What is Your Word of the Year?

Cindy Shapiro
4 min readDec 27, 2021

Forget making resolutions; instead, find a single word to guide your focus

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Rather than making resolutions this year, I’m choosing just one word to guide my path. There’s more flexibility that way, and it makes the promise a whole lot simpler. If chosen well, it could act as a sort of mantra. A hum in the background that spurs my focus and grounds me in purpose. But while picking a word of the year sounds simple enough, it can be a challenge to get it right. After all, it’s much easier to see your word of the year in hindsight, when the year is nearly over, as it is now.

There are several words that could encapsulate key moments and periods of 2021. Here are a few:

  • Persistence
  • Risk
  • Magic
  • Community
  • Awe
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Humility
  • Gratitude
  • And more. I could tell you a story about any one of these words. It was a year to remember, and while some of the experiences that conjure each word were hard, what emerged in the end was decidedly positive.

This year, rather than looking back, I’d prefer to face forward.

I am a planner by nature. I like to have an idea as to where I’m headed, but I’m also drawn to the underbelly of the unknown — what’s in that cave? What’s behind that door? What if?

It’s a dangerous combination, sometimes.

After all, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” — John Lennon

As it should be.

Perhaps my error lies in my affection for adjectives. Instead, maybe my word should be a verb, an action, rather than something that merely describes. Persist. Try. Act.

For example, I often think about writing another book. If I were to write it, it might be the one that lands in the hands of others rather than printed out from the local print store only to land on my shelf, unread by all except the closest of relatives. Could this be the year of the book? It could be, if I actually sat myself down to commit to it.

Cindy Shapiro

Cindy Shapiro is long-time teacher living in Colorado. As a writer, she aims to elevate teachers’ voices and provide insight on issues in education.