nik says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    Action. I recently read a book by Francis Chan and he said “err on the side of action”, meaning if you feel like you should do something then do it! Don’t wait for a sign, think about it, etc…just go!

  12. Jackie says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I struggle with self care (with 3 little kiddos 5 and under). My intention for this year is to get to know myself, learn to love and care for myself. I’m hoping this self love will spill out to all parts of my life 🙂

  13. Brandi says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word will also be focus. I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2015 so focus is something that I struggle with but desperately need more of in my life.

  14. Gturn62 says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    Purge. That’s what I’m focusing on this year. Having too much “stuff” that I don’t need or use makes me feel overwhelmed. I need to rid my home of things that are not useful or valued.

  15. Alicia Fannin says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for the year is REST because it’s something I’m not very good at. I’m a work from home mom and have lived in a pattern of pushing myself from morning to night with no time for rest or anything enjoyable. I’ve been working on resting more in the last two months since working constantly caught up with me and began to cause me health issues. I’ve been taking time to rest (just chilling out and reading or watching tv, shopping, etc) and I’m amazed how nice it feels to have a healthy balance in my life. So I plan to continue to work on REST and not falling back into old habits.

    Thank you for your beautiful blog! I’m a daily reader from way back and appreciate your tips, tutorials and advice. I often buy products you recommend. 🙂

    I’d love to read a blog post with your marriage/relationship tips since you and your husband seem to have a great marriage.

    Happy New Years! Praying many blessings to you and your family in the year to come!

  16. Maria says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    Kindness is my word for the year. It’s something I want to teach my daughter and a great reminder to myself and everyone that despite the negativity that surrounds us, there’s always room for kindness. Your word this year was mine for last. And between working from home and having a 2 year old it was a struggle and rewarding for me to focus. But I got through and I have a feeling you will too! Thanks for sharing, Kate! Happy New Year 🙂

  17. Deidre says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for this year is intentional. I need to plan and prepare things in my life intentionally. Like reading the bible, or evening devotions. I need to intentionally be optimistic at my job,and intentionally plan to do the things I don’t like doing……this could be a challenge!

    • Posted January 1, 2016

      My word is intentional. I am also not a type A person, so I can be very “go with the flow.” I am an idealist, but I struggle with executing the things I want to accomplish. So I am going to try to be more intentional in all areas of my life!

  18. Heather Holland says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    This post reminds me of what jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there”. I’ve always admired the way you are constantly setting goals for yourself, and I can’t wait to see what you do on the blog in 2016! Happy new year, Kate!

  19. Dana says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word is Now. I find myself all too often worrying or thinking about what happened “yesterday” or trying to plan or worry about the future, that I’m missing the Now. My goal is to be more present right now. My kids are 16 and 9 – these are such important years for both of them and I don’t want to miss it. So NOW it is! Blessings to you and your family in 2016!

  20. Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for 2016 is JOY. I intend to soak in all the little ordinary moments, be grateful for the simple things of life, and spread the joy to others. My word for 2015 was peace (mostly to be at peace with the current situation in my life….wanting a second child but still not getting pregnant) so in 2016 I want to fully enjoy the girl I do already have, the one we prayed for so long. I intend to fully enjoy just her, regardless if she ends up being our only child or whether it is in God’s plan to expand our family.

  21. Lisa says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word is Grace.

  22. Raquel says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I wasn’t thinking about choosing a particular word like that until now. It sounds like it can be very helpful to remind that you need to pay attention to that one word, and improve what you need to improve. I think my word for 2016 is strength. Strength to keep pushing towards my goals, no matter the obstacles I have to overcome. Thank you for the nice post, and good luck focusing in your goals and making them happen! xo

  23. Cynthia says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I’ve been praying about this and God has given me the word LOVE.

    Love my husband, love my children and love every person I come in contact with.

    You know those people who make you feel amazing after you’ve talked to them? I want to make people feel like that after talking to me, and God’s way for me to do that is to love them.

  24. Amy T says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for last year was YIELD. I felt like I was fighting against everything in my life. This year will be MOVEMENT…to be more active, not passive, in my life. I thank you, Kate for all your work/ideas…I found you this last year while you-tubing for hair ideas. now I am looking at your blog daily! I am in my mid 40’s, full time nurse, and have a husband and 9 year old daughter. I had forgotten how to be girly, and to care about my appearance, I got lazy! Thank you for bringing back my feminine side!!

  25. Leah says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I picked a word for each quarter of the year. Courage, focus, flourish, and joy. I felt those were appropriate themes to mediate on for the different phases of the year. Courage to tackle the new beginning, focus to push me into a productive summer, flourish to encourage me to thrive when summer leaves, and joy to enhance my feelings of gratitude and cheer at the end of the year. Looking forward to reading your blog in 2016!

  26. Kristen says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for 2015 was connect and I was quite pleased with my success at that. The 2016 word is health–last year was outside-focused and this year I need to put on my oxygen mask before helping others.

  27. Adelle Davis says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word is Enjoy!!

  28. Shelby says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I have actually never thought to pick a word for the year, but I think I might do just that! I like this idea (and find it easier) than a resolution.

  29. Posted January 1, 2016

    I love the idea of a word! I’d choose “stronger.” I have a lot of fitness-related goals this year and hope to push my body to the limits of what it can do. Also, I want to prepare my body for a potential 3rd baby by the end of the year!

  30. Lizzy says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I love Oprah’s WW commercial….at the end she says “If not now, when?” I could apply that to so many areas in my life and stop *cough* procrastinating.

  31. Posted January 1, 2016

    Love your choice! I also admire people that have a strong ability to focus. While I think I’m pretty good at it sometimes…sometimes is the key. I’ve found planning has been incredibly useful for me to focus on my goals since I’ve always been the type of person that likes to check things of a list. Planning allows me to do that! I think the best tip I have is, figure out what works for you. Do you need to plan certain hours each day and remove all the distractions? Are you a list type of person? Everyone is different but you’ll figure out what works for you. Good luck and Happy New Year!

    Brittany | thechicette.com

  32. Katy C. says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    i do the same thing. Last year’s word was Freedom. This year it’s Discipline. I think I like freedom better…. 😛

  33. Posted January 1, 2016

    Focus is a great word! So was flexibility!

    My word for the year is: Fearless.
    Towards the end of 2015 I finally took the time to focus on getting my anxiety under some sort of control. And so I told myself in 2016 I wanted to work on being fearless vs fearful. I have so many goals and dreams I’d like to achieve this year and I need to go at them head strong and fearless without being afraid of failure of any sort!!

    Happy New Year!

    -Ashlee Michelle

  34. Anna Alexander says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word is “Clarity” the goal is to get clear on what matters so I can remove the things that don’t.
    I’ve used Lara’s Power Sheets the last two years and I love the idea of picking a word and a song. I’m also adding a book. This year the book is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I love the idea of only surrounding yourself with things you love. I’ve been focused on abundance and I have received that in 10 fold, but it hasn’t all been a positive abundance. We just moved and Oh my goodness have we collected a lot of STUFF! So this year it’s about clearing the space and only surrounding myself with things I love.

  35. Peggi says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    Stretch. Physically, to keep my body limber. And mentally, to get (and keep) my mind going. I don’t watch a lot of junky TV, but I need to up my reading.

  36. Katie says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    You should look at the Bullet Journal! Super flexible system of to-do lists that help you stay on task. I started on last July and I am hooked. Look up bullet journal / Ryder Carroll. He’s got a video on how to start.

  37. Katie says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    P.S. I have never chose a word before but the one I am drawn to is JOY.

  38. Megan Haynie says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for 2016 is RELAX. I tend to get stressed very easily, and I need to take time to just relax. I don’t want to get stressed over the little unimportant things in life. Two kids, new home, and work run smoothly when I breathe and chill. Happy New Year!!

  39. Elaine says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I think my word of the year will be patience. I’m due in July with my first, so I know having to wait until July will take a lot of patience and then I know I’m also going to need a lot of it with a newborn!

  40. Amanda says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I love this idea. Thank you. My word, Go. I want to travel more, I want to be off my couch, I want to see more live music, I want to explore, I want to catch more fish. If given the choice to stay or go, I want to go.

  41. Rebecca says
    Posted January 1, 2016


    I need more of it in my life. It’s closely related to focus. When I read your post, I identified a little too much with it. :-/

    Looking forward to 2016! Have a blessed one!

  42. Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for this year is STRENGTH. It can apply to mind, body and spirit.

  43. Justine says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    I love this idea of a word for the year! I agree with the previous poster that this is easier than a resolution (and more adaptable). My word for 2016 is Positive. (I feel like grammatically that should be Positivity, but that sounds weird, too.) Happiness is a choice, regardless of circumstances. Painful things will happen, but if I look for the positive I will feel better. Thank you for the effort you put into this blog. I love your style!

  44. Posted January 1, 2016

    Focus was my word last year, and though I’m not generally an app person and still jot down to-do lists on paper, I found an app called Focus Booster that really helped me. You work in 20 minute chunks, only focusing on one thing at a time, then take a break for five minutes, and work on something else for 20 minutes, etc.. I found that focusing on just one thing for 20 minutes (without checking email, looking at Facebook, etc) made me so much more productive. Good luck your goals this year!

  45. lw says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    Well…it’s more of a motto than a word, but it came to me today so, “Climb that Mountain” is game on for 2016.
    p.s. I find I come to your blog more and more and more. Thank you for what you do!

  46. Sarah says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    You have to check out chalene Johnson she has two periscopes up right now on goal setting. She isn’t a natural at focusing and she has great tips, she also has a book called push that’s a good read for goal setting. Go follow her or google her.

  47. Madeleine says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word is CONTROL. I have let a client dictate too much my schedule, and in my effort to please and make it all work, I have lost control and gained stress. I am the owner of my business, I make my schedule, I need to remind myself that I’m in control! Thank you for this blog post 🙂

  48. Posted January 1, 2016

    My “theme” for the year is “focus on what matters.” I tend to put way too much on my plate and get unfocused, I bet you can relate! After having my first baby in 2015 I’m dialing back this year and focusing on settling in and streamlining my routine, prioritizing and organizing so I can make the most of my time with my little guy when I go back to work in two weeks.

  49. Elisa says
    Posted January 1, 2016

    My word for 2016 is “inspiration”. Instead of trying to change those around me, I want to be the inspiration for them to start eating healthy, to spend less time on their phones and more time with people in real life, to find joy in the everyday tasks, to put a smile on someone’s face whenever they have the chance, to realize that going above and beyond with no expectation of reciprocity feels wonderful, etc. I have a bad habit of getting frustrated when I feel like the people I love are missing out on what is important. The only thing that comes of that, however, is that I end up seeming grouchy all of the time. I want to focus on living my life to the fullest and hopefully I will inspire those around me to do the same. If not, at least I didn’t sabotage my own happiness! I also think this will help where my husband is concerned. He doesn’t deserve me trying to change his every move. Instead I will try to be his inspiration! Yes, I like how that sounds. Much more supportive and positive!

  50. Shannon says
    Posted January 2, 2016

    My word that I chose for 2016 is to be mindful. I want to be more aware of everything that is going on in my life and not just let everything slide as soon as I get stressed. Only one day into the new year and I can already tell that ‘mindful’ is going to be the perfect word to sum up this year!

  51. Amanda says
    Posted January 2, 2016

    My work of 2016 is patience. I’ve made a number of large goals for myself this new year but none of them are going to happen without a lot of hard work and patience.

  52. Tonia says
    Posted January 2, 2016

    My word for this year is “quiet”. As in tranquil and peaceful. I’m combining it with my word from 2015, simplify. Best wishes for a wonderful 2016!!

  53. kendall says
    Posted January 2, 2016

    Focus is such a great word for 2016! I’m going to keep that one in mind for next year. My word for this year is joy. It sounds like you have a great year ahead of you!

  54. Jacquelyn Alvarado says
    Posted January 2, 2016

    It was difficult to pick just one word.. But the more I thought about it and searched inspirational words one resonated most with me-My word for 2016 is REINVENTION. It encompasses so many things that I want to achieve in my life this year – contentment, live simply, a closer walk with God, happiness, healthy habits, being bold, taking action, speaking my mind and not being so focused on pleasing others and learning to enjoy life fully..

  55. Andrea says
    Posted January 2, 2016

    I am really enjoying everyone’s response. My word for 2016 is purge.
    Purge the junk in my house and organize it. Purge negative thoughts. Purge people who I don’t need in my life that upset me and purge my bad eating habits. Good luck everyone!

  56. susan says
    Posted January 2, 2016

    What a great idea. A word is so much better than a bunch of resolutions.
    Thanks for getting us all thinking!


  57. Posted January 2, 2016

    I’ve been doing a word of the year since 2011, it’s a great way to focus the year. no pun intended 😉 my word for this year is gather!

  58. Posted January 2, 2016

    I love determining one word like focus and incorporating it the year! Xo, Stephanie

  59. Posted January 3, 2016

    I seriously love this! I started a new job a few months ago and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself making myself focus more on what I’m doing. This is such a great idea to choose a word and center yourself on that in the next year!

    Mary Kate

  60. Gwen says
    Posted January 3, 2016

    My word is intentional. When I plan my days I want to be intentional with my words and more importantly with my actions to obtain the goals we have set as a family. I loved your comment about about your kids being one year apart. I travelled that road. They are now 14 and 15. It was crazy at times, and still is, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!!

  61. Heather says
    Posted January 3, 2016

    I actually have two words but they come from Zechariah 8:19b and it says “Therefore, love truth and peace”. so truth and peace. I know when truth is in my mind, peace will be in my heart. I want to fill my home with truth and abide in the truth.
    With abiding in the truth, I know peace and freedom will reign.
    It’s been years since I have commented so I just wanted to encourage you to keep pressing on. I’ve been following you since the beginning I think and I so appreciate your blog and love hearing your heart. You are making a difference.

  62. Samantha Lisic says
    Posted January 3, 2016

    Last year my word was simplify. It is funny how different my goals look year to year! This year my word is “Victory.” I strive to look at every situation as how can I achieve victory. Small or big, I know viewing everything this way will help me make God decisions rather than good decisions. Whether that is not eating a second brownie (or third or fourth, let’s be real) or choosing to spend time with my husband rather than my phone, I will focus on making each choice a victory so I can be a (as my pastor says) a victor not a victim! Loved your post about your word this year! Very inspiring!

  63. Roxanne says
    Posted January 3, 2016

    Thank you for such an inspirational post! I love the idea of picking a word to “meditate” on. And I also like that you are expanding on last years’ goals. Thanks for posting such great content this year, and I can’t wait to see what your focus brings in 2016!


  64. Lisa says
    Posted January 3, 2016

    My word is “Decide”. Often I struggle to make decisions, wanting to make the very best choice – be it finding the perfect picture to hang on the wall or a new pair of boots, all the while wondering to myself, “Is there something better out there?” The answer is no. I think of Gretchen Rubin’s reference to Volatire’s words: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” which helps me to remember to JUST MAKE A DECISION! I don’t need someone else’s opinion, I’m perfectly capable of deciding on my own.

  65. Lisa says
    Posted January 3, 2016

    My word is “Decide”. Often I struggle to make decisions, wanting to make the very best choice – be it finding the perfect picture to hang on the wall or a new pair of boots, all the while wondering to myself, “Is there something better out there?” The answer is no. I think of Gretchen Rubin’s reference to Voltaire’s words: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” which helps me to remember to JUST MAKE A DECISION! I don’t need someone else’s opinion, I’m perfectly capable of deciding on my own.

  66. Posted January 4, 2016

    I’ve chosen words for the year in the past, but there is so much going on this year with our fourth baby being born, a possible job change and interstate move, and starting a remodel process all over again…I’m afraid that word would just be “survive”. XD

  67. Anita Robinson says
    Posted January 4, 2016

    I had not decided on a new word for 2016 but I think I will chose “calm.” My oldest will be graduating from high school this spring. His college plans are still undecided. Whatever he decides (which college? commute? live on campus? how to pay for it?), this will be a major transition for our family. We are also in the process of finding a new church for our family after leaving my childhood church. This has been very difficult for my family. We also plan to build a new house while trying to sell our current house. We built our current house, so I know this is stressful. I tend to be a worrier (as are most women) so it’s hard for me to stay CALM and give it to the Lord. I know this will be a good word for me to have as my goal this year. In 2013, I chose the word “trust” and 2 weeks later my dad passed away suddenly. I did put my trust in God and He gave such wonderful grace throughout that ordeal. Those were the times I had to live day by day, hour by hour. I hope that “calm” will remind me to react more positively and try not to worry so much!

  68. Angela says
    Posted January 4, 2016

    Equality. Love and equality aren’t things that come easily to some. My goal for 2016 is to help educate and enlighten the people I come into contact with to broaden the worlds view of love and equality. Lead by example. Have patience in the face of ignorance and try to use these encounters as teaching moments instead of getting frustrated in the face of hatred. In my personal life I need to practice equality within my home. I need to find time to give one on one time to all of my children, not just the youngest which can be hard sometimes because a 5 year old requires more guidance than the 11 or 13 year old sometimes do. It’s my goal to make them all feel equally loved by the time I dedicate to them. Even in small ways of just sitting and chatting before bedtime or hearing about their days. Life is so busy and I need to stop and give them the equal attention they deserve.

  69. Katie says
    Posted January 7, 2016

    I’m on my third year of picking a word… this year, my word is Plenty. My Hubs & I have several side hustles going, and I think this is the year that we’re going to see plenty (after a few years of scraping by, I sure hope this year is one of plenty!)

    I love this One Word thing so much, that I’m starting a One Word Journey monthly link-up. I’ll be posting about how I see my life/choices/etc being affected by my word on the first of every month.

  70. Melissa says
    Posted January 7, 2016

    My word is RELEASE. I am going to strive this year in learning how to RELEASE my stress, RELEASE my impatience, RELEASE giving the “yes” word to everybody. I feel like if I tell someone no then they will hate me, pout, and make me feel unworthy inside. I am also going to RELEASE my intensive need to have everything in its place, everything clean, and everything being perfect. I am only one person and to be a good mother and a grandmother, I am going to have to realize that the pillows don’t have to be perfectly fluffed on the bed or that it really is ok to have a basket full of laundry in the wash room. I am going to RELEASE my resentment I have to those who have wronged me in the past. My 2016 motto is “inhale…RELEASE”

  71. Posted January 10, 2016

    My word is Breakthrough. I feel like this is the year for me to work on some big things which I have been sitting on and pondering for a while.