How to Find Your One Word Resolution: Tips and Tricks

Maybe you have heard about it on Twitter from the #oneword2012 or #oneword365 hasthtags. Or maybe you are just tired of resolutions that you have forgotten or given up on by February. Whether you’re considering a One Word Resolution for 2013 — whether for your first time, or as a veteran– I have some tips to share that I’ve picked up along the way. I first learned about the idea of a One Word Resolution at the end of 2010.

For more information about the history and purpose of the it all, check out One Word 365 or My One Word. This list of over 100 user-submitted 2012 Words collected by Niki Rudolph is another great place to look if you’re searching for your 2013 One Word. As you brainstorm and search for your word, consider this: Who and How do I want to BE? A one word resolution is more than what you want to do.

Disclaimer: I love to overthink and overanalyze pretty much everything. I’m going to share more resources and tips than any one person needs– so feel free to click on through to the ones that interest you and skip the ones that don’t. No need to make this a full on research project.

Google Image Search

Try searching for some of the words you are considering and see what images pop up. Do they convey the feeling you’re looking for? This is a great way to find inspirational photos and products that contain your word too.


Maybe you tried the Google Image Search and nothing struck your fancy. Stick that word into a thesaurus and see where it takes you. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can pull a real thesaurus off your shelf and thumb through the dusty, musty pages. I like this visual thesaurus – it lets you search your word and then click through deeper and deeper into a web of synonyms.

Pinterest Boards

If Google Images doesn’t meet your aesthetic needs, move on to Pinterest. I use it as both a place to search for images and to curate. After deciding on my word each year, I created a board to start saving images, quotes, and other gems related to my One Word. You can see my 2011 move board and 2012 celebrate board as examples. It’s also been my favorite place to find graphic designs of my word – perfect for printing out and framing next to my desk as a daily reminder of my resolution.

Favorite Quotes

What quotes are you already drawn to? The quotes we choose as our inspirations tell us something about who we want to be and how we want to love. The same is true for the celebrities we love, the storylines we favor, and the places our mind goes when it wanders. Follow it. Dissect those quotes, movies, books and figure out what word or feeling it is that you get from them. If you have a word in mind or are looking for a word, Think Exist is a fun quote site to explore. Those stack of quote books and inspirational sayings you received as graduation gifts are good places to start too.

Oxford English Dictionary

This is where I get really nerdy and share my favorite corner of the internet with you. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED for those in the know) is more than just a dictionary. Sure, it tell you what a word means and even some of its synonyms. The awesome part is that it also tells you the origin of the word, when it was first used in English (including the book, speech, author, speaker), and how it has evolved since its first use. It’s a great way to see what a word really means, and how that meaning has changed over time. Feel free to chose a word that used to mean something totally different, it’s your word. Like I said, not everyone wants to turn this into a linguistics or etymology research project — and I’m cool with that.

Once you think you’ve figured out what direction you want to head in 2013, check out these 7 Tips for Sticking to Your Resolution from the Happiness Project. The trickest one in the list be Be Specific. A one-word resolution is intentionally broad in it’s initial inception. To make it work though, I’ve found creating more specific sub-goals can be helpful. For example, my 2011 word was Move. Some days that will mean exercising, other days it’s my motivation to push through the final stages of a project. Find ways to measure your one-word progress throughout the year and to keep it fresh.

Did you have a One Word Resolution? Help me Celebrate your year!

One Word 2012 Resolution

Will you be choosing a One Word Resolution for 2013? 

UPDATE: Share your 2013 Word Here (Thanks to Niki Rudolph for collecting them again!)

22 thoughts on “How to Find Your One Word Resolution: Tips and Tricks

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  9. I’ve been “feeling” a word in the last few months and was not quite sure what to do with it. The “One Word” resolution is perfect! Thank you for the tips and example!

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  12. Thank you so much for this post. I chose my one word yesterday just by going with my gut feeling. Now I am super excited to see where this research and this one word takes me in 2013.

  13. Great post, Becca – I love this idea. I’m thinking my one word for 2013 will be: Reduce. To reduce my weight and waist-line. To reduce my carbon footprint. To reduce my spending. To reduce my complaining. To reduce my excuses. To reduce my negativity. By reducing a lot, I hope to gain even more. :)

    • Love this Sam! It sounds like you have your path very well set already– and I love that last point. You know how the old verse goes about those with the least :)

  14. Thanks for this, Becca! I’m pondering my word for 2013 right now and am having trouble with it. I’m going to follow some of these steps to see where they take me.

  15. Incredible post Becca. Awesome ideas! My one word 2012 (receive) came to me as a trusted friend complimented me last year and gave me feedback that I was not fully taking it in.

    My one word 2013 came to me as I listened to a podcast a few weeks back- to be revealed soon!

    Thanks for keeping the conversation going!


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