The New Year is not the only time that where we can set goals and objectives but symbolically, at least, it provides us with a fantastic opportunity to move on from that which no longer serves us, in favour of new opportunities to express ourselves. And that is what life is about; expressing ourselves in a way that allows us to make the world a little better for our having been here. To do that, we need to have a focus to help guide us in moments of decision. This year, I have chosen one word to be my focus. My one word for the year is ‘Importance’.

In those valuable moments of decision, I want to ask myself –  ‘What is most important here?’ or ‘Is this important for me?’ The aim is that when I pause to ask myself these questions I will either double down on something which is important or, quickly realise that something does not matter that much to me and drop it.

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With 2020 behind us and a year of experience with this pandemic, it may seem hard to set goals when we don’t know what we will or will not be able to do. But that is just a reminder that life is not all about achieving, attaining, and experiencing big dreams. The real joy in life comes from the small things that we do consistently. When we do important things consistently, we will naturally achieve great outcomes. However, it is the growth we experience as a result of the consistent action which is the real reward. When we take consistent action on something important to us, we change the very way that we view ourselves.

The role of the one focus word

Having one focus word for the year may seem all theory but I will be attempting to put it into action consistently through small positive actions. Some of the ways I will be keeping my focus on importance are discussed below:

1. Connection

one focus word connection

Over the past few years, I have drifted away from the people whom I value most in life. As we get older, our lives can get in the way. This leads to a reduction in the frequency with which we connect however, it does not mean that time cannot be made for regular, quality connection. There are many tools available nowadays to allow for quality connection so there is little excuse. So, this year I will be reaching out regularly to the most important people in my life.

I have always loved nature and getting out into it. As a youngster, we took most of our holidays in the West of Ireland, mainly Kerry. From a young age, we were shown the true beauty of nature. I miss spending some quality time out walking in nature, I am a firm believer that we are at our absolute best when we are connected with nature and I will be aiming to do that more often this year.

Our most important connection is to ourselves. In the past, I have lost sight of the importance of having quality time for myself where I can learn more about who I am and what I want to do next in my life. I find that the more I know about myself, the easier it becomes to make important decisions.

As you can see, each of these forms of connection only requires small, consistent action. None of them require anything dramatic. By having ‘Importance’ as my one focus word, I can keep these important actions at the forefront of my mind.

Adopting one focus word for the year can help you to stay on track during those key decision moments.

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2. Health

one focus word health

Over the past couple of years, I have been preoccupied with other things and I have really neglected my health. Thankfully, this has not had major consequences for me but I want to step in and take action before I do experience anything bad. The death of my brother, who was just one year older than me, has helped me to accept that each day is a gift and that I need to be ready to embrace it. It is not that the thought of death concerns me but I want to be able to live every day I get to the best of my ability. That requires me to look after my health.

Again, with ‘Importance’ as my one focus word, I am not looking to do anything dramatic. Just small consistent actions such as:

  • When I go to the shop, choose the healthier options
  • Do my daily stretching
  • Go to bed on time to ensure a good sleep
  • Take regular walks

I know that I will not get it right 100% of the time but if I do the right thing 80%, or more, of the time, I will see great outcomes.

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3. Business

one focus word business

In the past, I have tried setting some big dramatic goals and for my business and my focus would be on the outcomes. This year, I have a vision for where I would like my business to be this time next year, and now I just want to focus on the small, consistent actions which will take me there.

In the past, because my focus was on the big outcome all the time, I was trying to do a ridiculous amount of work to get there. With ‘Importance’ as my one focus word, I have been surprised by the few things that I need to do. I just need to do them consistently. I know that if I do that, the improvements will be fantastic.

Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

Great goals can help you to stretch and grow, becoming the person you wish to be.

For more great advice to set great goals check out  the'Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting'.


The last year has seen great restrictions imposed upon us. This has made goal-setting a little more difficult. How do you decide what you would are going to do when you don’t know what you are going to be allowed to do? You can see this as a problem, or you can see this as a chance to re-evaluate the way you do things. I have opted to re-evaluate and do things a little differently. I have adopted ‘Importance’ as my one focus word for this year. I will be using it to guide my actions and thoughts.  With this approach and by taking small consistent actions, I know that I will achieve great outcomes. I may not know what options will be available to me but I know whatever opportunities present themselves, I will be ready to take full advantage of them.

What is your one focus word for the year ahead?


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