For the last several years now, I’ve chosen a “word of the year” as part of my annual goal-planning process.
While I haven’t always posted my word on my website, I thought it would be helpful to do so again this year…for posterity, if nothing else. What’s more, quite a few people have expressed interest in this process and find inspiration in other people’s words. So here you go.
In previous years, my words have been:
Ready for this year’s word? Drumroll please…
2021 Word of the Year: Rooted
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Why Choose a Word of the Year?
While I resisted this practice for a long time, I finally came around when I discovered that it is helpful to have something to focus on when I’m making plans and setting goals.
I keep my word somewhere visible, like on my phone’s lock screen, stuck to the refrigerator or in the front of my journal. Whenever I sit down to work on my goals, it reminds me about what’s important (and also what’s not).
You can learn more about my planning and goal-setting processes and tools here:
How I Chose “Rooted”
I spent some time at the end of 2020 reflecting, journaling and praying. (And what a year it was to reflect on!). Using the prompts in my PowerSheets Goal Planner, I assessed what worked well for me last year, what didn’t, and what’s important to me going forward.
2020 will be remembered by many as a year of chaos and uncertainty, and it was all the more so for our family. Not only did we have the stress of the pandemic and the social and political instability that many faced, but we also brought home a long-awaited adopted child from overseas and then found out I was unexpectedly pregnant a few months later.
The word “rooted” reminds me of stability and perseverance. I think of old trees that withstand chaos like storms and drought. They might lose branches and take a beating from time to time, but if they’re deeply rooted, they still stand.
It’s not surprising to me that Bible contains abundant metaphors of plants and roots, in both the Old and New Testaments. A quick word study revealed a pattern: being rooted in good things leads to good fruit.
I chose a theme scripture to memorize: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6–7).
My hope is that everything I do this year is rooted in love, beauty and truth (all of which are embodied in Christ himself). I will strive to maintain that focus as I work toward my personal goals.
My Big Goals for 2021
In general, I don’t like to get too specific about goals more than about 90 days out. Many productivity experts suggest that quarterly goals are more effective than annual ones anyway, since we humans apparently have short attention spans.
This year, I whittled down my ambitions to what might be more appropriately called focus areas or themes. (I talk about this in more detail in the Take a Deep Breath video series, if you’re interested.) I wrote out a general statement about how I want to focus on each area.
- Build an Emergency Fund
- Beautify Our Home
- Grow Deeper with God
- Empower My Kids’ Growth
- Help My Online Platform to Flourish
If you look closely, you can see these words can be easily linked to the idea of being rooted in love, beauty and truth.
Now, if you’re a fan of systems like S.M.A.R.T goals, don’t cringe because I’m not done. Using these larger ideas and the word “rooted” as guidance, I set “micro” goals and chose habits to work on in 90 days or less.
Micro Goals and Habit Ideas for 2021
With my focus areas in mind, I brainstormed more specific goal ideas and action steps. I’ll share some of them in categories below. I’ve simplified my lists so that I don’t bore anyone (and plus there’s some personal information I’d rather keep private). Hopefully you’ll get the idea.
Build an Emergency Fund
- Track budget daily
- Talk with Marc about budget in weekly/monthly meetings
- Monthly income goals
- Monthly savings goals, increasing as year progresses
Beautify Our Home
- Organize different areas of the home (listed out)
- Minor updates in various rooms (listed out)
- Prepare for new baby action items (listed out)
Grow Deeper with God
- Study the book of Ezekiel, possibly other prophets
- Read one theology book/quarter
- Daily prayer/meditation
- Record Spirit-led acts of generosity each month
Empower My Kids’ Growth
- Weekly family game nights
- Help kids study for “Memory Masters” in our homeschool program
- Explore my daughter’s options for preschool and/or therapy
- Quarterly nature adventure
- Assist kids in county fair 4-H projects
Help My Online Platform Flourish
- Run new Facebook ads to cold audience
- Run new Facebook ads to warm audience
- Reach 10,000 email subscribers
- Prepare 6 weeks of maternity leave content
- Minor website updates
- 2 new blog posts/month
- Major website redesign
Once I finished brainstorming, I chose the items that I will focus on in the first quarter, and then I loosely scheduled out what I want to focus on each month.
I’ll track my goals and habits as I go, do a minor reassessment each month, and then do a major reassessment after the first quarter. At that point, I’ll add, adjust or remove goals based on my priorities at that time.
Summing It Up
If you’ve never done something like this before, I know it can look a little overwhelming. Just remember that I’ve practiced this process a lot, and what I came up with this year is what works for me. It has also evolved over time.
I shared quite a few resources in this post if you’d like to do something similar. Beyond that, if you’re not already subscribed, be sure to sign up for resources to help you live more intentionally this year and beyond:
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