Awhile back I mentioned that I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. By the time February ends — and sometimes before January ends — my resolutions have gone by the wayside. Choosing a special word each year to remember and meditate on and act on seems to be far more successful.

My word for this year is “savor.” I’m doing well with it. It reminds me to live in this moment and get all the enjoyment possible out of each one. After I chose my word based on Bible reading and meditation, I ran across the quote by Lao Tzu, a philosopher of ancient China: “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

I much prefer living in peace.

That doesn’t mean I should forget the past. We can learn so many lessons from the study of history, whether it’s world history, local history or our own personal history. It doesn’t mean I should ignore the future, either. The secret is in not living in the past or the future — live right now.

After that column on savoring the moment ran, reader Robert McClelland. sent this email: “I enjoyed today’s article on your one word for 2020. My sister also chooses a word for each year — her word for 2020 is humility. I picked ‘kindness’ this year. … Perhaps, if you have not already done so, you could survey your readers and ask them to share their word for the year. In addition they could tell you why they picked that word. Maybe you could then do an article about the most common words and some of the reasons that they were chosen.”

That sounds like a great idea, so I asked Robert if he and his sister would like to be among the first to respond. They did, and here is what they wrote:

Robert McClelland: “Last November, my sister Sallie told me about the ‘one word’ she picks each year, so I decided to do that, too. Kindness seems to be in such short supply in our fractured world that I decided to express it in all of my interactions. For me, the word is an aspiration as well as a way of taking myself into account each day. What are the opportunities and how do I respond? One avenue I have to practice kindness is by volunteering at Blount Memorial Hospital, welcoming and assisting those who enter it.”

Sallie McClelland : “I have been doing ‘one word’ for about six years. My words have included joy, positive and believe. The last couple of years I have made it a little ‘harder’ for myself. The past two years were nonjudgmental and attitude. This year my word is humility. In a way, it encompasses the past two. I chose it because I often find myself being judgmental or critical, and find I need to step back (and down off of my pedestal) and humble myself. When those negative characteristics come out, which I hate to admit is quite often, I remind myself of my word for the year.”

If you do the “one word” challenge for the year, please share the word and the reason for it. Email me at the address below and at the end of February, I’ll give the results. I don’t have to put your full name if you prefer to have first name only, so don’t let that stop you from responding.

Let’s “get the word out,” to borrow from the Saturday faith section! Like Robert, I think it will be interesting to see what others have chosen and why. Perhaps your word will be just the inspiration needed for someone else.

Contact Linda Braden Albert with story ideas at

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.