New Year’s Resolution: What’s YOUR Word?

With the New Year right around the corner I, like you, start planning out what I want to accomplish in 2018.  However, I do not start with a laundry list of resolutions. No, instead, I start with a word.  Yes, just one word to get me through the entire year.  Some of you may recall the blog article I wrote last year called, “New Year’s Resolutions: One Word NOT a List.”  Last year, I chose the word PURPOSE.  I chose it based on two things: my “why” in life and the desires of my heart. My “why” has always been to make a difference by helping people no matter the role: wife, mom, leader, employee, teacher, etc. My desires for 2017 included both personal and professional aspirations. Purpose reminded me to do things with intention.  In 2017 I made some big decisions and I did them for a purpose.  The most significant change was leaving my job with the federal government to run my own business, Vision to Purpose, full-time.  I figured I was not getting any younger and if I wanted to make a difference in this world, really help people, than I had better get started so I turned in my resignation and started on a new road to fulfill my purpose, my calling.

I am not saying the one-word approach will work for everyone.  There are individuals with long lists of resolutions that manage to accomplish every item on their list.  However, there are many who will start out with good intentions, fully determined to reach their goals and objectives but for some reason just don’t.  Excuses start by the end of January.  Sadly, once those individuals have given themselves an out it is difficult to get back on track to push themselves to completion.

As I sat down to determine what my word for the new year would be, an article caught my attention.  The article shared the story of a man named David Goggin, a Navy Seal and endurance athlete who chose to challenge himself by conquering some of the hardest sporting events known to man.  To learn more about David, check out his Web site:

I mention David because learning about him led me to my word for 2018. Initially, I thought I would change things up and go with the word MOTIVATION.  I like the word motivation.  In fact, I am writing this article in hopes that it will help motivate others to get one step closer to realizing their dreams.  However, motivation just did not seem strong enough for me.  Why? Based on general observations, personal experience, and testimonies from others, motivation is unreliable and somewhat of a fleeting emotion. I’m not suggesting motivation doesn’t have its place, in fact I think we can all agree that motivation is what helps us get through a difficult day at work or other trials. However, I think I am going to stick with the word PURPOSE to get me through 2018.  To me, having purpose is the engine that propels us to achieve greater things.  Apparently, David agrees as he was quoted as saying, “Motivation is crap. Motivation comes and goes.” Okay, I don’t know about the crap part as I still find value in the word. But, I do agree motivation can wane, so I will stand with David, after all he has competed in ultramarathons, went through Hell Week three times to become a Navy SEAL, completed the U.S. Army Ranger training and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training, and has overcome many challenges of life.  Truth be told, I don’t know David, but his purpose is clearly defined. In fact, it is two-fold: (1) to raise funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and (2) to test his own drive to overcome challenges.

It’s my belief that we are all destined to great things, but whatever your calling, chances are it will require doing things that push you beyond your comfort zone and that will take a strong PURPOSE to keep you going. To make my point consider the following situations.

Situation 1: Parents

As a life coach, individuals often ask me what they can do to help their children get ahead.  As a parent, I wonder the same.  For those of us who have children we are always striving to be better parents.  We buy them the latest technology, move to the best neighborhoods to be in a better school system or pay for them to attend private schools.  We sign them up for enriching summer camp programs and we seek out opportunities to give them the competitive advantage at every turn. What’s interesting about this “goal to be better parents” is that we fail to understand what our children need.  They need us. Good old fashion quality time with us.   Children genuinely want to be a part of our lives. Deep down they don’t care about the gadgets, the programs, the schools or the excitement.  Initially, yes, they ARE kids.  But when the excitement is gone what do they seek? Us! Unfortunately, too often we are not there.  We are working those jobs that take us away leaving little leftover time to spend with them.  I don’t know about you, but I am certainly guilty.  Before I quit my job in October I was working 60-70 hour weeks splitting my time between working and teaching.  There was not much time left to just hang out with my son.  PURPOSE led me to quit my job, so I could make a difference in the world by helping people. Well, the first person I needed to help was my son.  He needed quality time with me and I needed that time with him too.  Since quitting my job, my relationship with my son has changed drastically. Before he would do his own thing. The family was together but living apart. We were all doing our own things. There was no unity.  Now, my son seeks me out to do things.  He actually wants to spend time with me even over video games. Yes, you read that right!

Disclaimer:  I am not telling anyone to quit their job or if you work long hours you are a bad parent.  No, no, no.  Not at all, I am stating what I needed to do for my family.  I still work, I just work at home.  I made a change that took me out of my comfort zone and the only way I could do that was to do it on purpose.  The mere word, PURPOSE, kept me focused and it continues to remind me why I did what I did.

Situation 2: Career / Job

As a career coach, I work with individuals who want to pursue a change.  They may desire a new job or want to change careers all together.  I am blessed to have clients who are determined and strive to make the change necessary to realize their objectives.  However, there are times when I work with individuals who surprise me.  Yes, I still get surprised by individuals who are reluctant to take the necessary steps to make the change they desire.  It all comes down to a lack of desire to move beyond their comfort zone.  Individuals remain stuck because they say they like their salary, benefits or title.  My assessment:  they are afraid.  They fear change that makes them feel uncomfortable.  Fear is the real reason that keeps them from pursuing their dreams.  I believe fear stems from not having a purpose or realizing that purpose.  Believe it or not, sometimes it isn’t about the money. After all, if your spending 50+ hours a week at a job that makes you miserable it’s hard to leave that negativity at work every evening. This point becomes even more relevant when your trying to accomplish the goal of working at being a better parent. Conceivably you might have safeguards in place to help with the work life balance issue, however, the reality is you will inevitably bring some of your work life home. Again, I am not suggesting you flippantly quit your job and follow your dreams, but I am suggesting that with a purposeful plan in place you are better situated to move forward and to fulfill your goals because you are chasing after a cause that is greater than yourself. In doing so, you will be more apt to stay focused, to push yourself even when you are afraid.

Regardless of what YOU intend to accomplish in the New Year, I encourage you to do the following:

  • Identify YOUR word. The word that is going to help you accomplish your goals in the new year
  • Define your word and identify the purpose associated with that word. Why is it so important to YOU?
  • Visualize how you will achieve your goal, break it down step-by-step
  • Don’t let emotions dictate your outcome! Harness your feelings of worry or concern and realize this is normal anytime you start to push the limits of your comfort zone
  • Re-visit your word and its purpose often to stay focused

It is my sincere hope that each of you will find the word that works for you so you can fulfill your self-proclaimed PURPOSE for 2018.

As always, I am cheering for you!


Dr. Jeannine Bennett is the founder and CEO for Vision to Purpose, an organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed through the offering of tailored career, life and business solutions.

Need a resume writer? How about a career coach? Perhaps a business consultant? Look no further, Dr. Bennett and the Vision to Purpose team can help!  You can learn more about Dr. Bennett and Vision to Purpose by visiting

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