Your One Word Resolution for 2016

I have found making business resolutions is just about as effective as making personal ones: they begin with good intentions, but often fall short of actually coming true. In fact, studies have found that small business owners break almost 90 percent of their New Year's resolutions within two months. Why? Some of the top reasons are because we make too many of them and they are too vague.

This year I am ditching the resolution list and instead focusing my energy and work on one word. Yes, one word. According to, the process of picking a word instead of writing down resolutions provides clarity by taking all of our big plans for life and business and narrowing them down to a single focus. While this experiment is usually done for personal resolutions, this year I am challenging entrepreneurs and small business owners to do this for their professional resolutions as well.

What will be your word? Adapted from the official My One Word process outlined in the book My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen, here are three steps for discovering what your one word should be in 2016:

Think About Who You Want To Be
As I mentioned in a previous Huffington Post blog, entrepreneurs are often programmed to focus on what is broken or lacking in our companies. Instead of dwelling on what you are not, think about what kind of company you want to become. What do you want your customers to think of the minute they hear your name? How do you want your employees to feel about working with you? This process will ultimately bring you back to your "WHY"--the true purpose of your company and why it even exists--and will help you focus on your vision instead of spending your time focused on regret.

Make A List Of Characteristics You Desire
Once you know who you want your company to be, you need to identify major characteristics and write them down using single words. This can be a difficult process, but it helps you narrow down what is really important to you in your quest for creating a business and company culture that has true and positive impact on employees, customers and quite possibly the world. Once you have your list, look up each word's definition and even look for other words that may have similar meanings.

Pick One Word
Pick the word that resonates with you most. It is important to choose just one and not try and do them all. "A lot of people have paralysis, and worry that they'll pick the wrong word," said Mike Ashcraft, co-author of My One Word, in an interview for Fast Company. "It's not a matter of right or wrong. There's simplicity and beauty behind this. Often, one word can incorporate others in the way you frame things."

Once you have your one word you need to share it. Not only with your inner circle of friends and colleagues, but with your entire company. Display the word internally, mention it during meetings, use it as a focus when you are discussing new plans or strategies--make it a part of your regular business routine. "When you do something long enough, it becomes part of who you are," adds Ashcraft. "It can be hard, but that's part of the process. Keep your word in front of you; it will make a difference."

What is your one word for 2016? I'd love to hear from you!

Happy 2016!

This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.