My feelings toward New Year’s resolutions are similar to how Adam Grant, a professor of management and psychology at Harvard, feels about meditation. That is, I’ve tried and tried to get into them—no soda! daily positive affirmations! get up at 4:30 a.m. like Tim Cook!—and eventually my mind and body just putter out and say in unison, Not gonna happen. Sorry. Access denied.
And then Ann Shoket, former editor-in-chief of Seventeen, swooped in and changed everything. When I worked for her as an associate editor, she told the staff to think of one word that we wanted to define our year ahead—hers, I think, during that holiday season, was going to be “brave.” It lit a fire under the staff and consumed our conversations for weeks, what should ours be? It was actually fun to think about—and more importantly, it seemed manageable. We didn’t have to end every day in January feeling guilty for our lack of going to the gym—we could embody our word of the year through acts big or small, however we wanted.
And so, as 2015 comes to a close, I ask you: What word will define your 2016? Maybe 2015 was a year of big change, and now you want to be excellent at a job that isn’t so new anymore, or a side hustle that is ready to be taken to the next level. Or maybe you were all go, go, go this year, and 2016 is going to be the year of self-care.
Below, the team at Levo shared their 2016 Words of the Year to get you started. Get inspired and tweet yours to Levo with the hashtag #WordofTheYear!
Authenticity. “Continue to learn more about yourself and align your life and leadership with your true self—that is what living in your truth is and where your greatest energy emanates from.” —Caroline Ghosn, founder and CEO
Create. “I’m making 2016 the year I bring my ideas to life and I cannot wait!” —Jenny Groza, senior producer
Connect. “Because it is the key to it all—career, family, friends.” —Shannon King, chief operating officer
Devoted. “In the past year I’ve done a lot of work on figuring out how I want to show up in the world—with my career, my energy, and my relationships. 2016 is the year I root deeply into all those desires and commit myself to creating that magic in my life. Epic devotion.” —Maxie McCoy, curriculum and talent consultant
Endurance. “I’d like to have better endurance when it comes to both my personal and professional lives. It’s important to endure the ups and downs of life and to remain positive. I have a tendency to get discouraged quickly when faced with obstacles, which causes stress. But by redirecting my energy on enduring and weathering situations, I’ll be able to see them through to the other side. Solutions don’t always appear in my time, but in God’s time and according to His plan. I have to endure until a resolution, the right resolution, presents itself and I’m able to take the right step.” —Amy Elisa Jackson, director of partnerships & social
Focus. “I selected this word because I want to focus on what’s important to me in 2016. My goal is to try and cut out the other noise and really focus on my goals in both my personal and professional life.” —Ellen Lorenzo-Rojas, senior director of business development
Gratitude. “I’ve read several articles lately about how you can physically rewire your brain to create more happiness for yourself, and the main way to do this is by approaching all situations with gratitude and positivity. As someone who is a bit high strung and a-type, I have a tendency to get unnecessarily worked up about things – and I have a feeling this is just a result of years of practicing that behavior! My goal for 2016 is to find gratitude in all situations, which will hopefully lead to my most happy, productive year yet!” —Lexie Mitchell, director, Local Levo
Hard work. [two words, still counts!] “Recently I realized that I’ve spent my whole life trying to make a dream work for me, when really I should be working for that dream. 2016 is the year of working hard to reach the goals I formerly disregarded because I thought they were unattainable.” —Jille Natalino, marketing designer
Honesty. “Since my Dad passed last December, I learned more and more about who he was to everyone he touched. I realized that he didn’t live a perfect nor pristine life by any mean—despite his gracing Carnegie Hall multiple times; working with Dizzie and Nina and other all-stars. He did lead a passionate and truthfully honest life, however. And he touched SO MANY humans on a level I had no idea about until after he passed—the stories which I learned about afterward which inspired me on a completely different level. When I learned about some of his personal amazing impact, I was humbled (and I hoped at that time) that I could also live a life of grace, passion, dedication, and provide an environment of succor to those around me as he did—without bragging or boasting. Giving is where it’s at. Period. Living an honest (passionate) life is where it’s AT.” —Alexandra Dowling, assistant to the co-founder and CEO
Hopeful. “Knowing that there is hope can really get you through anything, and that’s the attitude I want to bring with me into 2016.” —Erica Murphy, editor, career advice
Light. “2015 challenged my personal strength in ways I was not expecting. I’ve never been much of a yoga person, but I found myself going back to this one studio week after week because it began to feel so healing. Every time, I’d unfurl my mat right underneath this skylight, and as I practiced, I’d stare up at the bright blue San Francisco sky, which filled me up with strength. In dark times, the sun always rises. You just have to show up for it. I also like the idea of ‘light’ in terms of not sweating the small stuff, not carrying around baggage. When little, day-to-day frustrations try to get in your way, brush ’em off your shoulders. Light, grateful, positive—that’s my plan for 2016!” —Devin Tomb, deputy editor
Lovely. “It’s the inner aspiring British person in me but I think it’s a little more creative than ‘nice job.’ I also just really enjoy awesome sauce. It is so silly, and yet conveys so much and is now a part of the dictionary which cracks me up.” —Meredith Lepore, editor-at-large
Mapping. “This year I want to spend time intentionally mapping out concepts and domains I’ve spent the last few years exploring (and will continue exploring). I also want to discover one new way to asynchronously communicate with others.” —Matt Nicole, product director
Opportunity. “Last year was a big year of transitions for me—graduating college, moving to NYC, and settling into my first job, apartment, etc. I look forward to the next year as the chance for me to dig deeper into myself—to seek out and make the most of the opportunities that surround me. I want to enter the new year with the mindset that opportunity may be around me, but that it’s up for me to make the most of it.” —Emily Drewry, marketing associate
Patience. “I’m impatient with myself. When I cant figure something out, when I take longer than expected, when I cant find the right words to express a thought, when i cant muster the courage to do something…my impatience drives me away from embracing moments for what they are. To myself: Be patient, take your time and let go.” —Zainab Ebrahimi, front-end web developer
Preparedness. “2015 was a big year of change—our family grew and I took on a new job, among other things. It felt like the scope of my life work more than doubled in size and I have finally realized that there is no balance or managing or control—it’s a day-to-day adventure. So in 2016, I am committed to not trying to manage or balance—I’m aiming to enjoy myself. And I’ve found, the best way to enjoy an adventure rather than be overwhelmed, is to have a plan for the things you know are coming—whether it’s the inevitable stomach bug at home, our annual campaigns at work, or even just the nights we know we’re not going to want to follow our meal plan.” —Julia Gilfillan, VP, member development
Reflective. “It seems like there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. But what really should be prioritized and what can I stop doing to free up some time? That’s what I will be asking myself this year.” —Kathleen Harris, VP, content development
Sharpen. “It’s a reference to the classic ‘Sharpen your saw’ story. I’m sharpening my skills, both professionally (learning ways to be more productive) and personally (learning faster/better cooking techniques).” —David Butler, director of software engineering
Social. “Social defines my role, my new company, my passion, and my side hustle. It represents who I am as a person and how I interact with the world. It’s opened doors for me and introduced me to some of the most amazing people, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in 2016.” —Helena Hounsel, social media consultant
Vitality. “May I have it and surround myself with others who do.” —Caroline Gray, multimedia & education manager
Zestful. “I’m looking towards 2016 with wide-eyes and an abundance of excitement/energy. With travel plans to fill up my passport, feeling my stride professionally and a general excitement for friends and family as they have received exciting news/life events, I’m feeling alive!” —Eva Valerio, manager, customer acquisition
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images