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One Word Challenge: Essentials

For the past few years, I’ve watched people take the “One Word Challenge” at the begining of a new year. Basically, inviting people to bag the idea of setting a list of goals and resolutions to keep track of, and instead choose one word that would be emblematic of your over-all motivation or goal for the year.
Frankly, I’ve never had the discipline to do it before (and maybe therein lies the bigger problem). So I was grateful when my friend Tauni challenged me to really do it this year. It made me sit and actually think about it.
necklace from Charmed Collections
My “one word” for 2015 is Essentials.
And here’s why. Like most everyone out there, I try to be and do too much to too many people. And I hate the burnout that comes when I do that. Too often, I was getting distracted by so many little things that by the time I circled back to the most important things/people/responsibilities I wasn’t able to give them my best self/effort.
This year my goal is to put the Essentials first: making time for personal devotion, family, time to exercise and eat right, and helping the people closest to me. You can read more about my thoughts of starting with the essentials and still being able to fit in some of the “nice-to-do” things on the list too in my One-Word Challenge post at SNAP Creativity.

A few weeks ago, I also started reading Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less and didn’t even make the connection until this week that it goes hand in hand with my word of the year. His book talks about focus and making choices – which means saying no to a lot of things so that your emphasis is on the biggest goal and most important things in your life. That emphasis is personal and different for everyone, but finding it and defining it is important to do for yourself, since no one else can do it for you.

I’m excited and hopeful about seeing where this focus takes me. I’ll probably continue to take on too much and drop balls here and there, but hopefully progress will be made with more peace of mind to be had a long the way.

Anyone else out there taking on the One Word Challenge?

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Terri S.
    January 9, 2015 at 9:06 am

    I've never done this challenge either, but the moment I read your post, a word zinged into my brain! I think it's a great way to frame your motivations for the year like you said. I'm going to try!

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    January 9, 2015 at 9:10 am

    What a great word. I love how it is all-encompassing and covers all of the most important things in life.

  • Reply
    Melissa Corry
    January 9, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Love the word!!! Great inspiration for 2015 ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Amy Friend
    January 9, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I like your word. I fall into the same trap so I will try to remember this (as I rush out to get more supplies for a Brownies project, lol…you see what I mean?)

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Robbins
    January 9, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Great word! Mine this year is Ready. I'm going to focus on being ready for whatever is happening next, rather than trying to tackle a million other things and then being late/unprepared to everything. So if I wake up before the baby, I have to get ready for work before I try to squeeze in laundry/cleaning/quilting/blogging/whathaveyou.

  • Reply
    Anna
    January 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Love it Amy. Excited for you!

  • Reply
    Abbie Osborn
    January 9, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    That is a great word! I agree that people often tend to forget about the small essentials in life such as family so I like really your take of 2015&#39;s word x<br /><br />Abbie|<a href="http://Thoughtsandthunder.blogspot.co.uk&quot; rel="nofollow">Thoughtsandthunder</a>

  • Reply
    OPQuilt
    January 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Lovely word and lovely illustrations and thoughts that go with it. As a collector of words and phrases, I&#39;ve never dared single out just one, but I love reading about the word choices that others make. Thanks for this!<br />Elizabeth

  • Reply
    Marianne
    January 9, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    &quot;Kind&quot; for this ultra-critical gal!

  • Reply
    agravette
    January 9, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    I love the quote and what it stands for…if we dedicate ourselves to making sure our essential physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met, we&#39;ll be much more fulfilled, happier people. God bless you and thank you for this post!

  • Reply
    Katy Cameron
    January 9, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Good luck with your year of essentialism :o)

  • Reply
    Mary Gillmarten
    January 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I am! My word is Rise!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    January 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    I just wanted to say very well said! Wonderful post! We all need to keep the essentials first!

  • Reply
    Kathy E.
    January 9, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I&#39;ve chosen a word for the year for 4 years now. This year, I have chosen &quot;simplify&quot; so I can concentrate on what it really important to me and get rid of the clutter in my home, social life, and mind. I love the word &quot;essential&quot; that you&#39;ve chosen!

  • Reply
    Allison
    January 10, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Excellent word and excellent sentiments Amy – hope it goes well for you! I posted the word(s) I&#39;m applying to my patchwork and quilting a few days ago – FINISH and LEARN. Next year my word will have to be something about decision making and choices so I don&#39;t end up with two words again!

  • Reply
    Stitchin At Home
    January 10, 2015 at 7:51 am

    I think essentials&#39; is a great word. I like the quote you used. Sometimes we miss the essentials in our rush to get other things done that really aren&#39;t essential. My word is &#39;hope&#39;. http://stitchinathome.blogspot.ca/2015/01/hope.html

  • Reply
    Elsa
    January 10, 2015 at 8:01 am

    My word last year was productivity and boy, I was ~ I still can&#39;t believe all the things I made and did! <br />I haven&#39;t been able to decide until I went (just now) to an online thesaurus and started putting in words. I&#39;ve wanted to improve my skills at sewing and other things and came up with words like skillful and possibilities. Well ~ that led to proficiency ~ advancement in

  • Reply
    AnnieO
    January 10, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Saying the words &quot;No, I&#39;m sorry, I can&#39;t&quot; is a hard thing to do sometimes, especially if it&#39;s things you love but don&#39;t have time or energy for. Wishing you well on your challenge and the peace you seek. One more thing, the quoted phrase is a complete sentence that you don&#39;t have to explain:)

  • Reply
    janie
    January 10, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I had never heard of this New Year&#39;s one word usage until this year. So I also thought about it and decided to use the word &quot;Calm&quot;. It really should be Stay Calm, because when I am quilting or planning or cutting, etc….. I quite often tend to wish I was done this particular job and start to rush and end up getting frustrated with a job I truly love. This way hopefully I will

  • Reply
    Rachel
    January 11, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I&#39;ve seen this same word on several bloggers sites this year, including the reference to the same book. I&#39;ll have to look into it. I hope the Emmy Grace tutorial is one of the essentials!

  • Reply
    Lindsay Swoboda
    January 11, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Great word! I chose three to encompass some big changes for us this year: Attempt, Bliss, Change. I&#39;m going to have to embrace all three to make it through;)

  • Reply
    quiltytherapy
    January 11, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Wow! Essentials would be a really good challenge for myself. It&#39;s such a powerful word. I wish you the best of luck with focusing on those essentials. Can&#39;t wait to read how it&#39;s impacting you over the next few months.

  • Reply
    Hitch and Thread
    January 11, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Love your word. I chose growth for mine.

  • Reply
    Thimbleanna
    January 12, 2015 at 8:27 am

    What a great word Amy! You&#39;re always such an inspiration — Good Luck with your one word this year!!!

  • Reply
    Tsoniki
    January 13, 2015 at 3:05 am

    I&#39;ve been doing the one word challenge for quite a few years now, I love the focus it brings! I may not think about it every single day, but very often. I also ordered a piece of jewelry this year to wear my word.

  • Reply
    โœพJamie Lee Cooleyโœพ
    January 13, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    That&#39;s a good word to focus on. I wouldn&#39;t be so good at that one I don&#39;t think…just signed up for the I want her stash (saw you are this month) and I probably have more fabric than most. Certainly not essential but it will be fun to see what people pick each month!

  • Reply
    New projects, pulling fabric, and the Essentials - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog
    September 11, 2015 at 7:09 am

    […] Last winter I chose Essentials as my one word challenge and I’m happy to stay it’s stuck around. I readย Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism and started evaluating my goals and my choices and eliminating the excess. It’s taken until now to really start feeling the effects of saying “no” to more things so that I have time to do the things that I want to do – including more time to exercise, keep my house under control, and spend time with people. It’s so liberating. […]

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