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Entering the new year with a mindset for actualisation: 10 reasons why "one word" works

I am Wilderness Retreat: Swimming with wild dolphins

Okay, confession. 

I really thought 2023 would kick 2022’s arse, and in some ways it did. But it also brought a whole new set of challenges. 

Last year, I entered my traditional “one-word” exercise, exhausted, mourning, and ready for a personal change in the new year.

Well, here’s how it went.  

At the beginning of the year, I was determined and dedicated to my one word. I was Swedish death cleaning (extreme spring cleaning), ran a successful retreat, moderated a few events, went to a yoga retreat and met fab people, and even closed a project, the last of my consulting projects, as it was time to transcend that part of my life. 

Mayfly Maven: Ibiza Retreat 2023


I broke my ankle in three places on my birthday in May. 

I spent the summer lying down and barely walking. I had to moderate an event sitting and hiding my crutches, completed client work as focused as I could be and I confess, I did not transcend. It is much harder to transcend when you feel low. That’s the truth. 

Now that I have a second ankle surgery to remove the plate and screws coming in a few weeks, knowing I will spend the beginning of the year in pain and carefully training to walk again is not encouraging. 

Yup, it's not quite what I had planned, but hey, when does anything ever go according to plan? 

Mayfly Maven: Ibiza Retreat 2023 watching magical Es Vedrà

The Magic of One Word

You choose a word that resonates with you, and you live your life by that one word throughout the year. So whenever you have indecision or are at a crossroads, the one word will lead you to the answer.

Why one word? Because…

  1. Resolutions are rarely kept. I have never kept a resolution, not really. And I don’t know many others who have either.

  2. Resolutions try to cover too many aspects of life. You need too many! I want to be healthier, I want to be smarter, I want to give more…

  3. Resolutions are optimistic, rarely realistic. I want to run every day, but not train or put actual habits in place that will help me achieve this…

  4. Resolutions are delayed accountability. We wait until New Year to make changes we likely should have made months ago. Ahem. Speaking for a friend.

  5. Broken resolutions bring bad feelings. Yup, there it is, that onset of guilt and defeats when you don’t achieve those lofty goals, and who wants that?! 

  6. Resolutions are just continuous improvement. Continuous being the keyword here, they are cyclical and therefore it is irrelevant when we start them right?

  7. One word is easier to remember. There is only one word, so seems obvious to state this but it is easier to remember and focus.

  8. Focus is inherent in one word. It can be applied to anything but forces us to hone our activity, energy and action around our core focus that year.

  9. One word is adaptable. You can apply it to any topic or circumstance and it teaches us implicit creativity and innovation.

  10. One word cannot fail. You have no lofty goal to attain, you just have to keep focus and come back to that one word!

Synopsis of my “one word” years

Interestingly, over the years, the words I chose have been a good synopsis of the year I have experienced.

This is not a coincidence. Each year, this exercise has helped me focus my efforts. By using one word as my decision-making facility, I embodied it throughout the year.

Each of them brought me a simple way to stay focused on the intention I had set for that year.

First meeting of the Good Vibes crew 2023
  • 2017 Create - starting my own business and founding Mayfly Maven

  • 2018 Action - putting the business into action and making tough decisions

  • 2019 Energy - living as a nomad and becoming cognisant of my depleting energy

  • 2020 Focus - focusing my efforts during a time when business was lost

  • 2021 Resilience - staying strong and keep creating for my businesses

  • 2022 Abundance - starting to receive good things and attract good people to my life

  • 2023 Transcend - achieving increased peace and happiness

The 2023 one was based on the definition of “Transcend”– a desire to do things better, to have the best reaction of no reaction. To use what I know, to learn more, to rise beyond range or limits, to triumph over negative or restrictive aspects, to overcome, to rise above…

Did I achieve it? Yes, in a lot of ways, but breaking my ankle reminded me it is easy to transcend when we feel good. It is much harder to do when we are feeling sick or tired.

I have worked hard to maintain my meditation habits and not react, even in the most challenging situations.

Art walk with Maria Jose and Birgit

Selecting my word

It is hard to choose one word. We can’t sit down with a dictionary and discover it. 

Several methods have been used over the years!

Sometimes, I have too many goals and too many words to select from and end up discussing them with trusted friends who help me with an outside perspective. That’s how Transcend came into being my one-word last year.

Other times I know that I am hiding from doing something and so “Action” seems obvious. 

If I am inspired by something I have seen, someone with great “Energy” then that is the one word. 

One word is continuous improvement, easier to remember, and focus is inherent. It is adaptable, creative and innovative, and it cannot fail. – Raj Hayer

My desire in choosing my one word is to do it with intention. To choose something that pulls me out of my comfort zone and that allows room for growth.

What we resist, persist. – Carl Jung

So, looking at my past year and what I have been resisting or hiding from can help me uncover the one word. 

Well, this coming year a lot is going on for work but there is a topic that remains at the core:


Gerry and Anette: Anniversary party 2023

What do I mean by Actualise?

To make a reality of what I desire and strive for.

  • Actualise vision as a means to design a life I love.

  • Actualise abundance as a means to freedom of choice.

  • And personally, for me…

  • Actualise health that allows me to put my fitness at the forefront of my life again. 

This also resonates as I will host the inaugural Wayfinders Summit in Toulouse in June 2024.

Not only as a safe place for 200 women to design their own dream lives and learn how to invest in creating wealth that enables them to live that life – but also because another founding team and I will launch the WealthiHer technology designed to help women find the education they need to actualise behaviours and build wealth. 

So these two monumental events and my desire to maintain my health tell me that in 2024, my word is "actualise".

Choose your One Word for 2024

#3DEXCITELive 2023: Moderating the panel

There are now many sites that espouse the value of “One Word” such as One Word 365 “One Word 365 days. A changed life.” or My One Word “Change your life with one word.”

These are my three rules for choosing one word that impacts your life:

1. The word must resonate with you

It doesn’t have to be complex or over the top but make sure it means something to you. I put a lot of thought into my one word by reflecting on where I am now and where I want to be at the end of 2023; this is an excellent place to start.

2. Set parameters around the word

What are the situations you want to change? Where will it make a difference to you? The word actualise can be implemented as I implement my tools. Do they help me actualise wealth of knowledge or finances? Or am I undervaluing myself? Will the situation challenge my ability to take time for health? If so, am I in a position of security that I can say no? 

3. Share the word with your friends and family

This is a surefire way to be held accountable, not slip back into old habits, and adhere to your one word. I find it super frustrating and yet am immensely grateful when my friends reply to my queries merely by saying my one word! It is so powerful, one word, a mirror reinforcing my intention for the year. 

The coming year

In 2024, my word is ACTUALISE.

3DEXCITE Live 2023: Moderating the panel with a broken ankle

Actualising health, wealth and happiness -

Maximising my wealth of knowledge and financial wealth.

Helping others to learn about how to actualise their dream life.

And the ultimate actualisation – maintaining and improving my health!

I get to do the things I love and help others succeed. This is the dream life. 

So, for 2024, if the activity helps me actualise my dream life in new and inspirational ways, then I am all in! 

Ready for 2024?

Me too. 

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