I Struggled to Find a Focus Word for the New Year, Until I Did This

{I failed to live up to my 2018 Focus Word, so I’m using it again in 2019. If you’d like me to explore that idea of failure even more, comment below.} In case you don’t know what a Focus Word is, it’s an alternative to a New Years Resolution. You can select an inspiring word to set the intention for the year ahead as your Focus Word for the New Year. Throughout the last week of December, everyone I knew on Facebook seemed to be talking about their Focus Word. I saw them sharing uplifting words like…





I started to feel weird because I had absolutely no inspiration.  The words they’d chosen were not a good fit for me, so I decided to focus in on the overall sentiment I carried through much of 2017.

The problem is 2017 was just OK or slightly below average. But with everything going on politically with the presidential election, the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Pennsylvania, to watching friends lose love ones this year – I just felt bad about feeling bad since my problems were nothing in comparison.

Professionally, 2017 for me was just sub par. It was not great. It was not fantastic. Don’t get me wrong I had fun partnering with brands. I covered events here in Atlanta.  I traveled to Orlando and New York for blogging, but it just wasn’t as marvelous as I could have made it.

Joyce Brewer Motivated Mom Tour

I had no one to blame but myself.

At times I didn’t feel qualified, even with my long background in TV and a Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism, I second-guess myself. I know I’m not the only woman who feels this way. One of my business coaches, Angela Stalcup used the analogy of how a man will read a pamphlet on a topic he’s not familiar with – yet he’ll feel capable of pitching it as a business idea. Meanwhile, I woman will feel like she needs to earn another degree, take two e-courses and will read countless books before we feel qualified on a topic.

I let opportunities slip through my hands because I didn’t feel capable – which helped me create my word for the new year and it is…

I Struggled to Find a Focus Word for the New Year, Until I Did This

For the last two years I would say I kind of got into a habit of accepting things that were sub par.

I was in this mode of just getting by. It was NOT in a mode of reaching for the stars or standing out.

I was just going along  – to get along.

I realized this most in the last month or so. Our king sized box spring on my side of the bed broke awhile ago. My husband patched it a few times, but it kept breaking. It had been broken so long that I was used to the way my bed felt with it sinking lower than it should when I went to bed. I kept putting off replacing it because I thought the money could be better spent elsewhere. Somehow I forgot that I had a store credit at Underpriced Furniture store that more than covered the cost of replacing the broken box spring.

When the furniture delivery guys set up our bed with the new box spring and I sat on it for the first time, my body almost didn’t know how to react.

It had become a reflex to sit on the bed and feel it sink a few inches.

Little did I know I was dismissing my needs to sleep comfortably because I wasn’t making myself a priority.

Then I saw Facebook video by actress Jenifer Lewis, who you may know her from her portrayal as a grandmother on ABC’s black-ish. She released a new book, The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir, at the end of 2017.  Lewis was featured in a Jezebel video explaining how she had coped with bipolar disorder earlier in her life until she realized she needed to change her life for the better with medication. Warning: NSFW if you listen to it at work with the volume up.

I’ll paraphrase her quote because she used  a word some may find offensive:

 “You sit in BEEP too long, it stops smelling.

So come the BEEP outta there.”

In other words if you start accepting crap (sub par/basic/low quality), after a while it will stop feeling mediocre. It will feel quite normal. Too normal.

This is exactly what I’m leaving behind in 2017. I’m looking forward to 2018 where my standards, my self-esteem, and my overall well-being reflects that I am Worthy.

By Worthy, I mean:
I Struggled to Find a Focus Word for the New Year, Until I Did This

How to Select a Focus Word for the New Year

  1. Reflect on the previous year. What went well? What went wrong? What would you like to replace or do differently?
  2. Visit the journal or calendar section of stationery and craft stores. Look over their cover designs for inspiration.
  3. Select a word that’s the opposite of any negative sentiments you felt the previous year. Ex. If you felt overweight and out of shape in 2017, choose a word like Airy, Lightweight, Active, Fit or Athletic. A thesaurus can help you find an array of words
  4. Give yourself time to select a Focus Word. Choose a Focus Word for the week, month, quarter or even for the day.

If there is a feeling or a sentiment from the previous year that made you feel less than, weighted down or unmotivated –  choose the opposite as your Focus Word for the New Year.

If you don’t have a Focus Word set by the first of the year, cut yourself some slack. You can set a Focus for the week, month, quarter or just for the day if you really need it.

Here are some helpful goal-setting tips for work at home moms: 3 Daily Goal Setting Tips for Work at Home Moms | 4 Ways Moms Can Make Long-Term Project Goals a Reality

3 Daily Goal Setting Tips for Work at Home Moms


About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. My word is breathe!

  2. I love the concept of choosing focus words instead of the typical resolutions we make for ourselves. We set goals so high for the New Year that we often fail, but with focus words we can actually accomplish things.

  3. I’ve never heard of a Focus Word before. I make goals on a monthly and weekly basis, but i guess I could get into the habit of assigning a word to my overall goals. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Thank you for sharing. It is so easy to fall into no self worth, what a great word. I chose Kindness because I was in a funk last year with lots of things going on in the world and I found when I focused on being kind, I just felt better…. I need to be kinder to myself and others. Here is to a great 2018!

  5. I saw that on the networks and also could not find a suitable word for myself. I chose confident. Best wishes for 2018

  6. Reflecting on the previous is always a good way to find purpose and goals for the coming year. Great post I always love reading positive and uplifting content!

  7. I’ve read about people choosing focus words for the New Year. I thought about trying it, but I am not sure if it is for me. I, too, have not taken on opportunities because I didn’t feel capable.

  8. Man, this has really hit home with me. I don’t have a word and I’m not sure I’ll pick one because I’m not in the right place. But maybe in time. I am going to listen to Jennifer’s video though. It might be just what I need.

  9. I have never chosen a focus word for the year. I know others who do, but it’s not something I’ve ever put much thought into. I typically set goals for the year, but I think I will look at choosing a focus word for the month of February to get started. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing! At times we all feel inadequate, I am glad you found the courage to address the issue and to share with those of us who still occasionally suffer.

  11. Great word! The way that you came around to it as well, resonates deeply with me. I do have a word, but I chose not to share it online, but just with my husband and children, so they can hold me accountable in a way that won’t make me feel irritated. LOL! Happy New Year!

  12. I agree with and can relate to everything you mentioned. Yes, claim it! 2018 is the beginning of feeling worthy and stepping out in faith! You can do it!

  13. Worthy is an excellent choir. I too have been guilty of just getting by and missing opportunities. With that said my word is intentional.

  14. First of all, I love your honesty in regards to 2017. Sure, you didn’t have a bad year, but it wasn’t something you were excited about and thats ok. I think worthy is great. Definitely great inspiration to leave the mediocre behind.

  15. I have never thought about focus words for the New year until I came across your post. I am actually trying to create and achieve my short and long-term goals. I hope 2018 brings much success to you.

  16. I’ve actually never heard of the concept of having a focus word to define the year. This is something interesting to reflect on. I’m used to setting goals and objectives but this is a great idea as well!