The Anti Personal Word of the Year for 2019

Personal word of the year word cloud

Prepping for 2019 with an Anti Personal Word of the Year

As we wind down 2018 and head into the new year, you may hear people talking about their “personal word of the year.”

Or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about, this sounds way too hippy dippy, and you’re thinking I’ve been reading too much about self-improvement lately.

To clear this one up and convince you of the value, a personal word of the year is a word you choose to guide your decisions throughout the year. It’s meant to be a mini mantra that keeps you moving when things get tough, or a gentle reminder about what is important. Like an inner wrist tattoo without the needles. Think words like “fearless,” “family,” “focus,” “fajitas,” “flour tortillas”… Nope, nope got off track there…

I’m taking a different approach to personal word of the year this year and instead I’m focusing on a word that I want to STOP saying in 2019. It’s my anti personal word of the year. The more I thought about it the more I realized this word is unnecessary, it holds me back in my career, it’s not good role modeling for my kids, and it’s inflating my word count.

The word? Just.


Do you have a personal word of the year? How about an anti personal word of the year? This one word is holding you back in your career and is dismissive of yourself and others. Lose it in 2019! #personaldevelopment #careerdevelopment #parenting


Just Following Up

Women have a tendency to over apologize. Taking ownership for your actions is completely virtuous, and “I’m sorry” are two very important words. However, these words can hold you back when they turn into an apology for existing. I’m sorry to bother you. I’m sorry that I’m sick. I’m sorry that I am taking up a regular human amount of space at this table.

“Just” is the same way. You aren’t “just” following up on an email that hasn’t been responded to. You’re following up. You don’t “just” want to discuss an issue for a minute. You want to discuss it. There’s no need to tip toe around what you want to say or do, or try to make it softer.

Same goes for taking credit for your work. If you put together a killer PowerPoint slide deck you didn’t “just do the slides.” If you are a stay at home mother you don’t “just stay at home.” Your side business is not “just a hobby” if you don’t want it to be. You don’t need the just qualifier. I don’t need the just qualifier.

Forget “just do it.” Do it. You’re doing it, I’m doing it. In 2019 let’s take credit for it, and stop apologizing for it.


Just A Second

How many times a day do we tell our kids “just a second,” or “just a minute”, or “just hang on”? For me – it’s a lot.

THEN I turn around and spin into a mom rage when my kids tell me that they are “just doing one more thing first” when I’ve asked them to put on their shoes 13 times. No! I said to do this thing, so do this thing! Don’t “just” do something else!

“Just” in this context feels dismissive of needs. What I’m doing is more important than what you want me to do, so meh, I’m just going to do that instead. Now I don’t think that I should drop everything I’m doing to be at my kids’ beck and call, and I don’t think that my kids need to be mindless yes men and women, but I do want to remove “just” out of our collective vocabulary so that we really acknowledge each other.

So I’ve started catching myself when I immediately go to “just” mode when a request comes my way. If I am in the middle of something, I’ll let the kids know that I will help them out as soon as I am finished. But not in “just a second.” I find that it gives what I am currently occupied with some credit for being meaningful, but also doesn’t feel like an arbitrary blow off. The hope is to use my anti personal word of the year in this context to lead by example for the kids. A monkey see money do situation.

This is going to be a work in progress, for sure, but I think it’s worth it.


Just Go For It

All this thinking about the word “just” is well and good, but I need to really put this anti personal word of the year into practice. So I’m putting it down in ink. Real life handwritten ink.

For 2019 I’m breaking free from the blue light of my computer for a smidgen in favor of a good old pen and paper planner that’s going to help me organize my life and stay on track.  The word “just” is getting written in bold Sharpie on page 1 as a reminder that I don’t “just” do anything. As long as I can find the Sharpie… Oh no… I have two small children and I can’t find the Sharpie…

Be right back…

That’ll come off eventually right?

Here’s the planner I’m breaking out in 2019 courtesy of the good people at PurpleTrail. I’m a little in love with it and the message that speaks right to my career coaching heart. Do more of what makes you happy. Love. Love, LOVE. Plus there are all kinds of handy organizational tabs inside to track birthdays, events, goals, and reminders. If you’re a paper planner person, check them out! Let’s do this 2019!

Anti Personal Word of the Year for 2019


Do you have a personal word of the year planned out? How about an anti personal word of the year? Let’s chat!


With big plans for 2019 and big thanks to Nike for letting me tear up their slogan,

Becca Carnahan Blog





Want more New Year’s Resolution ideas? Check out 1 Minute of Activity, 20 Minutes of Silence, and More Dessert!

A personal word of the year can help guide your decisions, but how can an anti personal word of the year also change your 2019? #newyearsresolutions #personawordoftheyear #personaldevelopment/div>

One word you should stop saying in 2019. #newyearsresolution #personaldevelopment #careerdevelopment
Personal development goals for 2019. #newyearsresolution #personaldevelopment #quotes

19 Replies to “The Anti Personal Word of the Year for 2019”

  • Okay, I love this post, but I just (GAH!!) have to say that due to the ad placement, it looked like you were announcing that your anti personal word for 2019 was “weed killer for yards” and I was very confused (yet still supportive!) at the strong feelings against weed killer.

    But seriously, so much YES to this post. I too am constantly throwing in “just” into conversations to seem all breezy and casual, and it needs to stop. Maybe we can be accountability buddies. Or not. Just a thought! (…This is going to be tough, isn’t it?)

  • I love everything about this! I def minimize everything I do. This ish is HARD. (Maybe I’m trying to trick myself into thinking that taking care of the kids and the house and the chickens and the cat and OH YEAH starting a business and also still working a side hustle is easy? It’s JUST like 75,000 things per hour, nbd.)

    • I read that post last year, loved it, commented on it, and then completely forgot and wrote my own take on the subject. Gah! Linking to yours in the post now. But I agree there is lots of room for all of us to take the just out of our lives.

  • YES YES YES! I’ve been working on this little word, too. I use it in emails and conversation ALL. THE. TIME. “I’m just checking in about xyz…” “I’m just wondering if xyz…” Thanks for the great reminder, Becca! And fantastic post, as always. <3

    • Thanks so much, Paula! It’s such a common one and so easy to throw into conversation without realizing it. I love when I catch myself about to type it and then breeze right past. It’s pretty empowering!

  • I hate the qualifier, “right?” “Right?” Like I need to get buy-in from the whole world when I say something. I should get rid of that one. And if I can get the rest of the world, especially teenagers and grown people who talk like teenagers, to stop using “literally” needlessly, my year 2019 will be made! Fun post!

  • “Just” and “sorry” definitely need to be removed from my vocabulary, too. I find myself apologizing for the most ridiculous things, like being hard of hearing. Maybe I’ll make those words my new swear jar and allow myself to curse as much as I’d want and fine myself for “just” and “sorry.”

  • Oh man, that hits hard. You’re so right, and I’m so guilty of this! I’m going to work on rescuing my use of the word ‘just.’

    I don’t usually pick a word for the year, but last week at church I was hit in the face with ‘choose joy.’ I’m looking forward to improving my joy and choosing to love life more. 🙂

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