For the past few years, instead of choose resolutions, I have choosen a specific word that I want to focus on in the upcoming year.

2010 – Languish

2011 – Gratitude

2012 – Faith

2013 – Joy

I started thinking about my word for 2014 in early December.  I tossed around a few ideas that really resonated with me, chief among them was content.  In 2014, I wanted to feel content and peaceful, satisfied and fulfilled.  And while all of those were good words, none of them really hit the level of energy I had about the coming year.

Yes, I want to be content, but I really want to be more than content.

Yes, I want to be peaceful, but I really want to be more than peaceful.

Yes, I want to be satisfied and fulfilled, but I want so much more than that.

I don’t want to stop at being content.  I want to be HAPPY, darn it!  I want to be full of laughter and giggles.  I want to smile and cheer and jump up and down.  I want to lay my head down at night feeling more than satisfied.  I want to be HAPPY about the day I just had, and even HAPPIER about the day I’ll wake up to in the morning.  Life it too short to merely be content.


Last year, I focused on joy and I know it seems like joy and happiness are almost too similar to distinguish.  But in my year of joy, I learned that joy is intrinsic in all of us, put there as a gift from God.  I believe we experience joy to different degrees, based on how open we are to feeling it and how focused we are on recognizing it in our lives.  I needed joy last year.  I needed God to fill me with his happiness because I didn’t have it in me to do it myself.

But after a year of living in joy, focusing on joy, striving for joy, and recognizing joy, my heart is indeed joyful.  And so now I shift to happiness.  Happiness derives from joy, but I take owernship of happiness.  Whereas joy comes from God, happiness is a gift I can give myself.

Just as I was searching for the right word, a friend of mine sent out an email to a group of women, asking us to form a “Happiness Group.”  She had just finished reading the book, “The Happiness Project,” and she wanted us to all read the book and then form an accountability group as we persued each of our own happiness plans in 2014.   About three chapters into the book, I realized happiness was my one word.  That was it.  It was as simple and as complicated as that.  I wanted to be able to make myself happy.

The idea of a happiness project is that you identify an area of your life each month to focus on making happier.  For example, one area that would make me much happier would be better sleep habits.  I am borderline insomniatic, and most nights have trouble falling asleep and then staying asleep throughout the night.  If I could simply learn to sleep better, I think it would make me a lot happier throughout the day by giving me more energy.  So, in the month of January, I am going to be focusing on becoming a better sleeper.

But a happiness plan takes it even further.  Once you have your focus for the month (sleep, for example), you then make several goals for that focus.  In January, I will be focusing on sleep and my three goals will be:

1.  Set a bedtime.

2.  Establish a nighttime routine.

3.  No cell phone or computer after 8:00pm.

I’m in the process of making my happiness project for the entire year right now.  I’ve set all my focuses, and am starting to work on setting my goals for each month.  Once I get the entire project set, I’ll be sure to share it here and each month I’ll be documenting my progress.

Putting aside the happiness project, what are you striving for this year?  What is your one word or resolution or focus in 2014?


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20 Thoughts to “#OneWord2014”

  1. My word would be renewal. Actually kind of wrote about this in my post today, but I am hoping to focus on my well-being inside and out, starting first with love and my faith.

  2. I chose the word better for 2014. I want to do better than I have at several things. I don’t have to be perfect, but I can improve!

  3. I love this idea! I have to think of mine. I’d also love to do this with my clients (I’m a therapist).

  4. Alyssa

    My word this year is Magical. I want to make my kids childhood magical, I want them to think childhood lasts forever. Teaching them about the real world can wait a little longer. In turn I’ll have magical memories of this time home with my kids.

  5. Hilary

    I think with all this change that is happening in education (I’m a middle school ELA teacher too) my word for the year is “patience.” Specifically, patience with the process of moving in a new direction professionally, patience with my students and colleagues as well as patience with myself. I have an awful tendency to get frustrated and discouraged easily when things don’t go as planned, a lesson tanks or a student continues to struggle no matter what I do. So I am going to wake up each morning and pray that the Lord grants me His supernatural patience so that I can greet each challenge with optimism and endurance. I plan to focus my personal Bible studies on the characters like Joseph, Job, and Paul who had to persevere through numerous trials and yet continued to have faith that the Lord would see them through.

  6. Vedhanandini

    I have been following your blog for some time now.i am from India and reading your blog has given me a perspective on American way of life and I can relate to so many things which you talk about.
    We are planning to move to US this year for a two year time frame.i have an 8 year old girl child and she should be joining 4 th grade.can you give me an insight on how school life would be for an 8 year old child in your country.looking forward to your reply.
    Happy new year to the brown family.

  7. My word for 2014 is focus! I wrote about it on my blog but basically, I want to cure myself of multitaaking

  8. Challenge. I am challenging myself with the last class of my masters degree. I am challenging myself to be a better mom. I am challenging myself to work on more difficult quilt patterns. I need to strive for more and challenge myself to improve instead of just doing as I’ve always done.

  9. Casey

    Mine is healthy. Life has been very stressful and rough the past 2 years on our family and a healthy lifestyle went to the wayside as we worked hard to save our marriage and battled PTSD (my husband) and Autism (my oldest daughter). So as things are getting back on track I want to be healthy. Healthy for me and for my family.

  10. Great, great, great January goals! Funny that The Happiness Project seems to be all the rage now, despite having been out for several years. Wishing you all the best in 2014!

  11. My word for this year is your word from last year: JOY. Though my thoughts tie into your thoughts on happiness. I am seeking deliberate joy in the coming year. I hope you have have happy and blessed 2014!

  12. […] In the past I have made resolutions. But they aren’t always attainable things or they are something you do then don’t really continue. A few friends have talked about having a word for the year. I love this idea. I have seen it done very well here. […]

  13. My word for 2014 is ‘downsize’… my husband and I are about to move into a small apartment with our family so that we can live on 1/2 his income and save the other half… I’m RIDICULOUSLY excited about this little adventure. We move in 1 month – which means my downsize project for the month of January is to literally cut our possessions in half {if possible}.

    I started small – yesterday I went through my nail polish 😉

  14. PJ

    An advice columnists take on why it’s so hard to be happy. I thought it might help you a little: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/03/AR2010010301563.html

  15. Jenna

    Grace. As in “grace, not perfection” … Thanks to Emily Ley!

    Happiness Project is on my shelf to read. Looking forward to hearing your adventures!

  16. Maggie

    love this! I’ve been reading your blog for years but I’ve only commented a handful of times. I became intrigued with the idea of happiness a few years ago and went on my own journey about how to find it. It was very interesting; I learned so much about MYSELF! Still deciding on my oneword for this year. Focus is one of them. I have this idea that I can do anything I set my mind to, I just don’t know what to set my mind to! Looking forward to your year of happiness!

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