My #oneword for 2018: Appreciation

I love New Years Resolutions. When I commit to one, I am tenacious about trying to keep it.

In 2015, I made my workout resolution a SMART goal, and I’m proud to say that I completed it – I fulfilled that resolution from January 1 through December 31st. Woot.

In 2016, I made recommitted to the previous year’s workout resolution but made it even more challenging this time, and around mid-October, I was so far ahead that I got bored with it (though I did complete it). Woot. Woot. And I started thinking ahead.

As I looked to 2017 (in November of 2016), I came across the One Word Resolution idea for the first time (I believe through Bethany Hill’s #JoyfulLeaders hashtag -@bethhill2829) and loved the concept behind it. So, I gave myself some time to reflect, and fortuitously came across the following quote…


What a powerful idea.

Now, I am and have always been a person who is appreciative of the many blessings in my life, but I had never thought of the term Gratitude as anything more than just an after-the-fact thankfulness. This quote, however, suggests much more. Holden’s contention here is that gratitude is a mindset, a present consciousness that you are attuned to your gratitude in the now. The idea struck me so profoundly that I knew I had found my One Word.

Though I had identified my word for 2017, something still troubled me about it. I felt at the time that I needed to define my One Word to identify how I intended to interpret that word as a life philosophy. Now, I get it – you might be saying, Well doesn’t that kind of defeat the whole idea of selecting one single word? Maybe. But just as my previous resolutions had benefitted from being written as SMART goals, I felt (and still believe) that defining that one word, in your own words, adds clarity and purpose to an otherwise vague idea.

So my 2017 one word was Gratitude and my definition was…


The picture I chose for this quote was taken on a hammock under the Santa Monica Pier. It’s a photo that represented a moment of peace in 2016 I had been quite grateful for at the time, so I created this image and made it the desktop on my computer to encourage me to revisit it often.

Triple Woot.

I actually loved the idea so much that I decided to make creating a One Word Resolution the icebreaker activity to start off the spring semester for all my classes. Each student selected a word, defined the word, and then used Snapchat or Adobe Spark Post to create an image or video that contained their own One Word Resolution along with a simple sentence definition of the word. I collected this assignment using Seesaw, and then took some of the best examples and made them into a video using Animoto. Here’s what we all came up with…

So, 2017 got off to a start I was grateful for (*smirk) and that one word kept me grounded and focused on the positives in life despite the many personal hardships I faced in 2017. By year’s end, I felt I had improved at being grateful in the present, so I began considering my next step for 2018.

Alright. So, all this backstory and context has led me to select the word Appreciation for 2018. In 2017, I became a much more in-the-moment grateful person, and what I found was that my gratitude was often ignited or inspired by (or with) someone else. From simple moments playing with my children to times gathered around a table in conversation with friends enjoying good food & drink to moments with my students or athletes or colleagues that epitomized the reason I chose this profession, I found myself profoundly grateful for time spent with others. But ya know what, while being grateful in the moment is a reward in and of itself, my passion in 2018 is to make that gratitude something I openly share.

So I have a new desktop image now…


I can’t wait to spread as much positivity as I can in 2018 and share with others just how much I appreciate them during those moments I am so grateful to experience.

So let me just say to anyone still reading, THANK YOU for taking the time to share in my story. I would encourage you to take time this year to tell the people in your life just how much they mean to you.

Best wishes for a happy 2018!

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