What’s Your Big Word for 2016?

Have you ditched your New Year’s resolutions already? It’s easy to get hyped up with the excitement of the “be all you can be – make this your best year ever” type stuff that gets banded about at this time of the year. And then, you find life gets in the way of your positive intentions and goals. Sound familiar?

What do you want this year to represent for you?

If annual goals aren’t your thing, or if you’re unsure of exactly what you want, here’s an alternative: why not create a word (yes, only one) that instead represents what you want this year to be about for you.

Having your one word can be the difference that makes the difference. Here’s how:

Your word is much more than just a word

Your word is actually a series of attributes, principles, and behaviours that can guide and rally you – through the up’s and down’s you’ll face this year (unfortunately no one’s on a straight line). Think of your word as being like a compass – setting the overarching direction for what you want to achieve. This process can become an empowering and practical yearly ritual.

Why just one word? Because it’s easy to remember, and secondly, one word can mean a lot. Just like a picture can say 1000 words – one word can encapsulate so much more as well. Think creatively: pioneer, pirate, hunter, unleash, lean in, courage are a few ideas to get you thinking. Ritchie McCaw, NZ’s All Black captain was well known for his mantra “start again” referencing defending the All Black legacy.

Your word will create your story in 2016

Having one word that represents who you need to be and what it’s going to take to get you there, can be a powerful place to commit to the year ahead from.

I’m still pondering my word for me in my business. The word that keeps popping up is “game”. For me, a game means: adventure, putting yourself out there, being okay with uncertainty, playing smart under pressure, thinking ahead while making the next move, and having fun along the way and not taking it all too seriously.

If game became my word I’d ask myself these kinds of questions when I arrived at a challenge:

  • In playing my big game, how am I going to approach this?
  • Can this thing help me win or rather distract me from my main game?
  • What move will help me take the biggest step forward right now?
  • If I couldn’t loose, what next move must I make?

Three must do’s to create your word

  1. Take time to create it – don’t rush it or trivialise it. Come up with some ideas, let them settle, and then revisit your list. Keep challenging your best word ideas with alternatives until you come up with ‘the’ one.
  2. Don’t attach any outcomes to your word. Keep your word at a higher level than any specific result.
  3. Your word needs to matter to only one person – you! Don’t worry about what others might think if you share it with them. Make your word distinct and unique to you. And do share your word so others can hold you accountable to it.


Your word isn’t a blueprint or a goal – it’s a guiding light to help keep you on track. Make your word bold, compelling and a stretch. Your growth and development lies outside of your comfort zone. So let’s stretch that zone. What’s your big word going to be?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Phone: +61 4 31 971 790 | Email: toni@tonicourtney.comm
Website and all content ©2024 Toni Courtney. All rights reserved.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?