My One Word

At the start of the year, I read many blog posts from writers who had chosen a word for the year as part of the “My One Word Challenge.”ย The premise is simple. Instead of setting resolutions (which you probably will just ignore), pick a word to give you focus for the year ahead. Every post I’ve read about the challenge has been written by a Christian, but I don’t think you have to be Christian or even believe in God to participate in this challenge. I think selecting a word and having it serve as a basis for your actions could be beneficial for anyone who seeks to make positive change in his or her life.

I have never thought about identifying with just one word. Thankfully, the website has some ideas about how to select a word. The website also has entries from challenge participants so you can read why they chose their words.

I made a list of four things I hope to accomplish in 2015. Then I thought about the traits I need to develop or improve to help me reach those goals. I reflected on last year, and knew right away my word for 2014 (had I selected one) would have been “fearless.” Still no word for this year.

Friends posted their words in our writing group. I read their words, hoping for inspiration, but nothing jumped out at me. Last week someone described me as “tenacious” and I thought I might be able to make it my word. Then I felt I was cheating by selecting a word which already described me. After all, the whole point is to try to focus on movement this year so why pick a word representing a trait I exhibit?

Saturday morning, while cooking with one of my Personal Assistants, it hit me. I knew what I did NOT want to be in 2015. I did not want to be judgmental. Or rather, I want to try to be less judgmental than I often am. Knowing this, I went to the dictionary and thesaurus to do some searching. After nearly an hour reading definitions, I came to a decision. My word for 2015 will be:


Merriam-Webster defines charitable as “merciful or kind in judging others.” Or, as I once heard in a phenomenal training conducted by an ex-hippie named Manny, “always assume good intent.”

How does this impact my daily life? I think it is:

  • Resisting the urge to roll my eyes whenever someone calls me inspirational, brave, strong, etc., and accepting what was most likely meant as a compliment with gratitude and humility instead of ire and annoyance.
  • Teaching my Personal Assistants how to complete household or cooking tasks without questioning why an adult does not know how perform what I consider basic tasks.
  • Recognizing my life experiences are not the same as others, and remembering the blessings I have had are not universal to those I encounter.
  • Encouraging understanding and knowledge when I encounter fear and prejudice.

This is not an inclusive list, by any means. And my focus on being charitable does not mean I will stop being discriminate, or particular. There are aspects of my life which require me to be fastidious and picky.

However, I will do my best to keep Manny’s advice forefront in my thoughts and actions. I will try to ask questions to gain more thorough knowledge before rushing to an opinion. I will open myself to views other than my own in the hope of developing a deeper understanding. I will show kindness and empathy rather than harshness and criticism.

Because I am human, I will fail at times. When I do, I will pause and remind myself how I feel when others are quick to judge me. I will learn from my mistakes and endeavor to do better. I hope you will feel free to ask about my progress, and hold me accountable if you catch me falling short.

What about you? Did you select a word for 2015? Share your word in the comments below!

18 thoughts on “My One Word

  1. Being charitable is something I also have to remind myself to be at times. I admire your commitment to growth and compassion.

    I have not chosen a specific word this year, though if I did it would be ‘writing’ because I am determined to focus this year on improving my writing and finishing my book. It is a little selfish, perhaps, but I have spent so many years focusing all my time on my children and other people, that I wanted a change of direction. Good luck with the challenge.


    • Kim – have you considered “persevere?” Although, that may encompass more than just the writing.

      I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to pursue your goals and dreams. It’s not as if you are ignoring your other commitments, just making the focus shift. Good luck – I’ll check in on your progress if you need an accountability partner ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like that you chose charitable as it encompasses different facets of kindness. It does require one to pause and think before rushing to speak. I did not opt to choose a word, but if I had it would have to be something that constantly evolves because I want to be a continual work in progress. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and it’s a good thing I’m not one of those personal assistants. Domestic tasks have never been an area of concentration for me, and I would most likely cause you to be uncharitable in a hurry!


    • I really did spend an hour immersed in definitions yesterday trying to hone in on one word, and made a deliberate decision. I am really trying to pause and think, and I know this will be a continual struggle for me but worthwhile in the end (I hope!).

      As for my PAs – well, I constantly remind myself not everyone has had the same life experiences I have had. At this point, I am a pro at teaching someone how to cut a pineapple as I’ve done it many times ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. I have a personal question for you about having a P.A. or P.A.’s.
    I know and have heard of many people living with a challenge have assistance from P.A.’s. I was wondering if this is something that an organization provides for you or do you have to pay for it yourself through a private company?



    • Stacey – there are many ways to access personal assistance at home. Many people are familiar with traditional nursing agencies, where a nurse manages the care of someone at home. I don’t use a nursing agency. I use a program called Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA). This means I assume responsibility for recruiting, training, managing, supervising and if necessary terminating my employees or PAs. My PAs are paid through Medicaid by an agency known as a fiscal intermediary. Full disclosure – I am employed by the agency I use as my fiscal intermediary but I am not paid to promote them on my personal blog.

      Each state in the United States administers Medicaid differently, and the qualifications for home care vary. I live in New York, which has a generous program and permits me to have control over my independence.

      You can learn more about CDPA in New York by visiting the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State website: I’ve written about my experiences with CDPA in other posts as well:

      I also wrote a guest post for the AbleBodies blog about “managing” as a person with a disability:

      I’m happy to provide more information if you have questions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for all this wonderful information. I am going to look into the blog posts and web address you suggested.
        I am not on Medicaid unfortunately and am not able to access their assistance.



        • Where do you live? I may have contacts who can help. New York has a generous Medicaid Buy-In Program for Working People with Disabilities. As a single person, I can earn up to almost $60,000/year and still qualify for Medicaid to pay for my PAs.


  4. This sounds like an excellent word for your year! I am going to do some thinking on a word for my year as well! Am very glad you shared this challenge with us!


  5. So, you’re going to have to resist rolling your eyes at one of my comments. Ha! Tell me how you do.
    This is s good word. My word, although I haven’t entirely owned it yet, is grace. It has some similarities to yours. At least when I think about the areas I most need to apply it to.
    It means I’ll have to show kindness to the salesman at Home Depot who talks to me as if I’m deaf because I’m on crutches. He hands my hubby the brochures saying ” I can see your disabled so I’ll give these to him. ” And I guess I’ll have to pray for instead of growl at the woman who tells me how lucky I am to be “pushed around” all day while in Sam’s Club.
    You’ve made me think with this post. My word is taking a turn. Thanks!


    • I saw the comment, and I didn’t roll my eyes. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I tried grace in my mind, but decided against it because I really need to work on my rush to judgement. Glad I could make you think and hope you are making progress!


  6. […] about my participation, I realized I write about compassion frequently in my personal journals. My one word for 2015, charitable,ย lends itself to this activity. Acting in a charitable manner includes demonstrating compassion for […]


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