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Five steps to take charge of your 2018

December 31, 2017

Step 1:

Pick 5 focus words for 2018.

Choose words that will help you get in touch with unexperienced parts of yourself:  zany, emotional, hilarious, charismatic, responsible, stable, flexible, compassionate, courageous, spontaneous, bold, kind, authentic – whatever you say you’re not, pick a word that will help you meet up with that part of yourself.

Pick words that make you feel a little uncomfortable.  Push yourself.

Step 2:

To further hone in on the direction you want 2018 to take, create a chain of words for each of the five words you choose.

Ask yourself, “What’s important to me about that?  What does that word represent?”  Keep asking the questions until you’re dying of boredom — that’s when you’ll break through the obvious to uncover your real longings, hidden beneath the surface of your first words.

For example, one year my original word was fun.  Here’s the chain I created::

Fun:  excitement/spontaneity/humor/devilish/care-free/silly but kind/lightness of spirit/playful.

Another word was daring:

Daring:  adventurous, forging, creating, sharing, new paths, bold, reaching, scary, exciting, surprising, shocking, risky.

If one of the words in your chain better describes the characteristics you want to embody, circle that word and replace it for the original one.

I ended up changing fun to ‘lightness of spirit and playfulness’.  And I kept daring as it was, because that word seemed to capture the essence of the part of myself I wanted to tap into.

It doesn’t matter if the word wouldn’t make sense to someone else.  You’ll know exactly what you mean.

Step 3:

Once you have your final five words, write a brief paragraph describing how you will honor each word in 2018.

One of my focus words for 2018 is trust.  Trusting in my own wisdom.  Open to feedback from people who know and love me, even when it’s hard to hear.  Trusting in the process (I know what that means, even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else).  Trusting myself to tell my truth, with kindness and consideration, and without apology.

Step 4:

To get the ball rolling, pick one action for each word that will get you one tiny step closer to living it out.  Write it down.  Make it a real intention by picking a date by which you’ll complete it.

As long as I have been doing this exercise, I have experienced growth in every single area where I’ve put my attention.

Step 5:

Periodically check back in with your words. Words that may at one time feel expansive may come to feel constricting.  Respect that awareness and allow yourself to shift or add a new descriptor for your word.

Focus words are guides, not rigid rules.  They are meant to expand and enrich you and those with whom you interact.  Give them thought and attention.  At the same time, hold them lightly, play with them, open to the possibility that some of your focus words will morph with you over the coming weeks and months.

High five to you for kick-starting what I hope will be your most exciting and enriching year ever!  I’d love to hear your words!

Much love,


  1. vR Sarti says:

    I’ve done New Year exercises for a long time. Far and away this is the most difficult one I have encountered. I suspect that the degree of difficulty will also make this the most rewarding once completed. Thanks for posting thought provoking and action oriented concepts. Not only does this take serious time and thought but sitting in the car coming out of the gym this morning my brain started coming up with more ideas for it. That makes the process so much more fun.

    • Robyn says:

      I suspect, Ryan, that you are what makes the process more fun! You give it attention and that’s what makes it meaningful. Here’s to an uber satisfying 2018 for all of us!

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