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My 2020 Focus Word

The word I've chosen to act as my guiding force in the new year.

If you've been following me for a little while, you know that instead of New Year's Resolutions, I like to choose a focus word for the year. This one word acts as my beacon of light for the next 365, in this instance 366 days.

In 2016 I chose STRETCH and in 2017 I chose BLEND. You can read more about them HERE.

In 2018 I chose LISTEN.

In 2019 I chose SHED.

I'm not going to lie, this year I struggled to choose a word. Okay, let me be honest, a word came to me early on, but I kept thinking I could come up with a better one. But this was the word that kept bubbling to the surface, so I knew I needed to go with it.

My 2020 focus word is ***CONTENT***

(The irony is not lost on me... not being content with content!)

Here's what I've learned about myself over the years. I tend to have this philosophy (similar to some of my clients and their belongings - ha!) that if one is good, more must be better. Some examples:

  • In grad school, I did an extra internship, just because I wanted to really make sure I was going into the right field, instead of trusting my gut and focusing on my manageable course load.

  • After I had my son I chose to study and sit for a professional exam just to have another credential under my belt, instead of enjoying the time home with my newborn.

  • Once I decided not to return to work after my maternity leave, I thought that getting a volunteer position would be good, instead, I got three (and started this business).

  • Once I started my professional organizing business I realized I could be doing more to utilize my social work degree so I got office space and a new business model to boot, instead of just making minor tweaks to an already good thing.

  • After my son started Kindergarten, I thought I should return to doing some agency work on a per diem basis and instead got a part-time counseling job two days a week.

Do you notice a pattern here? Yeah, it took me a bit to figure this one out. I need to work on being content in the here and now.

Here's where I almost didn't end up using this word...

I came across the Cambridge English Dictionary definition of CONTENT as pleased with your situation and not hoping for change or improvement. I thought to myself it's not that I don't want to grow and better myself and I don't want to think of myself as settling, but just that there are some years in life where you need to stop and look around and be satisfied with how far you've come and I hadn't been doing that.

Now you might ask, wouldn't "ENOUGH" be a better focus word? I had toyed with using this term, but deep down I know I'm doing enough (and I. Am. Enough.). I just need to feel better about it. And notice how I'm not using the word "HAPPY." Happy has the connotation of joy and delight whereas content has the quiet undertone of satisfaction and agreement, more in line with my personality and what I'm trying to tap into on a regular basis.

Here are some "content" quotes that resonate with me:

"You can be still and still moving. Content even in your discontent."

Rita Gonzalez

"He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature."


"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."

Lao Tzu

And here's a scripture verse for good measure:

Phillippians 4:11 - Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

My aim this year since I just did all that "shedding" last year is to reap the rewards from paring down, minimizing, and streamlining. I need to sit in peaceful contentment without looking for the next thing to do or feeling lacking, inadequate, or guilty. I figure it's a good way to start off the next decade!

And here's my selfie of contentment to remind me of my 2020 vision...

What's your focus word for this new year?

Did it come to you right away or did you have to sit and wrestle with it as I did?

Feel free to share in the comments!

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