by Dr. Jill Klefstad - UW Stout

Happy New Year! Time is flying by, apparent as the calendar turns to February. Hopefully, you are on target and feeling success in maintaining any New Year resolutions you set.

Over the holidays, discussions with my four millennial children regarding New Year resolutions afforded me the opportunity to review my tradition of creating resolutions. I might add that usually these resolutions become broken after a week or two. The lens from which my adult children view and set resolutions assisted in changing my perspective on this tradition I have followed for years. This year, instead of creating a list of resolutions, I chose just ‘one word’. #OneWord365 (

The major difference between traditional resolution setting and OneWord is the overarching outcome. OneWord is used to inspire how a person wants to live in comparison to what a person should be doing as commanded by the conventional resolution setting method I have used. OneWord is intended to be more inspirational because the central focus is on being rather than doing.

When researching OneWord, I was astounded how the use of technology supports this endeavor. I can also understand why it is appealing to a millennial. Through the use of Twitter, Facebook, or email participants may choose to connect with other people with the same word. This relationship serves as a support system to members of the group, or tribe. Collectively members inspire and challenge each other to live out their word with intention and purpose throughout the year.

The process of choosing one word can be overwhelming considering the plethora of words within the English language. The following suggestions can help to guide you in selecting #OneWord. First, remain focused on being rather than doing and envision your word as a reflection of you, and no one else. Secondly, strive to find one word that resonates with you in a meaningful and deep level. Therefore, even if someone else chooses your word, no one else will fully understand what it means to you. Finally, try not to overthink the word. There is no right or wrong answer!

When I chose the word, grit, it seemed as if that word kept coming back to my thought process. The word did hold deep meaning for me, as an educator yet, there was something about the word that created dissonance within me. I was eager to find a word that would serve as a guide and not a word that would require me to do more. To search words with similar meanings, I looked at synonyms of the word, grit and found other words more appealing. These words included fortitude, valor, and spirit. In the end, I chose the word fortitude because it seemed to focus on being who I was meant to be. Also, I realized that because there were other synonyms that resonated with me, I  created a Wordle to serve as a visual of my OneWord, fortitude.  There are recommendations from others who have adopted the OneWord365 to help you find one word and can be found at

Although this editorial has focused on how #oneWord365 may personally impact your life, I believe the concept of OneWord can impact the UW-Stout Men’s Organization as well. My intention is to facilitate discussion with members of the organization this semester to choose one word that signifies the group’s authenticity and goals for the spring.

On a larger scale, is it feasible to come up with Oneword that embodies the work of all men in education around the world? Could OneWord serve as a unique marketing tool to unite and guide men’s groups as they promote the authenticity and vision of men choosing the profession of early childhood education? If so, what word could be used? Please feel free to send me your ideas-thank you. Happy word searching!

Duckworth, A. (2013). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. Ted Talk. Retrived on January 26, 2017 from

OneWord365. Retrieved from