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I’m Not Choosing a Word for 2017

This has happened before.

At some point late in the year, I’m reminded of the One Little Word project, and I struggle to remember my choice. I start off with so much optimism about how this word will shape my year, but then life gets in the way.

My enthusiasm fizzles out and eventually, I forget. In October of 2016 I had to go look at the plastic word I had custom-made to remember. My word was trust and I fondly reflected on doing the inner work to live that in the first quarter of 2016.

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe you didn’t completely forget, but I know how life is. It’s not consistent throughout the year and our priorities shift. What you need most in January is likely not what you need most in October, but I have an idea.

I have an idea that just might prevent disconnection from my chosen word, an idea that will better align with my needs over the course of a year. I’m going to opt-out of choosing one word.

I have an idea that just might prevent disconnection from my chosen word, an idea that will better align with my needs over the course of a year. I'm going to opt-out of choosing one word.

I’m Choosing 4 Words in 2017

I’ve refreshed my scrapbooking hobby every season for several years, and now I’m applying this mindset to the rest of my self-care. We naturally do this in many domains, but the community call has always been to choose one guidepost for personal growth.

Instead, each season I will select a new word to guide my inner work. I’ll give myself permission to choose the same word if I’m not yet “done” with it, but also claim equal permission to start fresh and tackle a new challenge.

By pausing each season to choose a new word that best reflects what’s exciting and meaningful to me, I’ll be more likely to follow through on exploring it creatively and take actions to make that word visible in my life. Perhaps most importantly, I’ll also release the guilt I feel over not seeing it through to the end.

In fact, I’ve already started experimenting with this concept, and my word for fall 2016 chose me: nourish. As we turned to the cooler months, I craved substance and meaning. The fall season, for me, was about making choices that support the lifestyle I want to live and are flexible enough to shift as I do.

Now that we’ve entered the new year, my word for winter 2017 is practice. Stronger habits for health and happiness require baby steps and repetition until new skills become automatic.

Whether you’ve selected a word for 2017 or not, I want to offer this simple permission to embrace shifting priorities and allow yourself to evolve with the seasons.

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One Little Word 2015

I almost didn’t commit to a word this year. So many words bubbled up for me (deep and joy, most notably) that I considered simply being more open to my intuition and pivoting in a new direction when needed.

However, I realized that pivoting on-the-fly is a skill that needs practice and cultivation. I can’t flip a switch and suddenly become more easy-going. (Wouldn’t that be great, though?)

I went back to the drawing board. Then, on one long car ride in the dark I started leafing through words on an imaginary rolodex. This one? No. This one? No. This one? Eh, maybe. This one? Yes, that’s it.

When I came to grow, I almost dismissed it. It seemed too simple, not deep or profound enough. Space was so lofty, how could I “regress” to something like grow?

This unease drew me in. Perhaps I was being dismissive because I was nervous, afraid that it might take effort to, you know… grow.

I knew that intentional effort is what I most needed after a year of space-creating. Deep had resonated so much because I feel like I need to grow roots in many ways. But, it didn’t capture the evolution (and elevation) into greater joy I also want to experience.

Grow, however, seemed just perfect in that spot-on and totally uncomfortable way.

Growth is beautiful. Growth is messy.

Growing is as much about active, energy-consuming blossoming as it is about patient, energy-restoring rest.


Last year space helped me clear the fields, so that I could plant seeds of possibility. This year I’m eager and ready to nurture growth in myself, my family (No, not pregnant or planning to be!), and my business.

Grow up. This is about personal responsibility and making myself a priority. I can’t deny that it’s related to turning 35. I am in control of how I feel. I limit myself – and my own joy – with excuses.

Grow deeper. This is about feeling connected to people and places – and is definitely a next phase of the work I began last year. I made lots of space-clearing changes to make this more possible in 2015.

Grow intentionally. This is about doing the work to grow my business – and doing it with thoughtfulness and persistence. I need to dig in and get my hands dirty to nurture this next phase into being.

As in the past, I plan to blog throughout the year on topics related to my word. I’m also working on a post related to my memory keeping plans for the year, in which you’ll see how I’m seamlessly incorporating grow into my 2015 album.

One Little Word is a reflective personal project by Ali Edwards. Click here to see more posts about my own words.

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The 2015 Start Fresh Workbook & Planner: What You Need to Know

The next annual Start Fresh event takes place January 7-11, 2015. This is a five-day experience to help you get organized for another year of family photography and life documentation with scrapbooking.

Participants receive a energizing workshop experience plus my newly-revised and expanded 2015 Start Fresh Workbook & Planner. In this post I want to share more about this tool, what sets it apart, and how you can use it to stay excited and on track all year long.

Your BFF for Simple, Productive Scrapbooking

Your BFF* for Simple, Productive Scrapbooking

* Best Friend Forever

The Start Fresh Workbook & Planner is a 75+ page printable PDF tool for memory keepers, your secret weapon for a joyfully productive year. It has also been designed with flexibility in mind, allowing it to be used for more than just scrapbooking!

What’s included?
The 2015 planner includes clearly-labeled sections to be used at varying intervals. From the annual kick start we’ll conduct during Start Fresh to the project planner that can be used anytime you need it, the Workbook & Planner is there to keep you focused. Components include:

  • Annual kick start workbook
  • Seasonal priority prompts
  • Monthly calendar & check-ins
  • Weekly “to do” checklists
  • Daily routine goal-setting
  • Anytime planning pages

Plus, at the Start Fresh event you’ll also receive completed examples and a video that explains how to use each page type.

What’s not included?
This tool does not include daily agenda pages. If you love using an agenda, especially a ringed planner like the Filofax, you’ll love customizing it with the addition of the Start Fresh pages.

What sizes and formats are available?
Our standard edition of the Workbook & Planner is optimized for the US letter (8.5.x11) size, but we have created alternate versions to satisfy a range of users:

  • Compact edition – 5.5×8.5,  prepared for double-sided 8.5×11 printing
  • Southern Hemisphere edition – A4 paper size, season-sensitive
  • Euro edition – A4 paper size, weeks start on Monday

Additionally, each version includes form fill-in fields that allow you to type directly on the planner. You can type and print or simply save the file to your computer.

How is it different from other planners?
Other planners on the market focus on traditional scheduling as well as emphasize memory capture. The Start Fresh Workbook & Planner not only helps you record stories, but provides structure and systems to help you get those stories into your scrapbooks.

Click here to get your 2015 Workbook & Planner.

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Free “Grab & Go” Mini Course | Simplify Your New Year

I so enjoyed last week’s deep dive into the strategy of simplicity with the Simplify Your New Year mini course. (From the looks of the comments sections, it appears many of you did as well!)

This is a busy – oh so busy – time of year. Even though each lesson is short, you may not have been able to really dig into the material. I have created a solution for you!

The “Grab & Go” version of Simplify Your New Year includes a 12.5 minute audio and a one-page printable worksheet. Take it with you and when you’ve got just 15 minutes, spend it with this insightful exercise!

Get a head start on 2015 with the Simplify Your New Year free mini class at Simple Scrapper

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Step 5. Shift the Focus | Simplify Your New Year

The Simplify Your New Year free mini course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path towards memory keeping that feels joyful and easy.

During this time of year, optimism is high. You can see all the successes you’ll build upon to craft a year full of possibility and finished projects.

But maybe you also have that lingering doubt and fear in the back of your mind, for when the starry-eyed honeymoon of the new year wears off.

As we conclude this week’s series, I want you to understand the one small shift that will help you maintain enthusiasm all through the year.

Get a head start on 2015 with the Simplify Your New Year free mini class at Simple Scrapper

There’s something I’ve learned over the years, something that can offer a lightbulb moment for 2015 planning: People don’t change just because it’s possible. People change because it means something to them.

Simplifying, like other changes in life, takes intention and focus. It’s what you focus on that matters most though.

Instead of focusing on the outputs of your efforts, shift the focus to the outcomes. Another way of saying that is to focus on the benefits of simplicity to your life instead of what scrapbooking simply looks like.

Let’s take projects, more broadly, as an example.

Instead of saying that you want to finish more of the projects you start, say that you want to feel more accomplished and satisfied with your leisure time. Instead of saying that you want to stop setting unrealistic expectations for your project, say that you want the process to be more enjoyable from start to finish.

With these meaningful outcomes in mind, you can then work backwards to craft a plan that includes specific action steps to get there. Focusing on what’s important, why this change matters, creates a truly strong foundation on which to build a joyful year of memory keeping.

Leave a comment sharing the most important thing you hope to achieve – in scrapbooking or in life – in 2015.

Get a head start on 2015 with the Simplify Your New Year free mini class at Simple Scrapper

P.S. There won’t be enough time to do everything next year, but I can help you figure out what matters most to you. Together, in Start Fresh, we can craft a meaningful plan for your memory keeping that you’ll be just as excited about next December as you are in January.

Click here to enroll in Start Fresh for just $19.

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