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New Year One Word Intention

Anyone out there picking a word for 2022? Is choosing a one word intention a ritual for you?  I have never done this but am super intrigued by the whole concept! I did a little research to try and figure out where this phenomenon came from and can’t quite find the origin. I did learn that there are FULL BOOKS about the idea of a “one-word intention.”  In one review it simplified the concept like this: “Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year.” With a quick Google search, I realized there are hundreds of bloggers out there who have a lot to say about the power of the ONE WORD.  There are a plethora of resources and even whole courses about how to get the most out of this practice.  I thought this class looked super interesting from someone who has been choosing words for more than a decade.  I was super close to signing up but paused as I am such a sucker for over-joining/signing/trying things in a new year and then losing interest.  I decided I can try to do the “word thing,” see if I like it, and then pursue a course next year if I want.  

I grabbed some questions I liked from a couple different sources and took a hodge-podge approach to defining my word.  A couple of questions I liked: 

  • What could I use more of in my life?  
  • What could I use less of in my life? 
  • What kind of person do you want to become?  
  • Where do you want to learn and grow? 
  • What characteristics are important given the above?
  • What word does all this lead you to?  (and are you excited about it?) 

This all led me back to a word I have been thinking a lot about the last few years but haven’t fully been able to grasp which is…..drum roll please….. CONTENTMENT.  I think that seems right for 2022.  And here’s why: 

  • I have so much to be grateful for, including an amazing husband, three healthy kids, wonderful girlfriends, a loving and fun family, my health, a job, a beautiful home and so much more….and still, I often long for more- a different job, a bigger travel budget, and the list goes on. 
  • My Enneagram 3 personality means I am always looking to achieve and accomplish- I love a goal, an outcome, a crossed-off to-do list.  This comes in very handy in some ways and can also be exhausting. It means I often go to bed feeling unresolved, like I could be doing more in the world.  
  • There are a lot of unknowns in my life right now- bigger opportunities and/or decisions which I don’t really have control over their outcomes.  And yet, I can spend a lot of mental capacity planning and scheming and wondering and worrying, all leading to a lack of overall contentment. 
  • One of the things I am committed to trying in 2022 is a more regular meditation practice.  This is HARD for me.  I don’t fully get it.  I keep wondering about the outcome even when I read it is about the process.  We are eighteen days into the new year and I have done this four times.  I think there may be a connection between meditation and contentment over time.    

Generally, I feel like I could always be doing more in life-  helping more people, accomplishing new things, forging new relationships- while I don’t think any of those things are inherently bad, I do think there is an inner peace and contentment I am seeking, one that I know can ultimately only come through God.  I am praying father, son and holy spirit can help me find this CONTENTMENT in new ways this year.  And who knows, maybe this ONE-WORD intention is gonna help! 

Before I close out this post, I will share that one consistent thing I do every New Year is to think about various aspects of my life and write down some things I want to accomplish. They are less “resolution” and more “things to be intentional about” and while that may be semantics, there is no guilt for me about if I do them or not. I have been doing this for most of my adult life and now my hubby and I do it together.  In case it is helpful to others, here are some of the categories we think through together: 

    • Family 
    • Faith 
    • Finances
    • Hobbies/Leisure/Travel
    • Health and Wellness 
    • Relationships 

In 2019, we took this idea to the next level and escaped to the mountains for a night without our kids.  We hiked, at good food and drank good wine, and talked about All.The.Things. We discussed friendships we wanted to cultivate more in the new year, prayers for our children, trips we wanted to take together, priorities for our finances, organizations we wanted to support, and so much more. It was so life-giving to both of us. We cancelled this year’s trip due to the Omicron surge but are still looking forward to a nice dinner at home and some intentional planning in the next few weeks.  The goal is to be done by the end of January! 

(Photo by kerry rawlinson on Unsplash)


  1. Holly on January 27, 2022 at 10:52 PM

    Our family word is Shine!

    • Katherine B. Martin on January 28, 2022 at 5:55 AM

      I love that, Holly! And cool y’all do it as a family. You were my first reply- coffee or wine on me soon! 😉

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