Focus: Word of the Year 2013


Every time I choose a new Word of the Year, I am filled with both fear and excitement.

I find it scary because after doing this for over 5 years now (this is my sixth year), I know just how much power that One Word can have in my life. If I embrace it and let it, that is. But, that’s also the reason the whole WOTY thing can be quite exciting. I have been amazed by how my previous WOTYs have helped to shape my life for that year.

That’s why I highly recommend this One Word practice.

And this year, just like the last couple of years, I was faced with choosing between a couple of words for my WOTY. Late last year, I had two words that kept competing for my attention: GROW & FOCUS.

With all the transitions that happened last year, the concept of ‘growth’ was a constant thought that I explored extensively. However,  just like the time the word ‘change’ competed for my attention when I was choosing a WOTY, I kept thinking: “I want change/growth to happen as they come. I don’t want change/growth for the sake of changing or growing.” That’s why I decided that ‘grow’ probably isn’t the right word for me this year.

12/365 (2013) Hand Lettering: Focus

But, the word FOCUS makes me feel uncomfortable (one sign that I’m on to something).

You see, I can't even say the word 'focus' properly. The word doesn't roll off my tongue without a funny accent. That's why my husband can't help but laugh when he hears me say it. I've improved my way of saying it a bit, but it still feels strange every time I say the word out loud.

And yes, I don’t particularly think of myself as a ‘focussed’ person. In fact, with my slash/dash and renaissance approach to life and work, some might even say that I am the definition of the opposite of focus. That’s why a part of me rebelled against the idea of choosing ‘focus’ as my Word of the Year.

Paul Arden, author of the book It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, say that creative people need something to rebel against, so maybe that’s why I ended up choosing FOCUS as this year’s WOTY.

Yes, just like in my previous years, I have chosen my WOTY not because I want that word in my life. I choose my WOTY for what I wish to learn more about… what I hope to challenge me in the coming days, weeks, and months. And, as always, I hope to be able to share with you some of those things that I learn and experience through this year’s WOTY. Now you know why I’ve started calling one of my personal projects this year as #TheFocusProject.

Only one thing has to change for us to have happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.

"Only one thing has to change for us to have happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention."

- Greg Anderson

What about you? Do you have your One Word for the year? What is it and how do you come up with choosing your One Word?

Oh, and for the curious, here are my previous WOTYs:

2012: Possibility

2011: Shine

2010: Connect

2009: Bliss

2008: Today

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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