The 2021 ONE WORD Challenge

As we say goodbye to 2020 and begin a new year, I invite you, my friends and colleagues, to accept my ONE WORD Challenge! That means choosing a single word as your focus for the year and, most importantly, “going public” with your commitment.

In their book, “One Word That Will Change Your Life,” authors Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon claim that, each year, there’s a word meant for you and when you find it, live it, and share it, your life will become more rewarding  than ever. I’ve followed their advice for the last eight years and my annual words have provided a sense of direction that has led to significant learning and tangible results. There’s something very powerful about being laser focused and intentional about how I want to show up and live my life!

Here’s a high level summary of how to realize the power of ONE WORD in your life:

  1. Look In: Prepare your heart by reflecting on what’s most important to you.
  2. Look Up: Discover your word by listening for a single word that sticks with you. It might be a character trait, a discipline, a person, a spiritual focus, an attribute, or a value.
  3. Look Out: Live your word by finding ways to intentionally focus on it and share it with others.

During much of this past year, the media’s attention and our own thoughts and conversations centered around the things that we needed to do to remain safe and secure during the pandemic. Another important, but often overlooked, consideration is the question, “How do I want to be during this unique time in history?” Being intentional about what you want to honor in your life and how you want to be will help you make tough decisions and take authentic actions in response to this ongoing crisis.

So … are you willing to accept this ONE WORD Challenge and to choose a single word to help guide you on your journey through 2021? I certainly hope so! I’ll share my word in the comments section on or after January 1 and I highly encourage you to do the same.


  1. I know it’s not January 1st yet, but it’s close enough, but I think I would like to focus on the word “help” for the One Word Challenge. I want to be able to help more people, in whatever ways they need help, but also ask for help when I need it as well.

  2. I will join in the fun and say my ONE WORD for 2021 will be “Clarity”. Just as we all hope 2021 is the light at the end of the 2020 tunnel, I will focus on making sure ‘my why’ has clarity for everyone around me to see.

  3. I love this, Jeff! I have also chosen a word the past few years to focus on, meditate with and to manifest in my plans for the year. This year my ONE WORD is “Power”. I want to focus on the things that I have the POWER to control – my attitude, my thoughts, my actions, my time .. the list goes on and on. 🙂 “Power” also reminds me of how unstoppable we are – especially as a community!

    1. Thanks Susan! That brings to mind one of my favorite quotes: “The root of joy is gratitude. It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” – David Steindl-Rast

  4. My word for the year is “flexible”. I am striving to throw away the rule book (not really, but a little bit) and go with what each day brings and allowing myself to really grow and question what is best in whatever situation I am in.

  5. My word is PIVOT. It seems that my whole year involved that word, primarily at the leadership level, asking teams and hospitals to pivot… around new protocols, new restrictions, new demands and most everyone, including myself, have pivoted successfully, multiple times, during very stressful situations. It occurred to me that I can apply the same word to the things I want to improve or change at a personal level and ask or challenge myself to pivot on things unrelated to work.

  6. Insight. Being relatively new to the field and especially new to Suveto, understanding my own goals and aspirations as well as what I would like from my career is still an abstract concept. I would like to use this year to reflect on and develop insight into what my impact should be on the world of veterinary medicine and on those I work with.

  7. My word for this upcoming year is ‘Trust’. I’ve realized in clinic that trusting your own skills and being able to trust your ability to make decisions makes a huge difference in how you carry yourself and how others see you, as well as your ability to make decisions. I also think after this past year that trusting that situations will work out is very important self-health skill. I have a tendency to stress out over things that I may not be able to control, so this year I want to focus on trusting that things will happen the way they are meant to.

  8. I’ve changed my word since I was first asked…but I’ve chosen CHOICE. I find myself thinking daily, “I have a choice here…”. It is a great reminder that I am not a victim of my circumstances, my moods, or another person’s behavior and that I am in control of myself, my health, my responses, my time, and what happens in the next moment.

  9. My word for the year is “healthy”. At the beginning of the pandemic, I found myself struggling with my physical fitness and lifestyle. I have made it a goal to eat more cleanly and stay physically active/fit. My Golden Retriever has been a great running partner so far. I have found improving my physical fitness has only helped with my mental well-being. “To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

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