What is your one word or phrase that captures your intention?

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What one word describes your approach to a new year? While there is nothing magical about the start of a new year, many people find a new year is like a clean slate – a chance to reflect on where you are in your life and where you want to go.

Choosing one word or phrase to anchor your goals into the year ahead allows you to set an intention, be focused and guided by this word/phrase, while allowing flexibility for the unknown of your future. It allows you to state what you want to embrace more of in the year ahead. This approach of choosing a word or phrase is a little more holistic in its approach compared to setting random resolutions.


How to find your “one word”

You may be perfectly content with where you are in your life, in which case, a guiding “one word” or phrase might be something like “embrace what I have”.


For 2019, my one word was “live”, which I used to help me [try to] balance out the competing priorities in my life. I would embrace this word when I got out in the mountains instead of being at my desk. I would embrace this word when I built in time for social connection, instead of getting everything perfect on the home front. I would ask myself “how am I living?” when I let work take over other important areas of my life.


When I work with clients, we are usually in the territory of exploring change. We explore eating patterns, how you eat, why you eat, the beliefs you hold about food and health, and skills that could help move you toward a healthier version of yourself. Exploring change involves creating space in your life for change, and examining how your mindset is supporting you or holding you back from the future you desire.


Even when it is really important to you, change is hard as it usually involves breaking down beliefs and self-talk that is no longer serving you.


For 2020, I decided to embrace doing hard things for myself, in part, to walk along in spirit with the hard changes that I support my clients in making.  I have chosen to anchor into the “one word” phrase “Find my edge”.


There are areas of my life where I am “comfortable”. I am curious about stepping out of this comfort to see what might come in this new territory. I know this is going to involve discomfort of moving into the unknown and breaking down mental barriers that exist to keep me “safe” and comfortable.


While I don’t love “pain”, sometimes the pain of staying where you are currently is worse than the pain of pushing into unknown territory. That is where I am at right now.


Finding my edge captures my intention for aiming for my personal best. This spirit will guide me in developing and launching some new programs in 2020 (stay tuned!), for continuing to explore plant-based foods in my kitchen (follow these on Instagram), and for my fitness (more to come on that later).

Questions to help you find your “one word”

My previous leadership coach, Leona DaVinne sent me a list of questions to reflect on in preparation for 2020. With her permission, I am sharing these with you to help you think about your word/phrase:

  • Looking back over the last year and decade. What were some of the highlights? What were some of the low points?
  • How have you grown in the last year/decade?
  • What’s your biggest learning been?
  • What do you want more of in the coming year?
  • What do you want less of?
  • What will you leave behind from this past year/decade?
  • What do you need to give yourself permission for to make this the best year?
  • In what areas do you want to grow in the new year?
  • What’s your intention for the year?
  • If you had one word or a phrase that captured your intention for year, what would that be?
  • With that word in mind what are some ways that you can really honour that intention?
  • What could you focus on weekly or even daily that would bring more of that intention into your life?

If you do embark on this exercise, I would love to hear what your one word or phrase is for the year ahead.

Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian Calgary, AB.


  1. Hi Kristyn, great post, as usual! Right now I want my word to be “plan”, because lately it feels like I’ve just been reacting and trying to keep up. (Lately as in since becoming a parent! Haha.) But we’ll see. I started a 2019 calendar audit, hunting for things that moved us forward, wastes of time/energy, and sources of joy, in the spirit of a podcast I heard from Rachel Hollis. So maybe when that’s done I’ll have a new word. Thanks for your inspiration, as always!

    • Kristyn Hall says:

      Thanks Cheryl for your thoughtful comment. What a brilliant exercise – going thru real-life data and evaluating whether your use of time supports or detracts from your meaningful goals. What I do know about you is your true commitment to excellence in everything you do. I’d love to hear how you make out with this exercise! Another thought is to really anchor into identifying your core values and seeing how your life is aligned with those values and then prioritize. I have a suspicion that 2020 is going to be a big year for you!

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