What's your word for 2016 FI (1)


Powerful things, words.

They can drive us, excite us, inspire, remind and guide us.

Last year my word was JOY. It was incredible how just focusing on that word changed both my outlook and my attention. I launched The Joy Chaser, cementing an idea that had been brewing for a while and felt inspired to maintain my intention of Joy in the everyday.

Unlike resolutions which, let’s be honest, we invariably break and then feel bad about, a single word can act as a note of positivity throughout the year. This year I wanted my word to both ground and stretch me and eventually I settled on not one, but two words.

For my work I’ve chosen reach

In 2016 I want to reach beyond what I know I’m capable of, beyond even what I think I might be capable of and create something amazing.

But I also want to reach OUT. To touch the lives of others and help them move away from negativity and be the most positive version of themselves.

For home I’ve chosen accept, taking wisdom from the Serenity prayer by American Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

My words for 2016

I’ve learnt over the past year that a big part of everyday happiness for me is accepting the things that I can’t change. In my life, my work, myself and others. Accepting that I don’t have the time to do everything that I want to each day. Accepting that having a toddler means that some days things are just going to be THAT way. Accepting that the people in my life are the way they are and they’re not going to change, however much I nag or get frustrated that the towels are all over the bathroom floor or the rubbish bin hasn’t been emptied and is overflowing on the kitchen floor.

Accept might sound like a softer, more complacent word but I’m huge on changing things so this is a tough one for me!

Do you have a word for 2016?

If not, and you’d like one, here’s a little exercise you can do…  and I’ve also made a free worksheet you can download.

The right time to choose a word for your year is entirely yours but I’d counsel you to spend a bit of time on it. While we’re not going to leap on the first word that comes to mind, the power of intuition can be huge so we’re going to harness it.

Ready to choose your word for 2016?

First of all let’s go back to that powerful intuition I mentioned. Here’s a list of positive words… read through it and make a note of any that immediately jump out at you in your journal or on a sheet of paper. Add any others that spring to mind too.

Choose your word for the year

Now read through your note and make a list of all the positive things the words you picked mean to you. Done? Add any new words you thought of to your list.


We’re going to let your subconscious give those words a little stir for a while.

Let’s think about your goals…

In the meantime I’d like you to take another piece of paper (or use the worksheet) to make a list of your dreams or goals for the year ahead. This isn’t planning, my friends, this is big, hairy goal creation. Goals that excite you but also scare you just a little bit. (They might even send a little shiver down your spine!)

When you have that second list pop it side by side with your list of words.

Which of the words you wrote down fits best with your goals? Which words seem to leap out at you? Which words feel like they’re driving you to make plans for your goals? Circle them. This is your shortlist.

Your shortlist

Ok so you now have maybe 5 or 6 (or less) words that feel like they could be contenders for YOUR word.

Pop that list somewhere where you can see it and get on with your day. You’re going to let those words brew and percolate through your mind.

You can leave them for an hour, a day, two days – whatever feels right for you. But I find that the right word eventually comes to the front and speaks to me.

And when you find YOUR word? Shake hands baby because this is your partner for 2016.

Here’s some ideas for what you can do together:

  • make your word part of your screensaver on your laptop or phone so that you see it everyday
  • make a page for your planner, journal or diary that puts your word front and centre
  • look at your word each day and let it drive your actions towards the goals you’ve set
  • tell your family or friends about your word or write a blog post about it that cements your intentions
  • write your word on a card (make it pretty or striking if you like) and pop it by your bed –  look at it each morning when you wake up to start your day with a positive outlook

Hope you’ve found this post or the free worksheet useful. Feel free to share it!

Michelle x


What's your word for 2016 pinnable image from TheJoyChaser.com

34 Comments on What’s your inspiring word for 2016?

  1. Alexandra | I'm Every Mum
    March 22, 2016 at 10:12 am (7 months ago)

    Hey gorgeous, I think I told you when you mentioned it on one of Megan’s scopes, my word for this year is ‘REBIRTH.’ At a place of rebuilding after finally admitting I was postnatal, and then the recent anxiety attacks, my life has been completely stripped back. I am choosing to stop seeing this as failure on my part but an opportunity to begin again and purposefully place things back into my life that I can do well and not take on too much again. Great post xxx thanks for always inspiring
    Alexandra | I’m Every Mum recently posted…Village Hotel Blackpool Review | village hotel blackpoolMy Profile

  2. My Petit Canard
    January 25, 2016 at 9:43 pm (9 months ago)

    Hi Michelle, I finally decided on my words for this year and well, I thought it would be nice to circle back and share it with you and to kind of mark it in a way too. There is one word that I didnt previously list, but keeps popping up weekly, if not more often. It clearly has every intention of making its mark in my life this year and that is the word “Inspire”. I dont know what it is about it, but I am drawn to it constantly and find myself using it a lot already. The other word is adventure. This isnt one that is as prominent, but something I am determined to bring alive for our little family this year :-). So heres to a year filled with inspiration and adventure – I cant wait! Emily

  3. Matt Fenlon
    January 19, 2016 at 7:43 am (9 months ago)

    Great post! I went through the worksheet last week and picked my words from a brainstorm. I put them on my desktop wallpaper, so I looked at them every time I started up or shut down my laptop. Seeing them every day kept them in the back of my mind, and led to my refining the work on. For home: Risk. For work: Refine. With the word for home first deliberately, as I’m also redressing the work/home life balance this year.

  4. Susan Mann
    January 17, 2016 at 11:09 pm (9 months ago)

    Great post. I’m not sure what word I’d pick will have a think and do th worksheets. Love yours. Good luck achieving them x

  5. Harry's Honest Mummy
    January 13, 2016 at 9:03 pm (9 months ago)

    Crikey that has really got the mind working over time. I’ve never had a “Word”. But it’s such a good idea that I am going to make sure that I do. My brother-in-law lost a cruel battle with a brain tumour last year, and so the words, laugh, thankful, celebrate all pop out from that list. All the things I felt unable to do whilst we watched him suffer, yet the 3 words that epitomised him as a person. Now just to narrow that down to 1…… thanks for sharing.
    Harry’s Honest Mummy recently posted…Month of Firsts – December 2015My Profile

  6. Stephanie
    January 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm (9 months ago)

    Fab, I think a word helps guide you through the year. Love the ones you’ve chosen and I can’t stress enough how important it is to feel happy with your word. Last year I went with what I knew I should do rather than continue to explore one that felt right. Not made that mistake this year! 🙂 #sharethejoy
    Stephanie recently posted…Füssen: a pretty town which we saw twiceMy Profile

  7. Joanne Mallon
    January 12, 2016 at 1:23 pm (9 months ago)

    Reach is a good one, I like it a lot. I’m still waiting for my 2016 word to come to me, though I just read Grace Jones’ autobiography and keep coming back to her mantra of ‘Try Everything Once’ . That and Travel are the two lessons that stuck with me from the book.

  8. Coombe Mill - Fiona
    January 12, 2016 at 12:07 am (9 months ago)

    Loving your words, so much scope and goodness in them both

  9. Jess Powell (Babi a Fi)
    January 11, 2016 at 10:08 pm (10 months ago)

    I don’t have a word but it’s a great idea – I’m going to have to have a think about it. 🙂 I love ‘reach’, it encompasses so much. #sharethejoy
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Photo-Love, 28th April 1979My Profile

  10. My Petit Canard
    January 11, 2016 at 8:28 pm (10 months ago)

    i love this exercise! There are a few words that immediately jump out at me; adventure, achieve, accomplish – these feel right for the year we have ahead filled with a new baby and maternity leave, a challenging new role at work, growing my blog and family wedddings. Adventure most certainly must be on my list…it feels so right. But I also like Laugh, experience, nurture and delight. I am definitely going to let them percolate and see what happens 🙂 Emily
    My Petit Canard recently posted…2016: The Year Of OpportunityMy Profile

  11. Alice @ The Filling Glass
    January 11, 2016 at 1:45 pm (10 months ago)

    I honestly thought I had already commented on this post when I fist read it, but I appears not! Anyway – I love your words; I can really understand why you have chosen each of them. They could have been mine. But actually you helped me find that my word for 2016 is GOAL. I am really looking forward to gaining a better understanding of my goals, how I can achieve them, and getting started on doing so this year. Thank you for all your continued inspiration and support. xxx
    Alice @ The Filling Glass recently posted…Cheesy gratitude biscuitsMy Profile

  12. Ali
    January 11, 2016 at 8:29 am (10 months ago)

    I think I’m settling for grow. last year was all about setting up and learning and now I’ve got to where I want to be, it’s about growing the aspect of my life which I think will give me the most personal satisfaction and sense of achievement. This does mean getting rid of one of my start ups from 2015 but as I was exploring all areas I didn’t know where my new adventures would take me. I started up 2 new business’ in 2015 and ended the year stressed and overloaded so one has got to go! I’m going to grow the one I’m keeping and excel in that instead of ticking along with both.
    I so needed to read this Michelle, you are an inspiration x
    Ali recently posted…Chinese Chicken With Nasi Goreng RiceMy Profile

  13. Mummy Fever
    January 11, 2016 at 8:05 am (10 months ago)

    I love this so much. I have goals not resolutions so this is perfect. My word for my work is grow and my word for home is nurture.

    I loved reading this thank you x #sharethejoylinky
    Mummy Fever recently posted…Skiing with children: the kit listMy Profile

  14. Amy @ Mr and Mrs T Plus Three
    January 7, 2016 at 11:18 pm (10 months ago)

    I can’t tell you how much I love this Michelle and it has given me so much clarity, you are an absolute wonder and your warmth and zest just pour out of you both in person (I love seeing you in person!) and online.

    I *think’ I have chosen my word but may have one for work and one for life, my life one is ‘Generous’ I will blog about it and let you know.

    Thank you for this, it’s truly inspiring. xxx

  15. Honest Mum
    January 4, 2016 at 1:16 pm (10 months ago)

    Love this Michelle, so uplifting and empowering-everything and more I expect from you, I will try out the exercise too. I’m so greedy though and want more than one word (ha)! ‘Crack On’ was something spoken about at the British Library panel and really resonated-at your own speed, time, pursuing what matters and following your dreams.

    I have a lot I hope to achieve this year, my dream is working remotely and totally to my schedule (and beat), something that is already happening to some extent. I want to keep growing and expanding the team so I have more time for the family and myself.

    Success and happiness is about more free time for me, it’s tough when you build a business, a lot of hours, blood, sweat and tears goes into it as you know, but this year is the year hopefully a lot of things fall into place and I can say ‘no’ and ‘yes’ more (!). Happy New Year and thanks again for the lovely Christmas presents. Here’s to a super, kick-ass year for all x

  16. Hayley - Downs Side Up
    January 2, 2016 at 4:04 pm (10 months ago)

    What a wonderful post Michelle, so inspiring. :last year my words were simplify and focus, mainly that meant saying no more and not wasting energy on fruitless tasks.
    This year it is nurture (myself and others) and grow.

  17. Amanda
    January 2, 2016 at 1:46 pm (10 months ago)

    What a lovely word to focus on!! My word for 2015 was “surrender” and it was so apt… With a redundancy, relocation, 2 new jobs, my husband getting new work, and really bad health issues for both of us, we really did have no choice but to “surrender” to what was happening in our lives. It sounds quite negative, but it was actually very positive, in a similar way to your chosen word “accept”.

    My word for 2016 is “Healing”. I knew I needed this and it encompasses a lot of things. It helps me focus on making time each day for yoga, meditation, quiet time etc and also reminds me of the healing power of writing and creating. With that in mind, I am taking a 3 month social media break, have decided to stop writing at The Family Patch (big gulp!) and am starting Spirit Kid Network. This is far more in tune with where I am in my life now than The Family Patch, plus there is a lot of history there that I need to step away from in order to truly heal. It remains as a reminder of my journey and a portfolio but not as an updated blog.

    I’m also reading every day (fiction, non-fiction and blogs) as well as working on the novel I started in 2010 but have not had time for since… It’s a multi-book story set in a fantasy world and aimed at the young adult market. Exactly the kind of books I fell in love with as a teenager and still read today 🙂 it is so wonderful to see this as part of my healing journey.

    And healing is much needed in my life right now, so the choice of word for 2016 was a no brainer!!

  18. Cathy
    January 1, 2016 at 8:35 pm (10 months ago)

    It isn’t the first time that I have given thought to a focus word for the year. I think it is interesting that you have chosen two words – one with a work focus and the other for home. I do have two words that spring to mind and I think that they can be applicable to both settings.

  19. Catie: An imperfect mum
    January 1, 2016 at 12:59 pm (10 months ago)

    What a fantastic idea. I agree that thinking positively and being focused can make an enormous difference. I also love how you had accept as this is something I have certainly tried to work on this year too. Fabulous positive post to begin 2016, thank you!

  20. Lucy @ bottlefor2
    January 1, 2016 at 12:51 pm (10 months ago)

    I love this Michelle. What a great idea. I love your words too.
    It’s simple, but clever. I think I will have a go at this…. I’ll let you know when I’ve done it.

    I think you’ve done a great job with TheJoyChaser. It’s always one of my first go-to blogs when I’m looking for some like-minded inspiration.
    Wishing you all the best for 2016.
    Lucy x
    Lucy @ bottlefor2 recently posted…My top blogs from 2015My Profile

  21. Kizzy
    January 1, 2016 at 8:16 am (10 months ago)

    I’ve chosen my word for the year and I don’t think it’s on your list. I’ve chosen purpose, living our lives with purpose over the coming year will sit well with my new slowly lived lifestyle I am slowing introducing. Happy New Year and here’s to reaching in 2016
    Kizzy recently posted…Word for 2016My Profile

  22. MrsTeePot
    January 1, 2016 at 4:45 am (10 months ago)

    My word this year is JOY! I hope that it changes my life like it has changed yours.
    All the best for 2016.
    MrsTeePot recently posted…The Prompt: BelieveMy Profile

  23. Babes about Town
    December 31, 2015 at 6:59 pm (10 months ago)

    My first ever one word resolution was Celebrate – blogged about it a few years back and it was a truly celebratory year. The biggest impact was from my ‘one phrase resolution’ the following year which was Raise Your Game, a life/blog motto that I still find very empowering.

    I got my word for next year a few weeks ago and it’s stuck, so I’m looking forward to claiming it and living it out through 2016. Thanks for these excellent resources and well done again on striking forwards with the new blog and direction. You are in your zone now and it shows, keep it up hon and happiest 2016 to you xoxo

  24. Mrs H
    December 30, 2015 at 10:11 pm (10 months ago)

    This is fabulous Michelle. Thank you so much for sharing. I found 2015’s word, kindness, came to me really easily. But I am struggling with 2016’s. I think I need to spend sometime doing your exercises. I love the words that you’ve chosen for 2016. Acceptance is so hard but so important in life. I sometimes rally against the events of my life. But this does me no good. Acceptance is a positive way of dealing with life. And I particularly love the serenity prayer as a way of remembering this. Reach for the stars, Michelle. I can’t wait to read all about your journey to them. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  25. Mummy Tries
    December 30, 2015 at 8:16 pm (10 months ago)

    You are awesome Michelle! The turnaround in the way you look at life in such a short amount of time is proof that anyone can do it!! You’ve given some brilliant advice here honey.

    Sending you much love for a truly splendid 2016 xxx
    Mummy Tries recently posted…Reflections on 2015My Profile

  26. Tin
    December 30, 2015 at 4:50 pm (10 months ago)

    What a brilliant post Michelle. I think you’ve chosen a brilliant word for the next twelve months.
    I don’t have a single word, maybe positivity if I had to choose just one, but I’ve got more of a mentality which encompasses many of the words you have on the list, including generosity, collaborate and invent and educate.
    We’ll have to meet up soon so I can gnaw your ear off about some of my ideas as usual! xx

  27. Ali
    December 30, 2015 at 3:32 pm (10 months ago)

    Wow do I need this! I’ve finished 2015 feeling like I’m flying by the seat of my pants & not being my usual chirpy self. I have an inkling for one word already but am going to mull it over for a while and get back to you xx

  28. Kate / Pouting In Heels
    December 30, 2015 at 12:10 pm (10 months ago)

    Oh Michelle darling, I LOVE THIS!! I’ve already got my word (which I’ll share in the new year) but I’m so going to have a go at these exercises too.

    Love your choices also and I have to say, I’m so proud of you with what you have achieved this year with The Joy Chaser. I can still remember our conversations at BritMums and honestly, this blog and it’s new name and your new identity are just superb. Here’s to a fabulous 2016! Much love X

  29. Leigh - Headspace Perspective
    December 30, 2015 at 10:57 am (10 months ago)

    ‘Reach’ is a wonderful word, lovely Michelle. Full of aspiration – not only for yourself but as you say by reaching out to others which you already do so well.

    I already have my word – I’ll be revealing it tomorrow – but what wonderful resources for people who need a bit of inspiration! xxx
    Leigh – Headspace Perspective recently posted…How I Use My Happy PlannerMy Profile

  30. Emma
    December 30, 2015 at 7:30 am (10 months ago)

    I love this idea. It’s so simple to focus on one word but so strong. Mine are create and nurture. Here’s to a happy 2016 x
    Emma recently posted…5 top blog posts of 2015My Profile


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