New Word for the Year

“New and improved.”

“Clean slate.”

And my favorite: “makeover.” These are all phrases I love to hear this time of year.

In seventh grade I moved to a new city and a new school. I had a brilliant idea–a revelation, really.

I would be part of the popular group. The kids at this school didn’t know who I was or where I came from. I would make new friends and decide who I was going to become. I would decide my fate.

I don’t need to add that my idea was a failure and seventh grade was one lonely year.

In the truest sense, the only real makeover I ever had came in college from deciding to follow Jesus and he started to mend the bruised and broken places in my life. The hurts from wanting high school boys to like me. My pride and my desire to look sophisticated and worldly instead of naive. Concerns over money. And mostly, an overwhelming self-consciousness and fear about what other people thought of me. (Well, that’s a short list with many more not mentioned.)

One of my favorite parts of my daughter’s age right now is her complete lack of self-consciousness so she can say what she’s thinking and dance wherever we are. I hope she doesn’t lose that for long.

The pursuit to simplify our lives and home wasn’t so much an instant makeover but a commitment — a long series of choices to keep things on the small scale when everything around us keeps getting bigger. The quest to organize isn’t an end to itself, but a means to accomplish other, bigger, better goals.

When I look at this past year, I can see the fruits of what I’ve learned and those choices we’ve made. The word to describe this past year for me: Bold.

The word I think might describe this coming year: Adventure.

What words would you choose to the describe this next year?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Great words! For this year for me: Being and Blessing.
    I Live in an Antbed´s last post…Hows That for a Conversation Starter

  2. I think the words that will dictate 2011 for me will be DETERMINED and FEARLESS. Being a shy, introverted person, I’ve lived my entire life in fear of something – failure, criticism, rejection, even success. Last summer, I really started to look at myself and my life and I asked myself, “What would your life be like if it wasn’t controlled by fear?” I decided to become fearless for once in my life and I started my food blog and even though it’s in a virtual world, it’s really made me bolder and braver in every other aspect of my life. My goals for 2011 may not be realized but I will strive for them without fear so I already consider myself successful. Good luck on your ADVENTURE. I will be following you.

  3. My word for 2011 is peace.

    Peace in my home, peace in my heart, my family…..peace among chaos.

  4. Homecoming.

    I didn’t know that until about an hour ago, but for no fewer than 5 very significant reasons, it’s perfect.

    Happy New Year.
    the cottage child´s last post…My favorite things this Christmas

  5. Great post! They always are!

    Words for 2011—-peace, calm, healing.

    All are a work in progress.


  6. I’ve thought a lot about this lately. My word for 2010 was most definitely “simplicity,” because that’s when I started to see my Stuff as a source of anxiety.

    As I’ve thought about this coming year, I keep coming back to the phrase “settle in.” I want to stop feeling like my life is in flux all the time and I just want to settle in to a year. Mind you, we’ll be making a major life decision half way through the year and things will be up in the air for a while, but having crazy external circumstances doesn’t mean that I can’t be calm internally.
    Jennie´s last post…The Difference Between Simple and Easy

  7. I think I’m going to have to join you with “Adventure!” A move to the unknown, a baby on the way, a commitment to writing on a regular basis, and hopefully the starting of an etsy shop!

    I better take a deep breath tonight because 2011 is going to be a deep plunge!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…My Ammah Gets a Christmas Surprise

  8. The word I have chosen for 2011 is “Eliminate”. Eliminate stress, debt, excess things, bad food choices, and many other things. Not everything can be eliminated in one year, and some things may be beyond my control, but if I focus on eliminating things that are not good choices for me, then I will be on the right track!

  9. Beautiful words! I have chosen my word for these new year : “Perseverance”, “Work”, and “discipline” and always love. All you need is love.

    Happy New Year.
    Jesica´s last post…Kitchen Carts

  10. Mine this year will be “Que Sera” I’m starting over, I am getting a divorce, i moved back to my home town (from 18 hours away) I’m back to being a single mommy…I think “que sera” will best fit the upcoming WONDERFUL year

  11. “Fresh Start” and “Action” are the two phrases that I am focussing on as we start 2011. I like how you described your reflection from the perspective of what you’ve learned from the choices you’ve made. I think you do a great job of encouraging your readers to be deliberate and thoughtful about our choices in life. I look forward to a clean slate and new choices!

  12. Changes!
    JWK´s last post…Happy New Year!!

  13. Great words and wonderful post! 2010 was a BIG year for us and we took many steps outside of my comfort zone – which was good on so many levels. I have four words for 2011:

    “Moderation” – in plans, in finances, in eating

    “Growth” – not stopping with what we achieved LAST year, but looking for new opportunities THIS year

    “Contentment” – I want to be totally satisfied with where I live, what I do, and and what I have

    “Thankfulness” – taking time to count my blessings

    Happy New Year!
    Carrie´s last post…Thankful For – 2010 Recap

  14. great post!

    my words for 2011 are: growth, contentment and joy. probably sounds like a contradiction but there are areas in my life where i need to grow, and other areas where i need to be content and simply enjoy what i’ve been given.

  15. My word for this year is “Faith”. Faith to follow God where he is leading us to our new beginning and to share my faith (something I’m not good at).
    We are moving 5 hours from our home town so Hubby can study for fulltime ministry, I already have a new job to go to which I start in 4 weeks, the kids’ school has been sorted out thanks to the Bishop. We just keep praying for a buyer for our house so we can all be back together ASAP.

    • My word is FAITH too. And for much of the same reasons. Mid year we’re up and moving to a different state for my husband to go back to school. Our house sold in 7 days, (very unlikely here), and that’s the exact moment when we sighed in relief knowing God was sending us away. I have no job lined up, my husband will be making “cowboy wages” as a student worker, and we’ve got a 18 mo old. It all seems so irresponsible…except when you have FAITH that God’s going to take care of your every need…. and when you KNOW this is God’s will.

      Good luck to you!!

  16. I, for one, am really looking forward to your adventure of a year! I mentioned the idea to my hubby, and it at least gave us food for thought…enjoy the now (even with small children) so we don’t regret it later. Happy New Year!
    Minnesotamom´s last post…Ending the Year with Gratitude

  17. 2010 was Greatness. I have a feel 2011 will be Lot of Work. I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and get to it!
    Happy New Year to All!

    Ps: I still dance in the grocery store if the mood is right. They call me tactless. Go figure?! :)))

  18. LOVE this idea… just one word? I must think about that more… eliminate? simplify? perhaps just to be PURPOSEFUL?

  19. Karen (Scotland) says:

    For 2010, I would have to say GRATITUDE – felt every single day – for my family, our health and for our newest addition, sweet Nina.
    For 2011, it will have to be TIME. This is what my husband and I need to have more of (for ourselves, for each other and for our children).
    To get there, we are simplifying, decluttering, organising and making more deliberate choices on what we do choose to do, both alone and as a family unit.
    Thanks for another lovely post,
    Karen (Scotland)

  20. H O P E –
    heidi @ wonder woman wannabe´s last post…New Years Inspirations and Motivations – The Year of Less is More

  21. I love the words people have chosen. Among the words I tend to forget, although I try to keep repeating them to myself, are HERE and NOW. I constantly find myself thinking that I’ll be happier when this is finished or when I’ve accomplished that. Life is here and now.

  22. I have two words…one came to me in September…BRAVE. And the other…came to me just yesterday…DO. This is the year to be BRAVE and get things DONE…things I’ve wanted to DO, things that I need to DO…2011 will be the year to be BRAVE and DO things even if they’re scary…or can’t be done perfectly. Perfection is not the goal…moving forward is.

    Happy New Year…2011 is going to be good. xo

  23. Mika (Poland) says:

    Thanks for your great post, inspiring as usual. Reading your blog gave me really a lot of food for thinking.
    My words for 2011: HOPE, MANAGE, RECOVER
    I HOPE I will MANAGE to RECOVER from my long lasting health problems…
    All the best for you and your whole great family on your new path of life!

  24. Love your words!

    2010 growth

    2011 Freedom

  25. Cyn Plahuta says:

    2010: Dumping

    Dumping people, dumping things, dumping old monotonous ideas.

    2011: Slowing

    A ton more time for prayer, for service, for my art, for my critters. I’m 58 and it’s time to begin the season of slowing.

  26. LOVE….one word that says and gives it all. Starting with loving self – love removes boundaries and resentments – love brings peace and happiness – love is unconditional. All we really have in this world is each other. Let’s love one another as we so want to be loved.

    My love to you all this new year and always xoxo

  27. Just wanted to say that thank you for boldness in talking about your faith in Jesus, and I’d LOVE it if you’d post the story of how you came to know him and how he changed your life! I too am a believer!

    • It is so good to hear or read what others say about their faith in Jesus!!! Without Him in my life I could not endure anything. He is my love, my life and my inspiration. By putting Christ first I can then get the rest of my life in persective. I can’t begin to list how my life has been blessed all because of Jesus.

      It’s heartwarming to hear other believers speak out!

  28. I LOVE this post. The last few days I have thought long and hard on how I want to go into the new year. I landed on a word that I am going to be working on and writing about on my blog.

    My word is HOSPITALITY.

    The word hospitality comes from the same Latin root as hospital or hospice. These words imply care, sustenance, shelter. Entertaining, on the other hand, for most of us has an entirely different connotation. When we think of entertaining guests in our home, we tend to think of beautiful table settings, flower arrangements, gourmet dishes-everything just so. Hospitality is not entertaining, not a planned-for event or performance. True hospitality is an attitude of service, the desire to confer care and concern on others.
    Gail@Faithfulness Farm´s last post…New Year Greetings!

  29. So many great words mentioned.
    For me, more of a phrase, “get ‘er done”. This coming year I plan to follow through on things I want to do and to get it done in a timely manner.

    Best wishes for all in 2011!

  30. Beautiful post Rachel. :) My word for 2010 was “focus”, it helped a lot. I lost 42 pounds, ran 3 5ks (I am working up to do a 10k in the spring/summer of ’11!)
    Focus has helped me in other areas too, my marriage, my kids.

    I was thinking today of a good word for 2011. The one that I felt really drawn to was “inspire”. I want to inspire my husband, kids, friends, family, myself. Just like you inspire me. ;)

    Have a very Happy New Year!

  31. Love what you wrote! I am looking forward to reading your adventures… meanwhile my word for 2010 was “exhaustion” – it seemed to feature in my journals a lot! For 2011 I am considering “balance” and “health”…. right now improving the nutrition as I have concluded lots of the exhaustion was from not having correct nutrition for the tri training… Looking forward to a terrific 2011!
    angelvalerie´s last post…children in our world…

  32. Yes! I thought, one year, that I would reinvent myself. I wanted to go by a new name. Then, when I got to class, there was another girl with my new name, and none with my old one. I didn’t want the hassle of being Lisa P, so I kept Anna.

  33. Forward…

  34. BALANCE…last year we created our family mission statement, this year we will make it a reality.
    Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith´s last post…7 Quick Takes Fridays- Christmastide Edition

  35. Adventure is such a great word, one of looking foward to fun times!
    Tina@GottaRunNow´s last post…2211 Miles in 2010!

  36. I think my word is READY. I want to be READY for what is coming my way. Keeping my priorities on my mind and making good choices. I’m tired of feeling behind. I’m ready for 2011.
    Lauri V.´s last post…Resolutions for the New Year

  37. I like “BRAVE” and “HEALING”. Thank you everyone for your inspiring comments.

  38. Intentional
    Megan @ Faith Like Mustard´s last post…More Motivation to Join the 90 Day Challenge

  39. My word for 2010: Trust

    2011: Outstretched Hands.

    I guess it’s more of a visual; open hands extended to receive from God – and also outstretched to give out to others, from what I’ve received from Him.

    I guess it boils down to: Open

  40. Better. After a year of ups and downs and one of my greatest dreams coming true, it can only get better.

    It also covers the goals I want to accomplish in health, parenting, etc.
    Jana´s last post…Bookmarked!

  41. I have chosen the word REINVENT!! I am soooo looking forward to growing my art in 2011!!!

  42. Marianne Hammonds says:

    my word for the new year is challenging. Being told last year that I have Rheumatiod Arthitis, it has been a struggle each day to get much accomlished. There is so much I want to do in this new year. Setting small goals each day and learning to let go on days when I cant physically do much.With the Lord’s help I can do this.

  43. My word for 2011 is also definitely ADVENTURE. I’m a chinese girl from Indonesia who’s now living in Alaska :D yeah.. I’m certainly gonna be adventurous in 2011 :)

  44. My husband is unemployed as of the week before Christmas for the first time in 29 years and we are going to be living on a third of our income for a while. It’s scary AND exciting so I’m going to choose SELF-SUSTAINING and FRUGAL for our words this year. I just hope when the crisis has passed we don’t forget the lessons we are learning and living now.
    Lisa Medley´s last post…Energy Audit

  45. I felt like I was reading my own story! In seventh grade I became the “new kid” and had much the same “brilliant idea” And became a Christian just after college. So funny!

  46. what a lovely post. I like your words. And I like thinking about my year this way.

    I am happy to leave 2010 behind because it was a very hard year, so here are my words for 2011:

    Margo´s last post…Christmas Eve Breakfast

  47. i have been following your blog for a bit now and i absolutely love this one! i am always eager to read….

    my 2010 word: appreciate

    my 2011 word: patience (although adventure is my second choice!)

  48. Denise C. says:

    Yesterday I was so sure inspire would be my word for 2011. I have actually moved it as runner up. After watching my kids play today, I have decided my word is going to be playful. Playful & inspire. Yes, those sound good to me. ;)

  49. Rachel,

    Wishing you very happy adventurous 2011. One year that would describes 2010 for me is “surviving” and I am hoping that 2011 will bring “thriving” to me and family.

    Wish you, Doug and kids very happy new 2011 and much love. I will read and be part of your adventure as you travel and your life journey.

    Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last post…Starting Off New Year With Trials and Errors

  50. Health. Peace. Passion.
    Three words that will be the focus of everything that we do in 2011.

    Will be with you every step of your adventure-filled year, Rachel. Happy New Year!

    Prerna´s last post…25 Fantastic Free eBooks to Help You Be Your Best in 2011

  51. LOVE the idea of having a word mantra to keep me on course for the new year. I think mine will be “compassion”

  52. Peaceful balance. Those are my words for the new year!
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…8 week Journey to Balance begins January 2!

  53. I just commented elsewhere that I want “balance” to be my word for 2011, but I haven’t really met my goal for 2010, which was to take care of old karma. Perhaps my theme should be simply, taking care, which encompasses both ideas? Best wishes for your adventurous new year!
    Rachael´s last post…Small Changes- January 2011

  54. The word that I keep coming back to is- Basics.

    I get so stressed out by all the things to do and learn and be, and all those things are great in and of themselves, but for me I need to get back to the basics. no extras right now

    Simple meals. Drink water. Read my devotion daily. Spend lots of time with my son and husband.

    Rhiannon´s last post…Waiting

  55. Great post! I love your word for the year and I love the idea of choosing a word for the year. My word is STRONG
    Jane´s last post…Happy New Year and One Little Word

  56. My word this year is “intention”. I am going to start doing things with intention and surrounding myself with intentional things. No more “keeping up with so-and-so” and getting dragged into commitments that I’m not 100% committed to. I am going to live with intentionality.
    Stephanie´s last post…Wordless Wednesday

  57. I’m a little late to the party, but I’m finally making some resolutions. Last year, the word was definitely “change”–at least for the last few months. This year, I think I’m going for “acceptance.” It can work on a lot of different levels.
    Catherine´s last post…Mindfulness Or just not caring

  58. Recently I was listening to Joyce Meyer and something she said really made me “think”. She said something to the effect of “THINK” what you are thinking about. It’s so true, when I focus on my problems, I stay stuck and cant move forward. So, I’m going to really try to work on this ;o)

  59. My word is “BE”- to work when I work, to play when I play, to really Be in the moment
    priest’s wife´s last post…Regrets- Ive had a few

  60. My word for this year is “authentic”. It is time for the authentic me to step forward! The feeling of this year feels bright, shiny and new! Love it! Loved your post! Namaste <3
    Karen Beagles´s last post…A Year in Blog Land

  61. Grace and Gratefulness

  62. Intentional!

  63. Hi All,

    I just found this thread on the website and wanted to jump in with my word for the year.
    2010 was Horizon…and that has changed and is changing in my life.
    2011 is Beauty. I read John & Stasi Eldredge’s amazing book called “Captivating” It’s about the heart and soul of what a woman really is…and was astounded that God created us to be beautiful – that’s part of our purpose. Internal and external beauty.
    So this year, I am going to consciously add beauty and bring beauty to my life and those around me.

    Thanks for the wonderful posts! Truly feel the sense of community here.