Focus: Word of the Year 2013


Every time I choose a new Word of the Year, I am filled with both fear and excitement.

I find it scary because after doing this for over 5 years now (this is my sixth year), I know just how much power that One Word can have in my life. If I embrace it and let it, that is. But, that’s also the reason the whole WOTY thing can be quite exciting. I have been amazed by how my previous WOTYs have helped to shape my life for that year.

That’s why I highly recommend this One Word practice.

And this year, just like the last couple of years, I was faced with choosing between a couple of words for my WOTY. Late last year, I had two words that kept competing for my attention: GROW & FOCUS.

With all the transitions that happened last year, the concept of ‘growth’ was a constant thought that I explored extensively. However,  just like the time the word ‘change’ competed for my attention when I was choosing a WOTY, I kept thinking: “I want change/growth to happen as they come. I don’t want change/growth for the sake of changing or growing.” That’s why I decided that ‘grow’ probably isn’t the right word for me this year.

12/365 (2013) Hand Lettering: Focus

But, the word FOCUS makes me feel uncomfortable (one sign that I’m on to something).

You see, I can’t even say the word ‘focus’ properly. The word doesn’t roll off my tongue without a funny accent. That’s why my husband can’t help but laugh when he hears me say it. I’ve improved my way of saying it a bit, but it still feels strange every time I say the word out loud.

And yes, I don’t particularly think of myself as a ‘focussed’ person. In fact, with my slash/dash and renaissance approach to life and work, some might even say that I am the definition of the opposite of focus. That’s why a part of me rebelled against the idea of choosing ‘focus’ as my Word of the Year.

Paul Arden, author of the book It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, say that creative people need something to rebel against, so maybe that’s why I ended up choosing FOCUS as this year’s WOTY.

Yes, just like in my previous years, I have chosen my WOTY not because I want that word in my life. I choose my WOTY for what I wish to learn more about… what I hope to challenge me in the coming days, weeks, and months. And, as always, I hope to be able to share with you some of those things that I learn and experience through this year’s WOTY. Now you know why I’ve started calling one of my personal projects this year as #TheFocusProject.

Only one thing has to change for us to have happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.

“Only one thing has to change for us to have happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.”

– Greg Anderson

What about you? Do you have your One Word for the year? What is it and how do you come up with choosing your One Word?

Oh, and for the curious, here are my previous WOTYs:

2012: Possibility

2011: Shine

2010: Connect

2009: Bliss

2008: Today

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  1. says

    My WOTY is Organization.
    Everything I have in my life right now makes me happy — now I just need to find a way to accomplish them in an orderly manner.
    I chose it because it just kept popping up everywhere! I couldn’t get away from it! :)
    Nenette recently posted..a look back at 2012.My Profile

    • says

      That’s a wonderful WOTY, Dana! I love the fact that you’re not just thinking of embracing fearlessness – but also hoping to empower others to be fearless too. All the best with it! :)

  2. says

    Yay! I am positively proud to report that I found my word:
    Presence of mind, requesting my own presence in my own life, presents to myself and others, inner presence, the presence within.
    Each time I find myself drifting away from the here and now I remind myself, presence, and I’m drawn back to the moment.
    Thanks for your inspiration, Shai!
    Diana Bletter,
    Author of The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle,
    Diana Bletter recently posted..On Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday: That Guy Had Sparkalation.My Profile

  3. says

    I love this! I like this idea as opposed to like resolutions because its a broad idea of what I need to be trying to accomplish throughout the year and I can apply to every part of my life. My WOTY would be definitely be TODAY because 2012 was a long year and I want to try and focus on whats happening TODAY and not the past. Working for TODAY will help me accomplish goals and to remind myself to keep looking forward!


  1. […] of February with 1/12 of the year already gone. I started participating in WOTY after my friend Shai started the tradition in 2008. I’ve always thought the practice helps me to stay focused in […]

  2. […] Also enjoyed It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden, as well as 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, Get The Right Things Done by Peter Bregman. These books really resonated with an ongoing theme that I have this year. And, all, supporting my Word of The Year: Focus. […]