Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

December 30, 2013

One Little Word® 2014

Make your word visible: Order your own word from recycled matericals created by artist Colleen Attara here

My One Little Word for 2014 is thrive.

This year, more than any other I can remember, I’m starting off the year with questions. What does it mean for me to thrive? What does it look like? What does it fee like? Are there areas in which I’m already thriving? What’s realistic vs. visions of what I have in my head of what it means to thrive?

Open was an awesome word for me last year. It was a touchstone as I navigated my way through growing pains and man oh man did it work in a million different ways I could not have imagined when I started 2013. More often than not when faced with a decision, I chose to open more rather than closing off which was my number one intention last year. That said, I feel like I’ve been spinning in circles a lot this past year. I’ve been reacting vs. being proactive and have been dealing with a variety of issues related to stress and growth (totally all part of my own life journey).

To me thriving is optimal living. It’s being present and awake and stepping up to be my best self physically, emotionally, spiritually, creatively and within my relationships.

It’s not a quest for perfection. It’s an opportunity to continue choosing to let go of things outside of my control and to figure out who that best-me-right-now really is.

It will be a whole new journey and I’m here to tell you I welcome it wholeheartedly.

Bring on 2014.

This year I invited my friend Elise Blaha Cripe to film a little video about her experience with One Little Word. One of the reasons I admire Elise is that she is awesome at follow-through and documentation. I’ve loved reading about her experience with her words over the last few years on her blog and she inspires me consistently with her projects and her real-life reflections.

Here’s Elise in her own words:

Thank you Elise for sharing about your own journey here.


Are you considering selecting a word for yourself (or letting one find you)? There’s no right or wrong. The main thing to remember is that this is your word. It’s not for your child, parent, partner, spouse, sister, etc.

And what do you do with this one little word?

You live with it. You invite it into you life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.

SHARE YOUR WORD THE COMMENTS | I’d love to read what word you’ve chosen or are considering for 2014. In the comments feel free to simply leave your word as your comment or write a bit about why you are choosing this word. In a couple days I’ll combine all the words into a single post – super inspiring to see all the words in one place.

If you’re new to the concept of One Little Word, you can read some of my previous posts here: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

ONE LITTLE WORD® 2014 | To help keep your One Little Word® more visible throughout the year I offer a year-long workshop featuring one prompt per month. Read all the details and sign up here. Registration is $5 off until December 31.


  • 101.
    Brianna said…

    I’m going with patience this year.

  • 102.
    Devon said…

    This year, I’m choosing spark because I want to both be inspiring and also be inspired. I like the idea of spark because it contains a bit of surprise, magic, and also could be something small that grows into something larger, which is how I often think of inspiration.

  • 103.
    Margaret said…

    Joy. Focusing on trying to be joyful more often and to choose joy verses a negative emotion in hard situations.

  • 104.
    Sonja said…

    *My heart is my compass* – that’s it! I haven’t searched therfor, it comes to me…

  • 105.
    Nita K. said…

    CHOOSE. For so many reasons, but the main being that I have the power to choose who and what I allow into my life. I can choose to move my reality closer to my vision. There’s a lot of power in this word for me.

  • 106.
    Andrea said…

    My word this year is BRAVE. Last year my word was ADVENTURE and it made me very bold and took me to many places in the world and in myself, but I also found myself saying no to some adventures, because I was not BRAVE enough to go through with them, then face the possible consequences. This year I want to let BRAVE come in and fan the flames lit by adventure. I want to be brave enough to stand up for myself, brave enough to deal with consequences of my actions, and I want to be brave enough to to just be myself without caring what my husband, or my parents, or my children, or my friends think. I just want to be brave enough to be the person I know I am.

  • 107.
    Pam said…


    First time doing OLW…I’ve wanted to for a few years now…I’m excited and committing to it! :-)

    • ….
      Pam said…

      After signing up for Ali’s class, I spent a few days of thinking and feeling about what my word would be. I decided on “lighten” about two weeks ago and it has really been present with me in making a few small but meaningful decisions and actions. Two huge changes were accomplished today…I’ve spent the past three days totally cleaning and clearing out my attic and my scrapbooking room. You should see all the bags/boxes ready for the thrift shop or for garbage night pickup! A herculean task! Now that’s how to “lighten”! My OLW feels “oh so good”! :-)

  • 108.
    Stacy said…

    My word for 2014 is GO.

    I want to GO faster and stronger in my running.
    I want to GO on more adventures with my children, now that they are older (18 and 14).
    I want to GO visit my friends far and wide.
    I want to GO on adventures by myself and become comfortable with my own company.
    I want to overcome my introverted nature and just GO instead of overthinking every single last thing.

  • 109.
    Karen said…

    second year! 2014 = FOSTER

    • ….
      Tammy W. said…

      Excellent choice Karen. This was almost my word for the next year as we just became licensed as foster care parents, but a stronger word presented itself recently. Good luck with fostering you!

  • 110.
    Brenda said…

    connect. Thanks for your continual inspiration.

  • 111.
    Mateja said…

    My word for 2014 is COURAGE.

  • 112.
    Marjorie said…

    Hi Ali,
    I don’t have much money, would it be possible to have a sneak of the class content please?

  • 113.
    J Allen said…

    Goodness! I jumped when I opened your blog and saw the word thrive….this is my word for 2014 too! One of my questions for the past few months has been “how do I thrive in this life”! I don’t want to live a life of just getting by or surviving….I want to thrive!

  • 114.
    Kim said…

    My word for 2014 is simplify.

  • 115.
    Michelle said…


  • 116.
    Jill B said…

    My word is SERVE. It is about figuring out more ways to serve in my career and give to those I love. It is also about self-service-cultivating what does serve me and letting go of what doesn’t.

  • 117.
    Amy said…


  • 118.
    Chrissy said…

    I have been participating in OLW for the past 2 years and looking back my previous two words fit perfectly for each year. This year my word chose me again, STRENGTH, because I will need a lot of strength shaping our new life overseas back in the US after being in Germany for over 2 years waiting to finally being able to return. Thank you Ali for this wonderful idea and thank you Elise xxx

  • 119.
    Tina Mayo said…

    Love …. I need to love more,i feel like i beed to concentrate on the love more and i will stress less

  • 120.
    Amy said…


  • 121.
    tara said…

    my one little word is focus.

    after reading about one little word on elise’s blog this past year, this is my first time actually participating. “focus” found me in the end of november and it hasn’t let me forget it. i don’t want to be distracted and rushed and overcommitted. i want to be focused and relaxed and free. i want to simplify, be all in, and focus on the things that matter most.

  • 122.
    Linda said…


  • 123.
    Julie-Ann said…

    NOURISH, for many of the same reasons your have chosen Thrive, Ali… it’s about optimal living for me too. So excited to be part of OLW for the first time!

    • ….
      Natalie said…

      My word is also Nourish!!! So many meanings. I hope we both find much this year with our word :)

  • 124.
    Tara said…

    My One little word is…GO!

  • 125.
    Meg said…

    My word for 2014 is true.

  • 126.
    Jasmine Ford said…

    SIMPLIFY…I need this in my life more than ever right now!

  • 127.

    my first word in 2012 was “core.” i chose it to help me refocus on the core people and core elements/themes/values of my life, letting the rest (others’ opinions, stress, etc) fall away. i picked up yoga and meditation that year and got pregnant, which further brought my attention to my core. very grounding, very valuable!

    in 2013, i chose “stretch.” i wanted to stretch physically as prepared to birth my baby naturally. i wanted to stretch my marriage to fit a new person in the family. i wanted to stretch my energy, time and patience as a new mom and then a working mom. i wanted to stretch in my career and go for a promotion. i wanted to stretch my ideas of what life could or should look like.

    in 2014, i’ve chosen expand. i like to not define how the word will take shape too much at the start, and let it happen naturally, but some thoughts i do have are: expand my lungs (exercise, meditation practice again, yoga), expand my family (universe willing, i hope to get pregnant in 2014), expand my impact (career focus), expand my mind (new learning, reading, new hobbies). with “core” and having a baby, my world really shrunk down in a beautiful way and i focused on my little family and the key elements of my life. in 2014, i’d like to reopen again and turn outward. move more. think more. grow. expand…

    • ….
      Deborah said…

      This is such a beautiful example of how a word from one year will influence and extend into the years that follow. I love this idea, and am inspired to see how that takes root in my own life! Thanks for sharing the background and details!

  • 128.
    Kathy said…

    I have much to be grateful for but have allowed some negativity to overshadow these blessings, therefore my OLW is POSITIVE. I need POSITIVE changes in my physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing in order to attain the peace and balance I crave in my life. Looking forward to a POSITIVE year!

  • 129.
    Genevieve said…

    My word is nourish. Merriam-Webster gives two definitions: 1) to provide (someone or something) with food and other things that are needed to live, be healthy, etc. and 2) to cause (something) to develop or grow stronger. This feels right to me. I want to concentrate on doing things that nourish me and my family, both physically and mentally/spiritually.

    • ….
      Natalie said…

      I also have chosen Nourish as my word. The definition truly embodies so many things.

  • 130.
    Rebecca said…

    My word this year is ***SHINE*** :)

    • ….
      Ellen Gutierrez said…

      Mine too! SHINE!! from the inside out…SHINE!! We’ll shine together!!

  • 131.
    Sarah said…


  • 132.
    kristina said…

    My word for 2014 is CONTENT.:)

  • 133.
    Deborah said…

    My word this year is MARGIN. I have started out in previous years (2012 being the most memorable) choosing a word, and then finding that there simply wasn’t room in my life to track with it, or to allow it to enter my days and change me. This year, picking up with some very hard work I began in 2013, I’m looking for MARGIN, and for the space within and around me–in all areas: physical, emotional, financial, relational, parental, spiritual, dietary, situational–to engage more fully in my days and to allow change and growth to take root and grow.

    Really looking forward to learning how more MARGIN will give me room to spread my wings in 2014!

  • 134.
    Deb J said…

    My word is Focus.

  • 135.
    brandi said…

    After more uncertainty in choosing than I expected, the word “focus” finally chose me. I’m figuring out more day by day in a tiny little ways, why this was the perfect word for this year as I focus on the present, on the good, on hope, on possibility, and on change. I have such a tendency to borrow tomorrow’s trouble, getting mired of what might not work instead of giving focus to what is and what could be.

  • 136.
    Rebekah said…

    Up! It came to me one evening while rocking/feeding my baby. I have been allowing these quiet moments to think on negative things unfortunately. So this new year I want to be uplifted, look up more, feel positive etc etc. And then once I decided on it, I realized it was your word a few years ago!! Looking forward to joining in on this project again.

  • 137.
    Karen Kellenberger said…

    My word is RENEW, and it found me this year. I’ve only chosen a word one other time, several years ago, so I’m excited to see what this year holds.

  • 138.
    Emily said…


    Over the last few weeks of 2013 this word has been heavy on my heart. It has been showing up in the most perfect places and I truly believe that it has sought me out. I have followed OLW for a few years, but have never chosen one of my own. This year is the year to focus on my life and watch myself grow in a new way.

  • 139.
    crystal moody said…

    This is my fifth year participating:
    2010 SIMPLE 2011 FOCUS 2012 LIGHT 2013 MORE/LESS
    This year my word is HABIT and I’m taking it a step further and set up this project for myself:
    Thanks Ali for all you do and how you inspire so many of us. :)

    • ….
      Marie said…

      Crystal—thanks for inspiring me! My first thought was grow—because there are numerous ways and places I want to do so.
      But a big element that comes to mind with that involves
      turning ‘once in awhile’ things into habits – and/or creating new ones! I loved reading your creative habits post too. The don’t break the chain’ idea is great!!!
      Happy New Year!

  • 140.
    Megan H. said…

    This is my first year doing OLW! I’m excited!

    After struggling with post partum depression, and the after effects, as well as bipolar disorder for the last three years, I finally feel ready to face the world again as my true self. So I picked the word:


    I want to bravely face the world, and all its challenges. I’ve been hiding from my reality for too long. time to be brave and face my world head on!

    • ….
      Heather H. said…

      As you can see (I posted just below you) my word for 2013 was Brave. Absolutely amazing word. Here’s to your 2014. :)

  • 141.
    Heather H. said…

    I haven’t figured out my word yet, but I do want to say this, I did OLW last year and I only completed about half the assignments. However, my word (which was BRAVE last year) was with me ALL THE TIME. It is a totally worthwhile venture, even if you don’t get all the assignments done. I’ll come back when I know what my word is. Last year it found me right at midnight on New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day.

  • 142.
    Ckah said…

    My one little word… I’ve been thinking for a while. And I can’t seem to focus on just one. Id love some help…. Joy, cheer, smile, positivity, save, and push, all the ones that I would love. I’m leaning towards postivity though… Any advice ?

    • ….
      Ckah said…

      Polish is also a major contender

  • 143.
    Tessa said…

    My 2014 word is MORE. I find that I have such high expectations for myself that I feel like I never measure up. So I have decided to try for just a little more- to do better than I did yesterday. To have more family time, spend more time outside, exercise more, be more organized, spend more time on devotionals. To be more intentional about being a part of my life rather than getting so caught up in the chaos of life.

  • 144.
    Lynne Gillis said…

    I’ve been going back and forth between two words: TRUST and TRANSFORM (and who knows – maybe this will be a year when I have two instead of one!). They each speak to me in very different ways.

    TRUST feels like the flip-side of the coin of my 2013 OLW (which, like Ali, was OPEN). Open was such a powerful word for me – and I feel like I’m not done with it – like there is more to experience – and I think the deeper part of that, for me, is developing my ability to trust (in all kinds of different ways).

    TRANSFORM feels like a stretch that kind of began mid-way through 2013 (when I began to train for the Chicago Marathon), but that is by no means complete. I feel like I am on the precipice of an enormous transformation in how I approach the world, how I show up in it, how I see myself, how I see the possibilities that exist for me, how I move beyond the me (and the old stories/tapes) I have been reluctant to leave behind, and how I create or embrace/nurture the tender new parts so that they can flourish. But that marathon training experience was so pivotal, that I know following through on what that started is the absolute right thing for me now.

  • 145.
    Iris said…


  • 146.
    Kai said…

    I have been bouncing back and forth between BALANCE and PEACE. I think PEACE is winning out, and along with seeking peace and striving for peace – inner and outer, balance will come as well.


  • 147.
    Aurelie H said…

    Mine is focus

  • 148.
    Robin Gibson said…

    And it feels good to have it picked! I’ve given it some thought, and tried to ‘listen’ for it, and it didn’t seem to come.
    Until today, just now, in fact! And suddenly I’m SUPER excited for it! Thanks Ali for the inspiration!

  • 149.
    Christine said…

    I can’t decide between heal, patience and enough. I seem to have extremely low patience with those around me and it is something I really want to work on. I’m also a perfectionist about everything so I need to learn that I am enough. What I do is enough. As a mom I am enough. Then there’s heal, which I’m not really sure I’m ready for. My mom died a little over a year ago, and she was my absolute favorite person ever. She could make me feel better, just be being there. I still hurt an unbelievable amount and I’m not really sure how to even begin healing or grieving from that. When she died I had my second daughter who was five weeks old, between the grief and postpartum depression, it’s been a really hard year getting to heal from that too. I’m not really sure how I’ll narrow it down because I need to work on all of this and so much more I feel.

    • ….
      Christine said…


      I thought I could have been writing your post when you talked about patience and perfectionism, especially since my name is Christine also. I struggle with that constantly.

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother, I can only hope she will live through you for your children.


    • ….
      S said…

      How about:
      it implies that you are enough
      it asks you to simply just be yourself, not think about what others are not
      it gives you license to be with your feelings..
      whatever you choose, I hope you practice love and kindness on yourself.

  • 150.
    Dawn said…

    Balance…..In the new year I am going to work on the balancing act of life. Balance work, family, chores with creativity, self-love and relationships. As women we have so many things on our plates and my goal this year is to find balance with all of them. Looking forward to this journey with everyone!

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