The One Word Resolution (2016 Edition)


For the past three years, I’ve set a resolution for the new year that has been defined by a single word.

In 2013 it was momentum. In 2014: possibility. This past year: execution.

It’s a small gesture, but these are words that have helped define my focus for an entire year. Over the past year, I have indeed had an opportunity to execute and drive initiatives and projects forward – on both personal and professional levels. It’s been helpful to have a mindset rallying around this word, “execute”, especially when I’m tired or when things just seem to be dragging on in a frustratingly interminable series of delays.

As I reflect on these experiences through the context of last year’s one word resolution, there was something missing.

In 2016, my new year’s resolution will be summed up with the following word: risk.

My friend, Amy Warren, uses this quote on her Twitter header: “We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Discovering new oceans is all about possibilities, it’s about executing… and it involves an element of risk. Not reckless risk (that’s a sure-fire way for bad things to happen). But execution without a little risk from time to time may lead to projects that are just a little too safe. Sometimes “safe” projects never have a chance to reach their full potential.

One of my favorite job interviews was with a hiring manager who said: “I want to deliver a training program, and then ask: ‘Did we go too far?'” It sounded like a fun team to be on, and I often regret having turned down that position. That’s an attitude that is in short supply in L&D these days.

So, in 2016, I’m planning to lose sight of the shore. I’m planning to wonder (perhaps with anxiety at times) if I’ve gone too far.

Bring it on!

If you had to make a one-word resolution for 2016, what would it be?


After 98 posts in 2015, it’s time to give my keyboard a rest and enjoy the holiday season. I’d like to offer a sincere and heartfelt thank you for continuing to read my ramblings.

I’ll be back with a whole new set of posts beginning on Monday, January 4, 2016… maybe some of them will even be a little riskier!

Until then, have a wonderful and safe holiday season. I’ll catch you in the new year!!

11 thoughts on “The One Word Resolution (2016 Edition)

  1. I took a risk late in 2015 and left a job I had for 11 years for many reasons, but the main reason is that I had gotten too confortable, too complacent – maybe even bored. I needed a stretch. So if 2015 was about taking a risk – because that, I certainly did – this new year of 2016 I resolve to “Grow”. What I like about this word is that is that it is synonymous with works like nurture, develop, cultivate and produce. I want to do all of those things!

    Thanks for keeping me motivated Brian! Your blog posts are always insightful. I often wondered how you produced so many last year….oh yeah…”execute”! 🙂

  2. Hi Brian
    Thanks for all the lessons, it helps me practically in designing outlines and mapping my sessions with clarity.
    One word resolution is GROW … Internal and help others too to grow… External

  3. Thanks for the 98 posts Brian! I can say that I read EVERY single one. I am going to take your word from last year and make it mine. “Execute” is going to me my mantra for the months ahead. Have a great holiday kindred spirit. Enjoy time with your family, you have earned it!

      • Sorry Brian, I have been so busy “Executing” that I had not responded!!! I am keeping “execute” as a mantra for 2016. When I see things that I want and need to do, I just say “execute” and make it happen. Getting certified in a class, making a book for my dad, replacing the cartridges in my leaky faucet…EXECUTE!!

        Tis the season Brian. I hope you are having a great 2016.


  4. My one word is “Less”.
    As I get a bit older ( come on, 63 is still pretty young, right?) I want to pare down what I take on so that I have more time to just “BE”. I want to focus on the idea of “human being” not “human doing”.

  5. Great post, Brian! I love the idea of one-word resolutions and I think execution and risk are brilliant. I only found your blog this year, but I’ve enjoyed reading it and learning new things from it 🙂 Enjoy your well-deserved holiday break. I’m looking forward to hearing more from you in 2016!

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