One Little Word® for 2020: Cultivate

As every year, I struggle a bit with the start of a brand new year, a brand new slate and the pressure to set goals and resolutions and have it all mapped out on January, 1. 

That usually never happens for me and it’s been taking me a while to come up with my guiding word for the year. I’ve come to the conclusion that setting resolutions and goals is great but there is one more thing that is more important that making quantifiable goals: setting good intentions. I don’t need a list to “check off”, but rather an ongoing motivation to work towards progress and improvement.

So, my word for 2020 is CULTIVATE.

cultivate /ˈkʌltɪveɪt/ (verb)

to foster the growth of something
to improve by labor, care, or study 
to further encourage

For me, to cultivate means to make an intentional and ongoing investment in the things that matter, and that’s something that I can definitely get on board with. So, here are a few things I want to cultivate this year.

I want to cultivate the power of positive thinking. I am generally a ‘glass-half-full’-kinda person, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t get into a negative, non-productive headspace every once in a while. I want to work on actively getting myself out of that, when I recognize what is happening.

I want to cultivate a better time-perception strategy. I said before that I often feel rushed and as if there are not enough hours in the day (to do all the things I want to do), and while I can’t actually get a few extra hours (we all get 24, sad but true!), I am hoping to trick my time-perception to slow down and to make time feel “longer”. I read about this little trick that in order to give yourself the sense that you have more time, you should do more than one activity in an evening. This might sound counterintuitive at first, but I actually believe it’s true. I bounce between things most of the time anyway, but if I dedicate a certain time slot to something (let’s say “read 15 minutes every night” or “go for a 20 min walk”), I have felt as if my evenings were longer. Worth trying more often, IMHO.

I want to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. I mentioned in my list of things I want to do in 2020 that I have some fitness and health goals. I think I am already focusing on a healthy lifestyle, but this is where I want to pick up this guiding word and cultivate good even better habits around hydration, healthy eating, and exercise.

I want to (re-)cultivate my creativity. I definitely go through phases with creativity and I am hoping to dedicate more time again to new creative projects, skills, and ideas this year. 

I want to cultivate better self-advocacy.  I want to work on speaking up and asking for things that I want (and deserve), especially in my work setting. I recently came to the realization that I haven’t been a good advocate for myself, sometimes because I didn’t speak up, sometimes because I didn’t know better. I wonder now if that might have held me back in my career, even though I’ve been at my job for 15 years. I still tend to let other people take over conversations or situations, as if I am somehow inferior to my peers, especially in settings where I am new or inexplicably don’t feel 100% confident in my own knowledge.

And this leads me to my last point.

I want to cultivate my confidence. This sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? I am not sure how I come off to other people, but I’d usually think of myself as a confident person. I have never been afraid to do my own thing or state my opinion, even if it was different from everybody else’s, but I definitely suffer a bit from imposter syndrome at times, and I really want to nip that awful way of thinking and the tendency to self-doubt in the butt.

What’s your word for 2020?

Here are the words I picked in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

  1. Omg this is such a magnificent word ❤️ And I would also like to learn how to do this—to stand up for myself more often, especially in work situations like you mention here, too.

    And also I need to cultivate better eating habits in general.

    My word is “bend” because I feel like 2020 is going to present a lot of new changes and challenges that I need to learn to roll with ❤️😊

  2. I love “cultivate” and the meaning behind it!!! I need to adopt this, especially in the positive thinking region. I’m usually a very positive person but can get in a pretty negative headspace, especially in my current work sitting, which obviously isn’t helpful to anybody. I’m in!

  3. That is a great word since it applies to so many facets of your life! I don’t have a word picked out for 2020. I haven’t really done the one word thing as I prefer lists of goals that I can check off/monitor. I have a harder time with abstract concepts that aren’t easy to ‘track’! But I can definitely see the benefit of selecting a word!

  4. I love this word and can see how much potential it has. It actually crossed my mind a couple of times now too when looking for one. I can see myself picking it one of those years. I do not think it sounds dramatic to cultivate confidence. Let me know how you tackle that one I am looking for ways myself. Enjoy your word!

  5. You’ve chosen a great word and I like how you’ve expanded on each point you are looking to address.
    That time perception strategy sounds really good and I’m going to try it!
    Wishing you all the best with your OLW and I don’t for one moment think the last point sounds dramatic. It is something I need to work on as well and I want to say thank you for the reminder.

  6. I love this word and how you’re looking to incorporate it into your year! I feel like I can relate to you on so many of these points… <3 How has keeping up with this theme word been with the shelter-in-place in effect? Do you do Molly's HoCo to find your word or is it a different process you use? I just realized I don't think I picked a word for 2020! First time in 5-6 years… GASP. XD

    And I love discovering that you've been blogging all this time (I fell off the wagon quite some time ago)! How did I miss that? Love your soul!

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