Photograph shows fireworks over a river with the silhouette of a bridge and city in the background.
Photo by Trent Szmolnik

For the past few years, I have been setting a word of the year instead of New Year’s resolutions. In previous years, my word has been hope, joy and patience.

What Is A Word of the Year?

The concept is simple. In place of resolutions, you choose a single word that will help to guide you over the coming year.

Whereas resolutions often comprise of to-do lists and unachievable goals that can soon go out the window, a word of the year is actually easier to stick with.

This is because it gives you an overall focus for the year but allows for flexibility. It’s about taking one day at a time and thinking about the small things you can do to help you achieve more of what you want.

I feel this is particularly important for those of us who live with chronic illness. It allows us to set a broad goal but doesn’t place pressure on us to be doing specific things.

When your health is unpredictable, you need this flexibility. When goals are too rigid and you can’t achieve them due to fluctuations in your health it can be very disheartening.

Setting a word for the year is, therefore, perfect.

Word of the Year Ideas

Choosing a word can come easily for some but feel a little overwhelming for others. It took me a little bit of time to choose my word for this year and if you are finding yourself feeling unsure, don’t worry.

To help inspire you, I have put together a list of words in the image below. There is also a text version of this list at the bottom of the post.

50 word of the year ideas. The complete list is given in text form at the bottom of the post.

When it comes to choosing a word of the year, go with your gut instinct.

If nothing on this list speaks to you, another good way for deciding is to do a brain dump exercise. Write down some ideas and goals you might have for yourself for the coming year and see if you can find a common theme between them.

Reflecting on my Word of the Year for 2018

My word of the year for 2018 was patience. And, boy, did I need that by the bucketload!

As I healed over the course of the year following my stem cell treatment, I was challenged both physically and mentally. Patience became a much-needed ally.

Having my guiding word was so helpful. At times I felt that I was constantly reminding myself to be patient and that I had all the time ahead of me.

Keeping the word patience at the forefront of my mind definitely helped me in my healing. It reminded me that healing takes time and– during the better spells– not to get too ahead of myself.

My Word of the Year for 2019

It took me a little while to settle on a word for 2019. In the end, I have chosen CREATE.

I want to create more.

In the literal sense, I want to create more art and express my creativity (if you’re interested to follow along with this be sure to follow my art Instagram account).

More generally, I want to take steps towards creating the life I want for myself. This encompasses a few different areas of my life but I am keeping my bigger goals open and broad for now.

The smaller steps that will help to achieve this will be through creating space for productivity and doing the things I enjoy.

I am hoping to share more about this as the year progresses.

A Slight Change in Direction For My Blog

To hold myself accountable, I’ve made the decision that I want to change the direction I am taking my blog. I will, of course, still continue to write about health and living as well as possible with chronic illness.

However, it will no longer be the sole focus of my blog. I want to add to this.

If I am being completely honest with myself, recently I’ve fallen out of love with blogging slightly. Although writing about my recovery over this past year has been amazing (I love looking back and seeing my progress), it also felt all-consuming.

Most of the time when I sat down to write, it would be to work on a stem cell diary post. I had little energy left over for writing about other things.

I feel like I need to expand my writing to keep me feeling inspired and motivated. And, I guess I no longer want to be pigeon-holed into the one niche.

With that in mind, I envision sharing posts about my art and I hope to even produce some tutorials along the way. I had thought about starting a second blog for this but, in the end, I’ve decided to simply add to this one.

Rather fittingly, soon you will see a “create” section added to this blog. I understand that not everyone will be interested in this but I hope that it will be a happy addition for many of you.

I have a feeling that I am going to enjoy blogging even more in 2019! Here’s to my year of CREATE.

Will You Be Choosing a Word of the Year?

If you have chosen or are thinking of choosing a word for the year I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What is your word and what are your hopes for the coming year?

Alternatively, if you do something different I’d be interested to hear about your ideas too.

Further reading:

50 word of the year ideas text version:

Balance. Breathe. Calm. Challenge. Change. Comfort. Compassion. Consistency. Courage. Create. Cultivate. Determination. Embrace. Encourage. Enough. Enthusiasm. Evolve. Focus. Gratitude. Grounded. Growth. Heal. Hope. Inspire. Intentional. Joy. Kindness. Love. Mindful. Nurture. Organise.  Passion. Patience. Peace. Persist. Positivity. Present. Purpose. Reflect. Relax. Release. Respect. Routine. Simplify. Slow. Stability. Steady.  Strength. Thrive. Try.


Hello, I'm Donna. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013 and started this blog shortly after. After my health declined significantly the following year, I decided to become my own advocate and searched for answers. It took two years but, in 2016, I finally discovered I had Lyme Disease. On February Stars, I share my personal journey back to better health; discussing what has helped me and the mistakes I've made along the way. I also cover topics on self-improvement, managing symptoms and living life to the fullest with chronic illness.


  1. Last year my word was “Act” but I failed harshly when it came down to it. I thought about trying “Act” again, but I’d rather choose something new.. I actually was thinking about “Create” as well! I want to pick my favorite hobbies up again, I want to pick up NEW hobbies, I want to create writing that can be shared (and rejected even), but most of all, I want to create a lifestyle for me and others to be present in the moment or to be more creative.

    • I am sorry you feel you failed harshly last year. I think create is a great word because it is so open to interpretation, making it a flexible one. I always think the more flexible the word can be, the more likely it is to be a success. Because even if your goals change throughout the year, they can still hopefully align with that overall guiding word. Hope that makes sense. I hope you do pick up those hobbies again and find a way to create more of what you want in your life 🙂

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