The One Word Resolution

January 2, 2016
Mary Jane Copps


Doors will be opened for those who dare to knock. 

I haven’t kept any statistics, but I’d say I have about a 98% fail rate at keeping New Year’s Resolutions.  I can only think of two that I’ve kept diligently for several years – read more books (which I’ve done since 2012 when I was horrified to discover I’d let the year go by and only completed 10 books) and write more letters (you know, the ones involving a pen, paper, envelope and a stamp). All the other resolutions evaporated quickly, likely before February.

Yet I know there’s power in “resolution”, in the simple act of saying to myself “This is going to happen”. In fact, when I look back on 2015, I’m both surprised and fascinated by how many of my wishes became realities.

So I was intrigued when my colleague and friend Jeanie Burke, President of Home Instead Senior Care Halifax, shared with me the concept of one word – choosing one word to express my resolutions/hopes/wishes/goals for 2016. (While there are many sites dedicated to this concept, I believe the idea became a movement due to the writings and work  of Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and Jimmy Page. You can learn more about them at their website Get One Word.)

As you know, I’m all about the power of words. Experience has taught me that one word can change the tone and outcome of any conversation, create and strengthen a relationship, build a business … and more. So perhaps one word can guide my new year.

I’m going to give it a try.

The word I’ve chosen? Dare. It’s a word that spans multiple cultures including Sanskrit (dadharsha –  to be bold), Gothic (gadaursan – to brave danger) and Greek (thrasys – bold). By the 1570s it had come to mean “to challenge”, and what I know to be true about myself – I love a good challenge.

In 2016 I want to push against some of my self-created boundaries, challenge some of my fears and knock on more doors simply to see what’s on the other side. I’m confident this is the word that will keep me – and The Phone Lady – growing and thriving throughout the year. I’ll let you know.

And … what about you? Does the concept of one word appeal to you? What’s your word?


  1. Steve Foran says:

    Impact. Love it. Started it last year… probably because of you. Thanks Mary Jane.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Impact … what a great word! And it is certainly working, Steve. You did so much last year that created more impact. Looking forward to what 2016 brings for you!

  2. Sheila Blair-Reid says:

    Expand – I am committed to expanding. I will expand my business and use my skills and knowledge to help others succeed. I am going to expand my efforts in helping my community to thrive. I have already expanded the hours I have to work and play with each day by moving back to the city. I am now going to expand what my daughter enjoys in her new surroundings! Thank you Mary Jane for giving me focus!

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Wonderful word, Sheila – expand. And it is great how you’ve put it into specific sentences. That will make it more attainable I think. I’m going to give that a try this week. Thank you!

  3. Natasha says:

    REVITALIZE. Aspects of my Self and aspects of my business… And so it is!

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Revitalize is a word that creates a lot of visuals for me, Natasha. Yoga stretches, drinking cool water, long walks as well as some of those organizational tasks in life – throwing out, paring down. A powerful word. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Linda Daley says:

    FOCUS – for the 3rd year in a row!

    • The Phone Lady says:

      The word “focus” was originally used as a synonym for “fire” – and then came to mean “the point of convergence” – perhaps indicating that focus is best achieved with those tasks that capture our passion? It is a word we can all benefit from, Linda, in this word of endless distractions.

  5. Peggy says:

    Don’t know if I can top DARE except with DOUBLE DARE YA? 🙂 Good topic for me to think about this week.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Now that’s fun, Peggy. I haven’t been double dared for years (and years!). Do let me know what word surfaces for you in the coming week.

  6. Cathy Cornelius says:

    Persistance! It keeps me going every year and I am not changing it!

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Persistence is one of my favorite words, Cathy. It applies in so many areas of our lives. A fabulous word to keep from year to year.

  7. Brookes Diamond says:

    It’s such a great word for the times MJ, that Halifax is using it for its new logo, or motto – we all need more of it! Check

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thanks for this, Brookes. I have certainly been aware of the new logo but I hadn’t taken in the tag line. And I don’t think I’ve seen it anywhere. I’ll now pay more attention.

  8. Jeff Winship says:


  9. Pam MacKinnon says:

    REACH – This year I am going to reach out with networking functions and community events. I will grow with and encourage my wonderful entrepreneur friends. Injuries from a car accident last spring prevented me from growing my business, which was so disappointing. With great support I’m reaching for the top again with more vigour than before!

    • The Phone Lady says:

      This word has a lot of meanings throughout many different cultures, Pam. The sanskrit word is rjyati which means “she stretches herself” and the Old Irish word rigim means “I stretch”. Shakespeare used the Old English form raught meaning “arrive at”. So … a wonderful word to embrace as you come back to growing your business. So sorry to hear of your car accident but delighted that you had the support you needed and that you are ready to REACH.

  10. Jacqueline Steudler says:

    CREATIVITY – is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.

    As an art therapist I often forget that I need my art practice too. (smile) So this year I will find the balance to inspire creativity in my clients to heal and spend equal time in my studio as well.

    For the last five years I have chosen just one word for the year and it helps me to stay focused. Thank you for the opportunity to share it here and for sharing your word.

    All the best to you and yours for a New Year filled with good health, success, and colourful moments.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Creativity is a wonderful word, Jacqueline – and also wonderful that you have recognized the need to leave room for your own creativity. This is something we should all be doing! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Jeanie Burke says:

    Wow. There’s some great words here. My word for 2015 was “Enjoy”. It helped me to be more in the moment and think about how to turn around little annoyances like sitting in traffic to little pleasures like more time to listen to CBC.

    My word for 2016 is Intentional. Too often words come out of my mouth before I think. The work doesn’t get done that I planned and my weekends are gone and I haven’t taken the time to do what I wanted to do. A poster or post-it of the word “Intentional” is posted on my fridge, my bathroom mirror and my computer as a reminder of my “intentions”.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Great share, Jeanie. Thanks so much. I really love the word “intentional” and I’ll be staying in touch to discover how it impacts your 2016.

  12. […] word I chose for 2016 was … DARE. I wanted to push against some of my self-created boundaries, challenge some of my fears and knock […]

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