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Since 2011 I have had the practice of choosing OneWord to embody my year. I do this instead of making resolutions, which historically don’t prove effective in the least. I say that I choose a word but in reality, the word chooses me. This has proved to be a useful way for me to move through the year with intention.

This process of receiving my word involves paying attention to words that are showing up repeatedly in my awareness. Usually, one will stand out from all the noise and then I sit with it to confirm. Sitting with it allows me to know if it is truly resonating or not.

Normally, my word shows up around the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. However, this year a word started echoing for me in early October. And actually, when it first started showing up, I dismissed it as my 2021 OneWord thinking it was too early for it to show up.


By Thanksgiving it was so persistent I had to acknowledge I was being invited to accept it as my word. However, I resisted it and I realize that I have a pattern of resisting my word. When OPPORTUNITY was my word, I resisted it so much the Universe had to show it to me in Spanish twice before I could accept it 🤷🏽‍♀️.

This year, my OneWord is HOPE. I was initially reluctant because after the year we had in 2020 it felt like a cliché to say I’m going to have hope this year. Also, hope seemed to suggest that things would get bad and I’d have to cling to hope to make it through.

However, as I sat with it and journaled about it, my idea of hope opened up. Webster’s definition of hope is to cherish a desire with anticipation. To desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment.


I LOVE this idea of hope being tied to desire and expectation. Giving myself permission to desire is something I started working on in 2020. It seems I am being invited to drop into this even more in 2021.

When I completed my Vision Board, my understanding of this year of HOPE expanded even further.

2021 OneWord

In addition to desiring, my 2021 OneWord HOPE is inviting me to dream again. To imagine life on my terms and then hold out the expectation to receive that desire. To believe it’s possible and anticipate its unfolding.

It also appears this year of HOPE may have some adventures for me and an expansion of my world. Not exactly sure what that could look like, but I look forward to seeing how that plays out.

Another layer

I will admit that this is the first year I can recall struggling to connect with my Vision Board. It’s bright and vibrant and feels…well hopeful. But, a week into 2021, I’m having a hard time accessing hope. The events that unfolded in Washington D.C. this week and the ongoing ways whiteness continues to be elevated as right/superior makes it hard to hope.

I suppose, though, that might be the point and another layer to this year for me. Yes to desiring, yes to adventures and to dreaming. And also, yes to the hope that racial equity and justice is possible and IS coming.  

As always, I look forward to seeing how my 2021 OneWord, my year of HOPE plays out. I have no doubt it will be an interesting one.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. How are you feeling about 2021? Do you have a word or mantra to guide your year? Tell me in the comments below or you can message me at makeda(at)makedapennycooke(dot)com.

Here’s to you rising into your greatness

From my heart to yours,


Rise Into YOUR Greatness

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