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Beyond resolutions: The power of one word

New Year’s resolutions don’t work — at least not the way I usually approach them, which typically involves writing a mile-long list of the things I dislike about myself and demanding that I become a different person between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Starting the year off with negativity and unrealistic expectations just doesn’t vibe with me anymore.


In the last few years, I’ve taken a new approach: a word of the year. This word becomes my guiding light, and there isn’t a day that passes where I don’t think about it or keep it top of mind. It’s helped me improve my life, and I can confidently say that I’m happier than I’ve ever been — and that bar keeps moving higher!

My words in recent years have been: resilience (the year I was pregnant with my son), simplicity (his first year of life) and resonance (the year I quit my full-time job and started my own business).

In 2021, I had to be resilient because pregnancy and childbirth scared me a lot. However, I’m proud to say that by facing that fear daily and breathing through it, I gained so much strength and was brave when push came to shove.

In 2022, I kept simplicity top of mind because I had to find joy in the little things while I had a precious, tiny human attached to me constantly. I couldn’t travel as much as I wanted to, so I had to find things locally (like as local as the rocking chair in my son’s room) to give me life.

In 2023, after a decade of working toward other people’s dreams in corporate America, I chose resonance. I decided to only take on work that resonated with me and my highest calling — work that I felt deeply about and couldn’t live without.


Here’s how you can determine your own word of the year:

  1. Create two columns on a sheet of paper. In the first, write all the positive things that happened in the past year. In the second, write all the positive things you want to call in this year.
  2. Reflect and acknowledge the emotions associated with those positive experiences. Identify what you desire more of in your life.
  3. Select one to five words that resonate with how you want the upcoming year to feel. These can be nouns, verbs or anything else. Focus on words that evoke a positive sensation for you. Grammar is not important.
  4. Review and narrow down your list of words to one that you genuinely believe will bring more fulfillment to your life. Trust your instincts in choosing the word that aligns with your heartfelt needs.
  5. Find a way to keep this word top of mind; my favorite way is to make a bracelet that displays it. You also could write it down, tape it to your mirror or the front of your daily planner or make it your phone or computer wallpaper.
  6. Share your word on social media using #GGCWordOfTheYear and tag @GatherGulfCoast. Our community of women will help hold you accountable and support you on this journey to becoming a better you.

So, what’s my word for 2024? Abundance. I’m hoping to call in more money (aren’t we all?), more authentic friendships and more resonant business partnerships — but I’m really hoping to manifest a feeling of always having enough — no matter how much or little I “have.”

Cheers to 2024! You’ve got this!

Alexa Harrison is a marketing consultant and community events planner working to empower creative and entrepreneurial women on the Gulf Coast. Learn more at

Written by Alexa Harrison

Alexa Harrison is the owner of Gather Gulf Coast, where she works to empower women-owned small businesses through collaboration on pop-up community events. Follow along on Instagram @gathergulfocast.

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