Can one word transform your family in 2014?

Intention Word Cloud

I’ve had a tradition for the last 10 years or so, of posting a sheet of posterboard on my wall and having family and friends write their New Year “intentions” on it.  I’ve kept these in my hall closet over the years and it’s fun to pull them out every now and then to remember what’s important to all of us and to see how much we’ve moved forward in fulfilling our intentions over the years. The sheets are full of heartfelt intentions such as, “reconnect with old friends,” “love more, judge less,” “more fun and games,” and “stop my little brother from biting me.”

This year I was introduced to a new ritual and thought I would give it a try. The goal is to reduce your intention for the year into just one word.

That’s it. One. Word.

The more I consider it, the more I see the power that can be packed into just one word.  I see how less can be more.  Because the process of honing your intention into one word brings clarity and focus and cuts to the core of the transformation you seek for the new year.

My Word for 2014 is “play.”  I want to be more intentional about playing and having fun as a family.  This seems to require more effort as the kids get older.  Gone are the days of singing silly songs and dancing around…that just doesn’t work with most teenagers!  But I did drag out the old Monopoly game on New Year’s Eve and we had a blast.  In fact we were so engrossed in the game that we almost missed the ball drop in Times Square at midnight. (In all my years of playing Monopoly I’ve never witnessed what happened…the game ended with my younger son winning because he owned every piece of property on the board!)

I invite you to get clear on your intention for family life in 2014 by declaring your own Word of the Year…and here are some word ideas to get you started.  I made the word cloud below based on words that frequently come up as parents express their wishes and dreams to me.  Check it out and see if one of these words jumps off the page and screams, “I’m the one!”

If you don’t find your word above, then use the process below to help you get clear on your Word of the Year and to help keep it alive and doing its work to transform throughout the year.

Can just one word transform your family?  I invite you to try it and see!


  1. Make a list of at least 8-10 words that come to mind as you consider what you would like to see happen in your family for 2014.  It may help to visualize ideal family interactions.  What words come up as you visualize?
  2. Read each word out loud and notice what happens in your body when you hear the word. Which one feels “right” in your body?  Try to let go of picking the perfect word and let the word “pick” you.
  3. If you still don’t have an “a-ha” moment where your word picks you, then narrow your list down to 3 words and just pick one.  It’s my belief that if you stay engaged, focused, and work toward transformation with any one of the words on your list, you will actually move forward with all of them.
  4. Write your Word for 2014 on a piece of paper and put it where you will see it every day.  Let it be a reminder of where you want to place your attention and your efforts.
  5. Reflect each night on specific ways you have honored your Word.


  1. Play! Right on. Play is the Hindu approach to life, and suggests that life is a game of hide n’ seek. Maybe some adults need help relearning how to play, free of the bounds of competition, roles, and (almost all) rules, so that they can be spontaneous.

    Play is a beautiful way to reconnect with ourselves and hence with others. I love it Sherri !!!

  2. Sherri Boles-Rogers says:

    “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
    Maybe I’ll get a little younger this year???
    Thanks for your comment James. It does feel like a “relearning” for me. I know I used to play so naturally, but now I really have to make it an intention. Perhaps the more I intend it, the more natural it will become again? Hope so!

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