My Focus Word To Guide Me In 2020

Hey there, friends! Thank you for all of the kind responses and words of encouragement for what I shared in Monday’s post. It’s so nice to hear that you’re ready to hear a different message and that you’re also wanting to be better in regard to how and what you’re consuming. So, let the journey begin! Today, I wanted to build off of Monday’s post and share the word I’ve chosen this year. Have you ever chosen a word of the year?

I started doing this back in 2014 but, back then, I picked a bunch of words to keep at the top of my mind throughout the year to outline my desire for how I wanted the year to turn out. Then, in 2016, my best friend, Whitney, and I decided to narrow this down to ONE word. So, what’s a focus word? And, why choose one? Ultimately, it’s a word that you want to help guide you in the direction you want to go throughout the year. In 2016, I chose ‘nurture’ because, at the time, I was working full time as a nurse [usually overtime] and full-time on the blog, as well. I felt so accomplished because I was able to earn quite a bit moremoney, pay off debt, make strides in my passion project [this website] but, I also felt utterly exhausted and depleted. I felt like my professional life was the only area of my life that got any attention. I lost touch with friends. I rarely went out. It helped me to really understand that there’s nothing wrong with working hard, and sometimes making sacrifices to get where you want to be, life can feel really empty if that’s all you have. I wanted to ‘nurture’ other areas of my life and I wanted that word to help guide my decisions. So, for example, every time a friend asked to schedule a phone date or get together for lunch, I would think about my word and remember that it’s important to say yes in order to nurture that friendship. These words, ultimately, help you to make decisions that will lead you to have the year of your dreams.

Have you ever chosen a word? Check out my word for 2019 HERE.

Last year, I watched ‘The True Cost’ on Netflix and it propelled me into this sort-of ‘age of enlightenment’ that I feel like I’m in right now. For so long I lived completely naive to the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry, how damaging the materials of a lot of the ‘cheap’ clothing we consume are to our environment over time, and just how close we are to not being able to make a positive change in the crisis this world is facing. And, because of what I do, I felt a bit resistant to wanting to do something about it because, it would require me to live differently and operate my business differently. So, I kind of chose to ignore what I knew while also continuing to consume the messaging that this industry seems to convey, which is … more is better … and it got to a point where it just didn’t sit right with me.

Over the last few months, I’ve been challenging myself to start the process of sorting through my belongings and deciding what goes where. For someone who lives alone with two dogs, I have an exorbitant amount of ‘stuff’, almost to the point that I’m almost disgusted with how I’ve been operating, how much I’ve been consuming and not actually using, etc. And, the truth is, a good majority of it cannot come with me. There’s no space for it in London. Flats [apartments] and homes are so much smaller there and, honestly, for me right now, that is so appealing. When I think back on a lot of what has stressed me out over the last few years, I can easily say it comes from chasing ‘more’: committing to more blog posts on the blog, making plans to take more Instagram posts for Instagram so you guys had more outfits to draw inspiration from, traveling more, placing more orders before a long vacation just to make sure I have enough ‘in stock’ items so as to not frustrate my readers when I say ‘it’s old, I’m sorry but I linked similar’, making more plans and filling my calendar with too many appointments, aiming for more self-care hours when there aren’t anymore hours to use up and then shaming myself for not doing more to serve my need for rest, the list goes on. And, this cannot just be me. The idea that we’re all being fed through social media – and dare I say I may very well be contributing to – is that we ‘need more’ and it’s a lie. And, I believe, it’s depriving us of so much joy that is at our disposal in life. We’re all just moving too fast and consuming too much to be able to access it. I don’t believe that many of us can sit and be happy with what’s in front of us.

So, you may have been able to guess this from my 2020 resolutions post but, my word for this year is … LESS.

Some things I want to be intentional about having LESS of this year …

• Less blog posts + pressure on myself I feel like I say this every year. Ha, it’s a constant struggle that I never seem to find a solution for or actually follow through with. But … this year, I want to pull back on scheduled content, like blog posts, and just provide myself with the space and bandwidth to just … create. Whether it’s IG TV or more well-thought-out YouTube content surrounding what you guys are asking me for like ‘how to curate a wardrobe you’re proud of’, ‘essentials in every girls wardrobe’, etc. So, I basically want to commit to less of what I’m used to doing to make room for more meaningful, quality content that will be helpful for a lot of women and to help you with purchasing decisions for your wardrobe for years to come. Would you be okay with less blog posts here on to allow for the ones I share to be even more helpful?

Less time spent on my phone – While our smart phones serve us in so many amazing ways, I am completely guilty of wasting so much precious time just mindlessly scrolling. The trouble is the fact that checking my phone constantly has almost become a habit so I really need to set some boundaries for myself. Do you have any tips on this? Do you have boundaries you’ve set for yourself? While I love interacting and answering you guys via DM, I may have to only allow myself to go into DM’s for 30 minutes a day. I spend SO MUCH time getting back to as many people as I can and I know it eats in to my work flow and takes away my ability to have time to do other things like watch a documentary without distraction or read a new book. Less screen time, I think, can really fuel a more healthy outlook and perspective and take away unnecessary stress and misuse of time.

Less mindless, impulsive, and trendy purchases – I really want to become a more conscious consumer and invest in the right pieces made out of the right materials this year. I also want my wardrobe to be more carefully curated. To do this, I am doing A LOT of Googling. I’m researching what it takes to have a sustainable wardrobe, what materials cause the most harmful emissions, what brands are prioritizing sustainability, etc. I’m also going to be getting into my closet and narrowing it down to ONLY include the pieces that I know I will be reaching for over and over the next few years. I want to shopping my closet much more this year and hope to inspire you all to do the same. I will also be putting together a large moving sale [either before or after my move] in an effort to re-home as many of my belongings, as possible, to prevent them being sent to thrift store or donation centers that are overloaded and have the potential to ship a lot of it off to landfills. [Sidenote: I know they ALL don’t do that but, with the amount of clothing waste they see, it’s something they’re having a hard time managing.] Rehoming as many of the pieces as possible, in my opinion, is the best way to ensure that these products are going to be USED. Going through my closet will also allow me to identify gaps within my wardrobe, which will help guide my future purchasing decisions and steer me away from being tempted by what I see online. Is anyone else hoping to make changes like this this year?

Less stuff, in general – Most of us have more than we need and, for me, I’d rather just have less. I am craving simple and easy. Doing what I do for a living, it might be something that I am always really striving to achieve but, when I see what just what having more is doing … it really does help me realize that we are more than blessed and having more isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, less is more.

Alright, friends! That does it for today. How do you feel about all of that? Is it too idealistic? Let me know in the comments below. I’d also love to hear your word for the year. Also, for any fellow royal lovers out there, I published a new video on my YouTube channel sharing my initial thoughts to the big Meghan and Harry news. Part two will hopefully be up this weekend! xo.


Editor's Notes



  1. Peggy D wrote:

    Yes! I love this. The quest for more is advocated so heavily in today’s world, and it’s exhausting, frustrating, and inevitably leads to feelings of inadequacy. I’m right there with you. I’m particularly excited about finding out more about sustainable brands and products that are made with a conscience AND will last for a number of years. Thank you for doing this and for setting a great example!!!

    Published 1.23.20 · Reply
  2. *Fewer blog posts.. haha, sorry to be annoying.. Just couldn’t resist the grammatical correction.

    I personally love everything you put out already, so I don’t necessarily think they could be more helpful than they already are. I think I speak for most people when I say that whatever is best for you works for us!

    Great word of the year, by the way.

    Published 1.23.20 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hahahha thanks Brittany! I thought that sounded weird! 😉

      Published 1.23.20 ·
  3. Olga wrote:

    Love this. Less is truly more sometimes 🙂 I think you’re on the right track and I love this new direction!


    Published 1.23.20 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Thanks, Olga! xo.

      Published 1.23.20 ·
  4. Katie wrote:

    So much of this post spoke to me but one of my goals for the year is exactly what you said-‘Less mindless, impulsive, and trendy purchases’! I find myself shopping or looking at social media(which leads to more shopping!) out of boredom, so to start the year, I made a list of actual gaps have in my closet, for example, I recently went a funeral and realized I do not have a nice black dress! I won’t bore you with the whole list, but I am limiting myself to shopping off of this list only this year.
    I also unfollowed a bunch of blogs and accounts that were out of alignment with my goals for this year which has helped me cut down on my social media time.
    I have loved your classic style and your commitment to sustainability and look forward to however many blog posts you decide to post!

    Published 1.23.20 · Reply
  5. Chansley wrote:


    Published 1.23.20 · Reply
  6. Amy wrote:

    Yes, yes, yes! I loved everything about this post! I can’t wait to see more post about sustainable fashion brands/products as that has become important to me in the last year or so. Also I love that you touched on social media time. There are so many books and research out there that show social media is literally changing how our brains function and not in a good way. Thank you for being real and relatable!

    Published 1.23.20 · Reply
  7. Kelly wrote:

    I love the idea of having a word for the year too and think LESS is a really great one. My word for 2020 is MOVE – move outside my comfort zones, move my body more at the gym, move by exploring my local area more, etc.

    Here’s to a wonderful year for all of us!!

    xoxo – Kelly

    Published 1.23.20 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Love that word! xo.

      Published 1.24.20 ·
  8. I am right there with ya on the “less is more” train! I think as a blogger it can be so hard NOT to fall into a regular cycle of buying the newest, latest pieces to style. It’s important to find things that are in stock for sharing, I totally get it! I love how you are planning on approaching your blog with a new perspective to stick to the less is more motto. Best of luck! xo
    Amanda || Affordable by Amanda

    Published 1.24.20 · Reply
  9. Katie wrote:

    We are totally on the same page! My word I chose was Minimize! I want to minimize stuff, minimize phone time, minimize frivolous spending, minimize calories consumed, minimize toxic relationships, etc. I am so happy you are on the same page!

    Published 1.25.20 · Reply
  10. Heidi wrote:

    Fabulous… thank you for your honest (and bold) introspection! As someone who downsized from 4500 square foot house to a 1300 square foot apartment, “less” is indeed “more” in so many ways. Cheering you on! xo Heidi

    Published 1.25.20 · Reply
  11. Kari Lacey wrote:

    I love this and agree so much. I sometimes feel so overwhelmed with all the “stuff”. Making a conscious choice to use what we already have and be more present is so important these days. Thanks for sharing and best in 2020!

    Published 1.25.20 · Reply
  12. Kimber wrote:

    I agree completely about the less is more option! After following several “influencers” last year and constantly buying things that just sat in my closet after a one-time wearing, I too have been reevaluating how I want to live in 2020! I’m in no way a hoarder with anything else in my home and constantly donate and re-home items that don’t bring m joy and that I don’t use…but I need to get my closet in order and really think about the purchases before I make them! I’m guilty of just buying something because I don’t want to miss out if it’s going to be sold out, or just don’t need! I am excited to see what you will post this year with your new mindset of “less” for the year! I personally need to learn to organize my closet so it’s easy to find things and put different outfits together with “staple” pieces, so I am not buying things I am constantly getting rid of and wasting money that could be better spent! I’m absolutely on board with less posts and excited to see what you will highlight as staples you will incorporate in your closet.

    Published 1.25.20 · Reply