The Year in a Word


Happy new year! As we begin 2014, talk is everywhere about our goals, resolutions and plans. Many of you have chosen “one word” that will serve as a focal point throughout 2014. Choosing a word has become popular in the last five years or so, and I like it because it’s a concise way to distill the theme of all my new year’s goals into one simple expression.

So I wanted to share my word for 2014 with you. It is:


Over the last year, I’ve become increasingly aware of the need to bring my best energy into every aspect of my life. I have to be intentional about showing up with zeal, and approaching every task with the urgency it deserves. I have to keep my momentum going and not allow it to falter.

It seems obvious—like it would go without saying. But I’ve noticed how easy it is to fall into the routine of “another day at the office” even though I’m lucky enough to have a career I love. By focusing on the word “vitality,” I’ll have a daily reminder to bring my A-game every single day. I have numerous clients, but each of my clients only has one agent, and every interaction we have is important. They deserve my best, every time.

Bringing vitality to my personal life is crucial too. My family and friends deserve my best. There’s no time for laziness—everything will be more meaningful if I consciously apply my energy to it.

How will I maintain my vitality? My other new year’s goals all center around this overriding objective. Choosing to stay mindful of the purpose and vision I have for my life will keep me passionate about the day-to-day work. Getting enough exercise, sleep and healthy food will keep me energized. Enjoying all the exciting projects I’m privileged to work on brings a vitality all its own.

So this year, I’m focusing on vitality, and I’ve already got the word posted, big and bold, above my computer. And by putting it out there to you, I’m now accountable to it.

Do you have a word, or a goal, for 2014 that you’d like to share? Why did you choose it?

Comment below, or by clicking: HERE.


Did you choose a word for 2014? Share it on @RachelleGardner’s blog. Click to Tweet.

Agent @RachelleGardner chose “vitality” as her word for 2014. What’s yours? Click to Tweet.

Image credit: ximagination / 123RF Stock Photo

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  2. M.A. Fairchild on January 26, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    My word for 2014 is balance. I work as a Technical Writer for Texas Instruments. I am also a creative writer, but I find that I don’t write creatively anymore. I’m a single parent with two teenagers and a kindergartner. I find myself at all of their events and booster meetings, but have allowed myself little personal time. This year is about intentionally balancing my time and talents. I love your word for the year. Thank you for sharing. It is encouraging.

  3. Kristy Cambron on January 11, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    Rachelle – I love this! I was speaking with my company’s Associate Engagement Director yesterday and he used one of the same words you did about 2014: intentional. I think it’s important to really focus and be intentional about what we want – whether it’s to reach a professional goal or do something as simple as spend meaningful time with family. Vitality is a word that embodies the energy of being intentional!

    My word is NEW. Revelations 21:5 – “Behold, I am making all things new!” I think you know why I chose that one. ; )

  4. Rachel Britz on January 9, 2014 at 6:32 PM


  5. Annette R Burrell on January 9, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    My word is Learn. I retired in 2013 at an early age to begin a career in writing. I learned a lot this past year but realize there is so much more that I need to know to get published by a traditional publisher. My passion is writing so naturally I gravitate to that. But, I’m becoming a pretty good researcher. So . . . Learn is my word. Learn something new about the publishing business every day!

  6. Peter DeHaan on January 7, 2014 at 5:07 PM


  7. Jeannie Miernik on January 7, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    I love this idea! My word for this year is SHAMELESS. It sounds cheeky, but I realized toward the end of last year that I am sensitized to feelings of shame held over from growing up in conservative religious schools. I feel shame about all sorts of things I shouldn’t, like bringing a child into the world, working for a nonprofit that doesn’t pay a lot, or entering a writing contest that I have “no right” to win. I want to work on recovering from my episodes of senseless shame and raising my daughter with a positive self-image, not regulating her behavior with shame. This is my year to be SHAMELESS. Not unethical, not embarrassing, just free from the manipulative scars of shame… which often masquerades as “writer’s block.”

  8. ezmerelda on January 7, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    My word for 2014 is “True/truthful”,,,,being true to myself, to write and create and not just talk about it.

  9. Ernie Zelinski on January 6, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    My word is COMMITMENT.

    Our commitment to our major purpose in life is manifested by the luminous path that we create, regardless of how dark the night is around us.

    As bestselling author Brendon Burchard says,

    “Commitment is your willingness to struggle. It is your willingness to do it even if parts of it make you very uncomfortable.”

    Put another way:

    “Commitment leads to completion. Everything else is just an excuse.”
    — from “Life’s Secret Handbook”

  10. kristaphillips on January 6, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    Focus. That is my word. Trying to readjust my focus with God being my center, in ALL areas, writing, family, blogging. Getting rid of the fluff that isn’t needed and concentrating on the important stuff.

  11. Kathryn Nielson on January 6, 2014 at 5:30 PM


  12. Celeste Vaughan on January 6, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Simplify. It was my word last year, but I’m obviously not finished with it yet 😉

  13. Kristine Ward on January 6, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    “Trust” with all my heart in the desired outcome that seems far, far away right now. Many other attitudes are implied with my word: patience, persistence, joy – a very tall order for 2014, but I will accept (oh, yes, another word that is implied) the challenge.

  14. Darlene L. Turner on January 6, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    My word for 2014 is REFOCUS. 2013 was a challenging year and I put a few things on the back burner, so now I want to refocus on what’s important to me and do it!

  15. Jackie Lea Sommers on January 6, 2014 at 1:02 PM

  16. Michael Thompson on January 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM


  17. Simone on January 6, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    my word is GREATER

  18. Kelly Criste Goshorn on January 6, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    My word for 2014 is brave. I have been coming into this concept the last few months. I don’t want to live a small life. Small as in confined by my own fears. So I’m determined to be brave this year and step out of my comfort zone and trust God to provide where he leads.

  19. Sharon Gagnon on January 6, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    My word is youthfulness. I want to play more this year and have fun, laugh, and also work on healthy eating and exercising so I can stay young and be able to keep up with my nine grandchildren.

  20. Amanda on January 6, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    My word for 2014 is inscribed, from Isaiah 49:16.

  21. Melanie Ormand on January 6, 2014 at 11:22 AM


  22. Andrea Buginsky on January 6, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Hi Rachelle! My word for the year is “content.” My resolution is to be content with whatever comes my way. Too often, I let things really get to me, and it affects everything in my life. So, this year, I resolve to be content, and go with the flow.

  23. Jenny Bailey on January 6, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Mine is CONSCIOUS. I get a little over-focused sometimes. I find myself going through the motions of daily life, tunnel-vision focused on the next step of whatever project or job I’m working on. This year I want to look around a little more, pay a little more attention to the things and people closest to me and to act at all times with full intention and awareness.

    • Rachelle Gardner on January 6, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      I’m loving these words! I want to adopt all of them! Conscious is a great one.

  24. Jean Sullivan on January 6, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    Bold–that’s my word of the year. It’s already helped me do some things I’d usually shy away from. Good post, Rachelle! I also wrote about it this week at

  25. Paula Moldenhauer on January 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    LOVE this one, Rachelle. Thank you. Keeping the vision before us brings vitality. Awesome! My word was given in prayer to me by a friend: Restructuring–letting go of excess and preparing for promotion. ;o)

  26. Patti M Hall on January 6, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    I’ve focused on SAVOUR this year. Spelled the Canadian way, yes. I need to slow it down, live it more, dig more deeply and taste everything….

  27. Jess Byam on January 6, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    I really like the idea of words for the year. I actually heard a quote recently and decided to make it my mantra for the year: “Start living the life you imagined.” No more excuses, no more somedays. I am making a commitment to myself to make my own dreams come true.

  28. Marla Taviano on January 6, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Mine is SURRENDER. And I absolutely, totally did NOT want it to be. Which is exactly why it needed to be. Blogged about it here:

  29. Wendy on January 6, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Rachelle, vitality is a fantastic year word. Initially, I had three words in mind: write, explore, and passion. But, I knew I would do those anyways. How could I challenge myself? With so many words to choose from, I paused for days to think about it, and realized that my word had chosen me. The clamour of life choices requires a quiet pausing. In order to let me mind catch up to my heart, this year I will Pause. I think it will transform this year’s life choices.

  30. Dennis Brooke on January 6, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    Persistence. Knowing what to do and doing it are two very separate things. Prayer, persistence, and patience = published (or whatever your goal is.) My favorite quote on the word is from Calvin Coolidge:

    “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.”

    • Rachelle Gardner on January 6, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      One of my favorite quotes, Dennis. Thanks for sharing it here! Persistence is one of those words I need to keep in front of me all the time.

  31. Cherry Odelberg on January 6, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    To Life! Vitality! Happy New Year!

  32. lyndieb on January 6, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    Last year’s word for me was EMBRACE and through the year I was able to eliminate my depression medication and begin to ‘feel’ emotions again. It has led me directly into this year’s word -TRUST – and the yearning for ‘grace to trust Him more.’

  33. Laurie Buchanan on January 6, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    My focus word for 2014 is SERENDIPITY

  34. Joan Cimyotte on January 6, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Last year’s word for me was determination. This year it would be if I could multiply determination by ten or one hundred. But with all the junk going on in this world and the deceptions being perpetrated on our citizens, my word in QUESTION.

  35. Victoria on January 6, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    Awareness, as in “being in the moment”, being aware of all the wonders around us and inside us.

    • Rachelle Gardner on January 6, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      I love the idea of focusing on awareness. Kind of similar to mindfulness. Important!

  36. theromanticvineyard on January 6, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    My word is INTIMACY–as it applies to my marriage, my children, and my friends. Being on the computer so much has placed a distance between my real-life relationships and me, and I’m realize how much of a detriment this has been. I’m still in the midst of many changes in my life, so I’m excited to see how this focus on intimacy will help me, change me and cause me to love others more deeply.

  37. Lindsay Harrel on January 6, 2014 at 7:55 AM

    I love your word, Rachelle — though I confess it makes me tired just thinking about it. LOL. 😉 My word for 2014 is LEAN, as in lean on God’s understanding — not my own — and LEAN into Him when I’m tired and tempted to worry.

  38. Donna Everhart on January 6, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    My word for 2014 is PERSEVERANCE, and by that, I mean to persevere in all that I do…writing, healthy living, staying in touch with the people who are important to me, and it’s a good word to think on when and if things get tough or go off track. Happy New Year all!

  39. Beth K. Vogt on January 6, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    Last year’s word was CONFIDENCE — as in “Do not throw away your confidence” (Hebrews 10:35-36). THINK is a good follow on to last year’s word because it’s forcing me to laser in on where I anchor my emotions — where do I let my thoughts go wandering? So often my thoughts become my attitudes, and sometimes I’m not even aware of the mental path I wandered down.

    I really like your word for the year, Rachelle. Here’s to a 2014 filled with vitality!

  40. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on January 6, 2014 at 7:38 AM


    Good things will happen, and bad things will happen. I can influence some of them, but in many (if not most cases) all I can control is my own reaction.

    Remaining outwardly composed reinforces inward calm, which is the best place from which to take effective action.

    Besides – composure is polite.

  41. JeanneTakenaka on January 6, 2014 at 7:20 AM

    ENOUGH. As I prayed about my word for 2014, this is the one that kept coming to the forefront. I believe it’s going to affect how I perceive the things that happen in my days, how I perceive myself and how I work through the challenges that will, no doubt arise.

  42. Lisa Van Engen on January 6, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    Kneel. I want to let go my expectations to God this year and let him lead.

  43. Zan Marie Steadham on January 6, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    I’ll add mine-FINISH. I really need to finish this WIP that’s haunted me since 2008.
    Good luck to all of you!

    • Joe Snoe on January 6, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      I was thinking “FINISH” too, because I am focused on my novel’s manuscript. But I have other things I need to continue, improve or start so I’ m still thinkng. I definitely understand your word choice; and right now it drives.

  44. Richard Mabry on January 6, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    Rachelle, My word this year (and every year since the death of my first wife in 1999) is “gratitude.” I thank God every morning for giving me one more day. And it’s no surprise to me that you chose “vitality.” You’re already more full of energy than the law allows. Thanks for all you do.

    • Zan Marie Steadham on January 6, 2014 at 6:58 AM

      Richard, I try to list five reasons for gratitude on Wednesdays. It really helps with my outlook. I love that others have long known this practice.

  45. Dan Blank on January 6, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    The two works I have been thinking a lot about for this year are VULNERABILITY and ENTHUSIASM. I had meant to choose one to embody things I will dig into this year, but am actually finding the connection between these two words to be even more interesting to explore.


    • Rachelle Gardner on January 6, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Oooh, I love exploring connections! Sometimes that’s where we find our best insights. Great words!

  46. Sandy on January 6, 2014 at 6:18 AM

    My word for 2014? NOW – as no procrastinating. Do it NOW (and, I hope, with vitality).

    • Rachelle Gardner on January 6, 2014 at 6:30 AM

      I love it! Very similar to mine.

  47. Heather on January 6, 2014 at 6:04 AM

    I chose ‘Resolved’. I am going through a challenging time and it’s now at the place where I need to work hard and make things happen. I’m resolved to do the hard work, put my nose to the ground and do it. I have to keep reminding myself that ‘I can do hard things’.

    • Rachelle Gardner on January 6, 2014 at 6:31 AM

      I guess we all have to remind ourselves of that! That’s a powerful word.

  48. RenegadePilgrim on January 6, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    Remarkable. That’s my word for 2014. I want to live a life that is extraordinary and remarkable. So, everything I am pursuing this year is make my life remarkable. I am also setting out on a mission to share my plan to save money for an epic adventure to begin October 2015. On my blog I will be sharing my savings account balance each month, along with savings tips, and tricks to inspire others. Technically I started this in November 2013, but in order to make it real, and to hold myself accountable, I am sharing it with the world of the interwebs. Look forward to seeing you in Chicago at the GCN Conference! 🙂

    • Rachelle Gardner on January 6, 2014 at 6:32 AM

      What an inspiring word! Here’s to your remarkable adventure.

      • 1hollyrobinson1 on January 6, 2014 at 9:11 AM

        Wow, what an inspiring list of words to live by. I love them all! Mine is “flexibility,” so that I can hurdle whatever obstacles come my way…and float along when the current is traveling in the right direction.