One Little Word® 2021 | Heart

Since 2006 I've been choosing a single word to focus on over the course the 12 months from January through December. I call it  One Little Word®. It's a personal growth project that uses memory keeping as the vehicle to help us live with intention. 

My past words have included: 

  • Play
  • Peace
  • Vitality
  • Nurture
  • Story
  • Light
  • Up
  • Open
  • Thrive
  • Give
  • Whole
  • Connect
  • Space
  • Habit
  • Less

For 2021 I'm going to focus on the word heart

To be honest I'm not sure exactly why heart is my word this year. Some years I have very specific intentions that I want to focus on and other years it's more loose. Going into 2021 I'm honestly not sure what I want to focus on (doing the January prompt in the classroom always helps me solidify my intentions) but what I know for sure is that I want to go into it with an open heart. "Open" was my word in 2013 and it is one of the ones that was most meaningful to me and I love it as a companion word to heart this year. Another of my most favorite words was "whole" - that one can also play a part in my journey with heart as in "whole-hearted."

I made a new Pinterest board and saved a few quotes that also relate to things I'd like to think about and consider in 2021. I definitely also love that I can continue to walk a little more with my 2020 word "less" too. 

You're invited to join me in choosing word and working to make it visible in your own life in 2021. 

JOIN ME IN MAKING OUR WORDS VISIBLE IN THE ONE LITTLE WORD® WORKSHOP

Since 2011 I've been offering a One Little Word® online workshop that's goal is to help you stay connected to your word throughout the year through monthly prompts that invite you to document pieces of your journey with your word. It's not complicated and it doesn't take a lot of time but it's the documentation and community piece that helps many people (including me) stay connected with our words thorough the year. Each month you receive an email reminder to head back to the classroom for some sort of creative prompt/writing reflection. 

For the 10th Anniversary celebration year I've made some changes to the workshop that you can read about here

You can read all the details about this workshop and sign up here. You can also watch a video walkthrough of my past album projects here to get an idea of past prompts. Registration is $5 off until December 31, 2020

I've also created a selection of products to help you document and support your journey with your word. Check those out here

SHARE YOUR WORD IN THE COMMENTS

I’d love to read what word you’ve chosen or are considering or have decided on for 2021. In the comments feel free to simply leave your word as your comment or write a bit about why you are choosing this word. Next week I’ll combine all the words into a single post – it's become tradition and 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:  20072008200920102011201220132014201520162017 and 2018

Download the word art here to share your word for 2021. 

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141 thoughts

  1. iScrap says…
    12/29/2020

    This year my word was "today" and it was perfect for 2020. I considered keeping it again because it was so good for me, but another word kept popping up in my thoughts and I have chosen "mindful" for 2021. I want to be more aware of how I spend my time, my thoughts and my choices in general so that I'm spending more time and effort on things that make me happy and bring me contentment.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. prueger6 says…
    12/29/2020

    Embrace

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. mrsmahersbar says…
    12/29/2020

    My word this year is Be. I’m also not 100% sure what my intentions are for it but 2020 afforded me many opportunities to create and uphold boundaries that I both couldn’t and wouldn’t make exceptions for, speak my truth without fear or shame and it forced me to be in conflict with others as a result of having to be true to myself - something that is normally very difficult for me and that I avoid at all costs. I want to ride the wave of this momentum around having the courage to be exactly who I am unapologetically and continue to get both comfortable and uncomfortable. So many people I know never apologize for who they are or why they do things and I’d like to try my hand at just being in order to become instead of always trying to be a better more improved version of myself. I read a quote not too long ago that when you are constantly trying to become or improve, you are becoming more of what others expect you to be and you are never truly being yourself. So this year, I want to uncover who I am by just being.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. TORRSMOM says…
      12/29/2020

      Be was my word for 2020. It was fulfilling and such an "open" word to choose, as you can go in many directions. I'm actually kind of sad to let it go and am tempted to keep it for 2021, as nothing as has grabbed me yet. Good luck. I'm sure it will "be" good to you as well.

  4. paperjunkie says…
    12/29/2020

    My word for 2021 is Beyond.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. joeynumber41 says…
    12/29/2020

    Nourish

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. tammyeberhard says…
    12/29/2020

    my word for 2021 will be "whole"
    looking forward to joining this workshop once again
    I've been choosing a word since 2011
    my words have been awake, build, story/refresh, heart, strong, bright, rise, light, peace, and joy
    I've loved each year for lots of different reasons but heart & strong were my favs
    still a work in progress with the word joy

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. lbvancura says…
    12/29/2020

    My word is heart also. Companion words connection and whole. The word love was what really drew me in for OLW this year but I didn’t want it to be that. My kids are in their teenage years with one only having two years until he graduates. I want to spend more time with them, get to know their young adult personalities deeper. I want to focus on relationships with my kids, my husband and myself. I don’t usually do words that so closely relate to emotions but this just seems right this year.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      12/29/2020

      Love this and I completely understand.

  8. KittenCreates says…
    12/29/2020

    My One Little Word is SURVIVE. I have shared this with some people who think it's a negative word, but I don't see it as negative at all. I am challenged each day with severe asthma & live in NE Ohio where even the doctors tell me there's only so much they can do for me & that I should move back to Southern CA. Easier said than done. I'm now 68 years old, and as we managed to get through 2020, my greatest hope for the new year is to SURVIVE. This is my first year actually documenting my word & I'm looking forward to the classes each month.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. dpowersfabian says…
      12/29/2020

      I am 64 living in NE Ohio. I would love to connect. My word last year for 2020 was "accept." OH MY! Who knew how much that word would play into my world all year long.

  9. LynneGillis says…
    12/29/2020

    This year (2020) my word was "Home" and it certainly manifested itself in ways I never imagined. Quarantining with the pandemic. And then in October, we bought a little cottage in Union Pier, MI (totally unexpectedly - it came on the market and we pounced on it), which has always been our ultimate happy place.

    For 2021, I am choosing the word "Simplify". Or rather, I think the word chose me. It kept floating up in my thoughts for months, and after tossing around a few other options, I kept coming back to this one. If there is one thing that 2020 has taught me, it's about what's important... and where I tend to over-complicate things (either through thinking or just because there is too much clutter - mental and physical - in my way to see clearly). So here is to devoting 2021 to simplifying - in all the different ways that may happen.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. jdmorgan5 says…
      01/05/2021

      That is my word too. I have a huge desire to simplify so much in my life, from physical clutter to mental clutter. I also want to spend less time on social media and away from screens in general. Best of luck to you with your OLW journey.

    2. LynneGillis says…
      01/06/2021

      jdmorgan5 - I hear you! There are so many places where simplifying can happen... starting first in my little beehive of a mind that is constantly over-thinking things! LOL! Good luck with your word - looking forward to seeing how it evolves for both of us!

  10. sammar says…
    12/29/2020

    Find. I want to find many new and old things in 2021!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Becky_C says…
    12/29/2020

    My word for 2021 is Hope. I want to have hope for a better, calmer world.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. shelbelle says…
    12/29/2020

    My word for the year is HEALTH. I'm already imagining the myriad ways I can apply it to my life (physical, mental, emotional, financial, etc.) and am excited to see how it plays out.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Jmkane25 says…
    12/29/2020

    My 2021 word is Home. I'm happy and excited about our new chapter in my/our old/new home :) A companion word will be tend. Bring on a new OLW! This is my most favorite project of the year. Simply the best!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Hoguec says…
    12/29/2020

    Start

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. arlyna says…
    12/29/2020

    My word for 2021 is thrive because this has several ways to which I can be accountable for. I’ve survived 2020 on different aspects of my life so now I want to be able to thrive. Strangely I forgot to have a word for 2020 because we were caught off-guard with the pandemic that hit us in China in January. Though 2020’s word “found me” in November - gratitude - which has actually been with me throughout the year, the word just somehow did not become clear until late.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. arlyna says…
    12/29/2020

    My word for 2021 is thrive because this has several ways to which I can be accountable for. I’ve survived 2020 on different aspects of my life so now I want to be able to thrive. Strangely I forgot to have a word for 2020 because we were caught off-guard with the pandemic that hit us in China in January. Though 2020’s word “found me” in November - gratitude - which has actually been with me throughout the year, the word just somehow did not become clear until late.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. ucialum85 says…
    12/29/2020

    My word is CREATE. After the difficult year we all survived, I am actively going to actively CREATE a life I LOVE.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. jenwozab says…
      12/30/2020

      My word was CREATE this year (2020). I wanted to find more creativity but create took a new direction for me in March. I reconnected with my sister and started helping her with childcare. She is a front-line worker and was called in overtime. As hard as this year has been on our family, I got to create new relationships with my niece and nephew, reconnect with family, and really think about the life I wanted to create for myself. I know 2020 has been hard on everyone but I can truly say it was a good year for me. To keep the momentum of "creating the life I want" my word for 2021 is BRAVE. It's time for me to conquer some fears and put myself out there!

  18. Beejay22 says…
    12/29/2020

    LESS I definitely need less physical stuff less social media less watching tv I'm hoping to continue on changing HABITS which was my word this year.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. ginaegg says…
    12/29/2020

    When I landed on my "reason why" for December Daily this year, it immediately hit me that my reason why is also going to be my OLW for 2021. I have chosen SAVOR.
    This is my oldest child's senior year of high school. She will graduate in May and go to college in August. These are her last months at home. Also in August 2021, my second child will be starting her senior year of high school. I have entered the phase of my life where I'm sending my chicks out of the nest - and I want to SAVOR these days I have left with them.

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. tbrucato says…
    12/29/2020

    My word for 2021 is “intention”. My word for 2020 was “depth” and could not have resonated more with the year that was 2020. Moving forward, I want to be intentional in my choices, my words and my actions. Excited to explore this more in the workshop!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. sherry_eckblad says…
    12/29/2020

    I have never done OLW although I have always wanted to. As a senior on a fixed income I have to choose which projects I do carefully and truthfully no word has ever come to me until this year...just today the word BE popped into my brain and I can't get rid of it so I may be playing along silently with all of you. Thanks ALI for everything you do for this community of fellow crafters.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Maxpuppy says…
      01/01/2021

      My word in 2020 was Pause (could I have picked a more perfect word?) and each month I created a simple 8x8 scrapbook page showing how I/we had paused that month. As great as Ali's classes are, you can have your word front and centre of your life without taking her class.

  22. JeanetteE says…
    12/29/2020

    My word will be Grace

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. FamilyScrapper says…
    12/29/2020

    Trust. I have a lot of changes coming in the next year and I need to trust God that everything is going to work out.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. riikka says…
    12/29/2020

    My word for 2021 is REST, with the companion word PLAY.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Nicolekarenschuster says…
    12/29/2020

    my word this year is 'embrace'. this is the first year EVER (and I've been doing this for 11 ish years) that a word chose me. and to be honest, that is a little more than a little bit scary. but, that being said, I am tentatively looking forward to seeing where this word takes me. and if nothing else, when everything in my world feels out of my control, I get to choose to 'embrace' the journey. so much love for this project and especially to you, Ali, for your commitment to sharing it with all of us. thanks.

    Reply 0 Replies

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