One-Word Theme for 2016: GOOD

Every December, I choose a one-word theme to guide me through the coming 365/6 days. Last year’s word was FORZA, and, whooboy, was I ever right that I would need some strength.

2015 was tough, challenging on several levels with still some loose ends to wrap up, wounds to heal, sleep to catch up on (I know, I know . . . someday she’ll be a teenager and I won’t be able to wake her!).

And with a face like this, well . . .

Christmas Santa Baby 2015

BUT I’m still here and ready to fight another day . . . AND I even completed the manuscript for a new guidebook, 52 Things to See in Calabria, which will be published later this year by Gemelli Press. I also picked up several new freelance writing and editing clients, which ain’t half bad considering how little time I have to work with a terrific toddler in tow, twenty-four/seven.

manuscript!On the personal side, I strengthened a few friendships and, of course, spent lots and lots and LOTS of time bonding with my little girl, which is absolutely my greatest accomplishment — particularly since some days all I wanted to do was hide under the covers with some cookies and cappuccino.

Not that she would really have minded, so long as I invited her too. But I digress.

Looking forward to 2016, I juggled a few words in my head as contenders for the one-word theme.

Joy. Love. Peace. Kindness. Hope.

Although they are all great words, especially in this ever-chaotic and oft-depressing world, none were really connecting with me the way my previous one-word themes had.

As the new year quickly approached and I still didn’t have a word, I should have known to look to the kid for inspiration.

On New Year’s Eve, Marisa did something that she’s been doing for a couple weeks now but since my “one word” was on my mind, it hit me like a cold splash of water in the face.

She takes a little taste of something, licks her lips, smiles, nods her head, and pronounces it . . . “GOOD!”

GOOD! Yes!

Hmm . . . but could I really carry it through as a theme? Sure I want the world to be a GOOD place for her and she is pretty much GOODness incarnate (and even looks like she might be dancing on the GOOD Ship Lollipop in that photo above), but but but . . .

Then the Mr. Rogers’ quote that made the rounds this year popped into my head:

Mr Rogers - look for the helpers


In other words: Look for the GOOD. Find the GOOD.

And, of course, looking for the GOOD is not limited to times of tragedies and “scary things.” This is something we can practice every single day.

I’ve kept a gratitude journal in the past, but this year I’m doing a GOOD jar. This is also known as a Happiness Jar c/o Elizabeth Gilbert, but for my purposes, it’s a GOOD jar.

The concept is that each night, you write down the happy/best moment of the day on a slip of paper and put it in the jar. You can start whenever you like and dump it out and read them at any time, too, but many people like to start in the beginning of the year and then read them all at the end of the year.

Thoroughly pleased with my one-word theme and already composing a blog post in my head, I clicked onto Facebook. In my News Feed was an article about Bert and John Jacobs, founders of the Life is Good company.

Life is good.

I know, right?

Wait, it gets better.

One question their mother asked them every night inspired the Jacobs’ $100 million business, whose mission it is to spread the power of optimism:

So, every night as the family sat around the dinner table, she would ask her six kids to tell her something good that happened that day.

The tagline of the company, by the way, is “Life is not perfect. Life is not easy. Life is good.”


So this year, for me, it’s all about the GOOD.

FIND the good. SEE the good. BE the good.

Do you have a one-word theme for 2016?

20 Beans of Wisdom to “One-Word Theme for 2016: GOOD”
  1. 01.02.2016

    M, congrats on your guidebook! Marisa, is SO adorable! My word: Magical! and GOOD is good…! Happy 2016!! Hugs! 🙂

    michelle Reply:

    Ciao Pam! Thanks so much — it’s great to “see” you around 🙂 I hope you and Cliff are doing well and that 2016 is truly magical for you!

  2. Linetta Meads

    Buon Anno Michelle. I enjoyed reading your post and agree with Pam that Marisa is adorable. I like your idea of having a word for the year, mine is ‘Positive (positivo)’

    michelle Reply:

    Thank you, Linetta, and I do love your word. I hope your 2016 is full of positivity 🙂

  3. Nellie

    be yourself , always have the child in you out to play as much as possiable
    When your grown, she will continue to be in awe and see the good in life.
    As any child she will only look to help and do good, and you will never grow old!

    michelle Reply:

    I’m quite lucky in that I’ve never really stopped being a child…so it’s rather easy to fall into playtime 😉 Hugs to you, dear Nellie xx

  4. Debbie D

    Love this post. Thank you very much. Looking forward to the new book. Congrats!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much, Debbie! And happy 2016 to you!

  5. 01.03.2016

    lovely, this is such a lovely thought and practice, i may not have a jar while i travel non stop this year, but i can add the daily thought to my blog

    michelle Reply:

    Yes! I’m only a couple days into it, but I love it already. It really makes you stop and think about your day, good and not-so-good…but it’s all good haha 😉 Thanks for your continued support, Lee, and happy travels!

  6. 01.03.2016

    What a fantastic idea and I like the concept behind a happiness jar, I might incorporate that at home too because perhaps later down in life, it would be nice to look at those memories during tough times. Congrats on the new book, I’d love to check it out!

  7. Kathleen Holzermayr

    Loved this post – I was just thinking the other day that I have so enjoyed reading your blog over the last few years ever since I innocently googled “Calabria” and came across it. Your words always hit the ‘spot!’ And of course now sharing pictures of your adorable little girl – well, I just say ‘thank you’… And perhaps this is my word for 2016 – ‘thankfulness’ for all that is GOOD.

    michelle Reply:

    Aw thank you, Kathleen! Thankfulness is an awesome word…plays well with “good” 😉 Buon anno!

  8. 01.04.2016

    I love the idea of the happiness jar and yes it sounds good to me. In 2015 I would wake each morning and dread the day ahead. So in 2016 I decided the word I choose this year is positive. So now each morning I wake and give thanks to the man upstairs that I have another day to love the family and friends who are still with me. I am finding that I still feel thirty-nine yet have the wisdom of a sixty-six year old. Life is good. Congrats on the book. First note in the jar. Reading your blog makes me feel very good. Have a good week. Paulette

    michelle Reply:

    I read a great quote on FB the other day, Paulette: I opened two gifts this morning. My eyes. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, and buon anno xx

  9. 01.06.2016

    Good for you:-) Marisa looks so sweet, treasure these times with her, it passes by so fast! And good luck with the book, it’s a great idea!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Nicki! Marisa is absolutely a joy as well as a royal pain in the arse…pretty much a toddler haha 😉 Buon anno!

  10. Marsha

    Finally this morning while walking, my word, actually 2 words, came to me, “let go”. My intention is to let go of the stories I tell myself about myself, others, the world around me, of the preconceptions and expectations not based upon reality. Thank you again for this post and your blog. Marisa is beautiful. 🙂

    michelle Reply:

    Ooh those are excellent words, Marsha, with wonderful thought and intention behind them. Thank you for the kind words regarding my daughter and thanks for coming by and sharing. Buon 2016!

  11. 02.04.2016

    Love your word for 2016 and congrats on your manuscript!!! x



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