What If Special Edition: One word for the New Year.


It’s that time of year, isn’t it? No, Im not talking about the time of year for friends and family, holiday parties and winter break. I’m talking about the time of year for reflecting on this past year and thinking about how the next year will be different. I am talking about the time for New Year’s Resolutions!

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution? Have you ever failed to follow through on it? My guess is that most of us have tried, and failed, to change things up at the beginning of a new year. Research shows that fewer than 10% of us actually follow through on resolutions throughout the new year. That is a pretty high rate of failure!

What If there is a better way to approach doing things differently as we enter the year 2019?

A growing trend over the last few years has seen people picking One Word as their theme for the year instead of making a New Year’s Resolution. In picking One Word for the new year, a person can avoid the feeling of failing to meet a resolution because the One Word functions as an overall theme for the year instead of a goal that can be met or not.

For instance, let’s say a person would like to exercise and eat better in 2019. A New Year’s Resolution could be to go to the gym three times a week and eat more vegetables. As we know, it’s easy to start strong by going to the gym and not eating ice cream for the first two weeks of the year. But then you get sick and you miss two straight workouts. Not only that, but you have a sore throat and cold ice cream feels really good on some tender tonsils. Those two missed workouts turn into four missed workouts and then we are right back where we started…not going to the gym and not eating more vegetables.

What If, instead of a gym and vegetable resolution, we pick the word Health as our One Word for the year? This could encompass working out, eating better, taking care of our mental health, and developing healthy relationships with those around us. By picking a word, we can focus on the overall picture of Health instead of getting bogged down by our failure to hit the gym. “Health” becomes something we are conscious of, a mindset, and not a target that we continually miss.

At our Summer Camp meeting this year, our Afterschool Regional Educators (AREs) each picked a word he or she would like to focus on for this school year. (Another beauty of picking One Word is that it can cover your personal life as well as your professional life!) The words that were chosen were Shine, Sensitivity, Attender, Proactive, Patience, Harmony, Mindful, Memorable, and Momentum. These words describe how we would like to be in working with our afterschool programs around the state and also how we would like to approach our personal life.

I would like to challenge you to not make a New Year’s Resolution for 2019. I am challenging you to pick a word, One Word, that will serve as a relevant theme to your personal life and to your work with students.

What If One Word can change your approach to your life and your work?




Brad Lademann
Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network 

Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.

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