No Resolutions or Goals: One Word for 2016

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
This week online, I've been reading about my colleagues' and friends' goals and resolutions for 2016. Since I'm a writer (shocker!), many of my friends are also writers, and a large percentage of these posted goals deal with writing. One of the best posts I saw was from YA, MG, and adult novelist Jennifer Brown (The Hate List), who had a list of about six things-personal and professional-listed on her Facebook page. When I read her list, I was envious and shuddering at the same time.

"Why?" you ask.

2015 was a tough year for me. I'm going through a divorce, and it has completely changed my writing career. I'm not sure if I have a mental block, am exhausted, or have less time for writing--but I haven't written anything creative for months. My marketing skills for my books are less than stellar (okay in the gutter). Thank goodness for WOW! because I am still blogging and teaching writing.

Today, I debated about revealing my divorce on this public blog, but then I thought--I am sure other people out there are facing similar situations (big life changes) and wondering how they will ever make goals and resolutions--either personally or professionally--for 2016. Maybe you are like me and also question: will I ever write/paint/draw/sculpt again? So maybe we can help each other.

Instead of a list of things I must do in 2016, I am going to adopt my writing friend Sarah Whitney's idea from a book she read: One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Jimmy Page, and Dan Britton. (I knew I was on the right path when my teaching friend Sherri mentioned this book in a Facebook comment just last night!) Basically the way I understand the message of this book is that we should adopt ONE WORD as a theme for our lives for one year. Instead of creating resolutions we break by January 15, we live our lives focused on ONE WORD.

I can really get behind this. I'm afraid a list of goals might break my spirit and make me feel like a failure. Sometimes when I come home from my first full-time job in nine years, I can't imagine doing anything else but playing with my daughter and getting a load of laundry in. So it would seem self-defeating for me to have a goal such as: write five pages a week or finish a novel by June.

So what is my word? Organization. 

My divorce has turned me from one of the most productive, organized people I know to one of the worst. My house is completely unorganized. My writing career is unorganized. My email inbox is a mess. My personal health has also suffered--not as many workouts, not as much sleep, not as much meal planning. So I feel like if I focus on ORGANIZATION, many of these areas will get back on track. Then so will I.

You can find information and resources about creating your own one word on this website:

You can order the book: One Word That Will Change Your Life here.

I'll close with a list of words that others have used throughout the years that might help you particularly if you are a writer:
  • Commitment
  • Grow
  • Drive
  • Excellence
  • Determination
  • Confidence
  • Complete
Best of luck to you in 2016!

Margo L. Dill is a children's author and teaches writing classes for WOW! Women On Writing. Find out more at .


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I remember hearing about "one word" last year (maybe?) and this post is a great reminder. Definitely something I'm going to consider for 2016. Thanks!

Good luck to you, Margo! Take care!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--I am confident you will emerge from this phase stronger and fiercer. There's an ebb and flow to writing. Sometimes the tide is high and other times it's low. Be a bit forgiving and flexible with yourself.

I think you should keep a journal (if you aren't already). You might just have the makings for a book on writing and healing and organization and inner strength. (And if you find the key to organization, let me know.)

Since I am such a procrastinator--about everything--perhaps my word should be NOW...

Pilgrim said...

Margo, I think of you often as I kind of figured something major was going on in your life. I picked a word this year and it is Simplicity. I really want to simplify my life and make more room for doing things that bring me joy. My word last year was Believe as in believe in your abilities. It was the perfect word for the time.

Slowly you will heal and find your voice. Will it be the same voice you had before? Probably not, you will probably have the courage to venture into new avenues and find new strengths.

I wish for you, peace, great writing and much joy.

Unknown said...

Margo - I hope sharing your experience has been/will be helpful to you. I always wish more people would do so...

I'm going to rebel against the "one" word with one phrase that has been an immense help for many decades: "This is interesting." It's a great way to make your brain step back, even slightly, from the downward spiral of a lot of negative self-talk, whatever the situation might be. "This is interesting" allows you to take a more "observer"-type position on your own situation and - with effort and practice - rework pessimistic language to more optimistic, and then benefit from that change in language.

Your writing and words have been a great support to me over the years, and I wish you well in this coming year!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I don't have a word, either, Margo, but I do have a mantra: Comparison is the thief of joy.

It's good any 'ol time, not just the beginning of a year, and it's helped me find the joy in a very long and winding writing path (and through difficult upheavals, too).

You'll find joy again, Margo, even if it's just the joy of finally cleaning a bathroom! :-) In the meantime, my 2016 wish for you is that you give yourself the same care you'd give to a best friend going through a difficult time. You are loved, friend!

Donna Volkenannt said...

Oh, Margo. What an inspiration you are. You are so courageous to write so candidly. I love the idea of focusing in one word for the year. I wish you health, happiness, joy, and organization in 2016.

Peggy said...

Wonderful post, Margo. And you're on an upward swing! And I do like your 'one word' goal in place of a list of goals. Mine are mostly repeats every year, which gets me started.... But I'm giving the 'one word' angle a try. I'm with you on Organization!

Robyn Chausse said...

Hi Margo,
Regarding resolutions, I like this approach you've offered. One of the wisest suggestions I've received in regards to goals was from creativity coach Marney Makridakis; she told me that instead of trying to narrow in on a goal, to step back and look more broadly--this offers more freedom and choices. It points a direction without being constrictive.
I empathize with your feeling out of sorts and unproductive right now. I also have had a series of windfalls and, while my friends have gone on to publish books, I've struggled with maintaining my own productivity and creative juices. When the world changes so drastically, the heart and soul need time to adjust. My phrase has been "compassion for self."

Karen Cioffi said...

Margo, things will get better, just be patient and ride it out. I've been there years ago with two very young children.

I don't have a single word, but I do have a few sentences I read every morning of what I want my life and my family's life to be.

Projection is important and can be powerful. You might create a vision board of what you want your life to be. Keep it visible so you can see it every morning and night.

Hang in there!

Renee Roberson said...

Margo, I hate to hear you're going through this but know you are an awesome mom and writer/editor! I have no doubt you will come out much stronger and braver because of it.I wish you much organization and rest and relaxation in 2016!

Margo Dill said...

Sorry to be so late telling you all how much I appreciate all of this support and these kind words. I really think this one word thing will work for me. :) I will not be organized every day of course, but I have a whole year. It just helps me stay focused on my day. And my friends are adopting one word (s) of their own. I hope each of you has a great 2016 yourselves! Here's to health, happiness, and success!

Margo Dill said...

I think the journal idea is really good, Sioux. I have made vision boards before, Karen. I have an idea to even just write about what it was like to try to get a full time job after 9 years. I just need to get ORGANIZED to make myself do all this. LOL

Linda O'Connell said...

You will be amazed at how much you have accomplished when you look back on these days. My words are challenge yourself. I have become complacent seeking the sure thing. I am stepping out in faith and confidence in 2016.

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