Pick One Word For 2019

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Whoa, whoa, whoa. It seems like everyone and their mom is going straight from Halloween to Christmas with a snap of their finger. Me? I’m trying to figure out how the heck there are only 60 days left in the year and hold on to 2018 as long as I can!

That being said, I wanted to put something on your radar. I’ve made a habit of doing this for the past 3 years and I think it’s my favorite thing about the new year.

The One Word Idea

Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s nothing new but it gives you direction. Ready?

It’s better than a resolution, it’s a word.

Yep! A word. You pick a word that you want your year to be about. One word that you want to focus on, remember, and do each day. It’s a word that helps you navigate what’s important, who you want to be, what you envision for your year, and a way to check in with that.

Let’s establish that it doesn’t have to be just one word. It can be a few words or a phrase, but I’ve learned that by picking one word I’m able to simplify my vision.

Usually, the new year is about setting big goals. Resolutions. Things that you’re going to stick to. Exercising, eating healthy, reading, journaling, whatever it is, it’s always set with good intentions. But often those intentions aren’t followed through with. We make excuses and then we get frustrated when we’ve strayed and then we stray even more and become more frustrated.

Insert the one word idea here.

What Does The One Word Do?

It’s the foundation of what you want your year to be. It’s a check-in for how you’re spending your time, what you’re moving forward with, the books you read, the shows you watch, the people you hang out with.

Your one word is a way for you to keep track of questions like “Is this helping me BLANK?” and “Have I BLANKED lately?” and “How can I BLANK better today?”

The one word idea isn’t in place of resolutions, I still make them too, it’s just the bigger picture. It’s a guide, a map, and a vision for what you want your year to be about.

For me, the one word idea isn’t as intimidating as a resolution. When I miss a resolution, I go into a ‘well maybe next year’ mode. With the one word a year, I’m able to regain my focus and pep for making the changes I need to make sure my year is about that word.

Here Are My Words From The Last 3 Years

2016: Go. Do. (See, I chose two words here.)
2017: Focus.
2018: Create.

Steph Castelein jumping at the top of Monserrat near Barcelona.
Go. Do. I never thought I’d backpack solo through Europe but I guess that’s what happens when you go first and then do. You find yourself in some pretty awesome situations.

2016 Word

2016 is when I first heard about the one word idea. I had spent the previous 3 years wanting to travel and was finally able to put myself in a position to see what happened when I did.

I didn’t want my word to just be Go because then what? And I didn’t want it to just be Do because what was I doing? So I chose two words to kick this tradition off.

Go. Do.

I spent 3 months solo backpacking through Europe, 3 months in Kenya, and eventually met Scott while volunteering with a disaster relief organization. I’d say that Go. Do. had a big time impact on my year.

Steph and Scott along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Focus. I fell madly in love but also needed to get a handle on my goals, purpose, and vision for life.
PS, look at those beautiful blue eyes of that husband of mine!

2017 Word

I’d just met Scott and that was wild and new but I also very much wanted to focus on what I was going to do post traveling.

I knew I didn’t want to jump back into the 9-5 but what did that mean? I wanted to make something of my opportunity, this position I was in. Also, meeting Scott, I realized I was an all over the place person. I could do about 30 things at once and feel good about it when in reality I wasn’t being present. 2017 was a BIG year for me and growing and focusing and being present.

Steph and Scott Castelein floating over the waterfront in Petoskey for a Valentine's Day spoof.
Create. Speaking of that husband of mine…he’s been so great at pushing, encouraging, and helping me focus on my word create this year.

2018 Word

2017 had given me the vision I needed to make this lifestyle a career. I knew I would have to create every day in order to try and fail and learn and grow. Scott is leaps and bounds ahead of me in photography and videography but I knew I had to learn and create things for myself to grow in business and as a person to make this work.

Picking Your Word For The Year

Here are some words I’ve seen used by friends and family:


There’s no right or wrong for your word, it’s for you!

Friend, what do you want your 2019 to be about? It seems the older I get the faster time flies. If we only get one chance to live this life, let’s make sure we live it with intention, am I right? Hmmmmm….that’s a good word to consider, intention.

It’s currently November 2nd. I challenge you to start thinking about your 2019 word today. Start thinking about how you can make it the best, fullest, most rich year yet.

Is this a year of building for you?
Of wonder?
Of doing something totally, completely different than you are now?
Of slowing down and doing less?
Of kicking itin to gear and doing more?
Of spending more time alone?
Or maybe more time with friends or family?

I think we’re at our best when we’re living with intention. When we don’t have a plan but a vision for our lives. When we’re living boldly, fully, and presently.

Seriously consider what you want your 2019 self and life to look like and then pick yourself a word to guide you. I can’t wait to hear about your word in 60 days. Stay tuned for mine too!

Sending my best always,


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