My Word for the Year for 2021

Happy Tuesday, friends! Wow, what a strange start to the beginning of a new year. I am doing my best to stay positive amidst recent events and am refusing to believe that it’s an indication of how the entire year will go. With that said, I have been excited to choose a word to focus on for 2021, which is something I do every year going all the way back to 2016!


2016 | 2019 | 2020

[I’m pretty sure I chose them for 2017 and 2018 but didn’t do a blog post surrounding them]

Last year my word was less as I focused in on consuming less and educating myself on how consumption is affecting our planet. I was determined to make small tweaks to my lifestyle like using more sustainable and reusable items that could add up to a bit of change. Well, I had no idea what 2020 had in store and how I would gain some serious perspective on materialistic items in a way I really didn’t see coming. Of course there was the physical piece of it after making the move to London and having a major lack of space and storage. I simply had to learn to live with less stuff, which was a frustrating but very welcome challenge. Then, everything with Covid happened and it very much put things into perspective: that the ‘stuff’ and all the things don’t really matter. It’s the people in your life that matter most. So, I would say I definitely kept my word top of mind throughout 2020, in the way I intended and beyond! I definitely consumed less and bought less trendy pieces. I feel like most of what I bought was very practical and filling holes in my wardrobe. I also spent less time working and obsessing over everything looking perfect [kind of had to, to be honest hah] and paid more time and attention on the most important person in my life and building our foundation. In so many ways, 2020 was such a gift to us. Since we did long-distance for our first year [2019], having to ‘stay at home’ as much as we did in 2020 has allowed us to really deepen and strengthen our relationship in a way that I don’t think we could have if life had been ‘normal’. It is so special that we had this time – just us two – now that we will be welcoming our first child almost exactly a year after I arrived in the UK.

Fast forward to today and me choosing my word for 2021. I’ve decided on three, actually. Come on, after 2020, I think we all may need a few extra focus words, ha! I am choosing embrace, release and enjoy!

Words of the year are supposed to guide your life for the next year. Anytime you go through something less than ideal or you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s when you have to remember your word of the year. It’s in those moments where – at least I find – I have resorted back to my old ways of doing things and am letting them get in the way of how I want this year to be different and more enjoyable. So, ’embrace’ is that word for me this year, especially knowing I have so many stressful things coming up this year like meeting with a mortgage advisor to see if we COULD buy a home this year [even though I have a lot of strikes against me as a new resident in the UK], becoming a mom for the first time, learning to juggle motherhood, managing a household, a business & a team, not-to-mention, moving in the summer, etc.

To say there’s a lot coming down the pike might be an understatement, hah, but I’m determined to lean on my word in several ways…

Embrace the chaos – If I’m honest, I’m a bit of a control freak and this past year has truly challenged me with so much change, very little routine, and a lot of restrictions on my personal freedom. Throw an unexpected pregnancy in the mix and, let’s just say, I’ve had my fair share of meltdowns and less than ‘cute’ moments. I need to chill, basically, and also realize that … it’s not going to be any less crazy around here once baby comes. Change is going to continue to be a part of my life for the next year and beyond! So, I need to stop having such a stronghold on how life should be playing out and just let life be a little chaotic, a little messy … that’s where the fun could be, if I just allowed myself to embrace it. I need to enjoy this transitional season and stop stressing about having control over everything. I need to let go … I need to just embrace the chaos!

Release expectations – So, I am a bit of a control freak, a bit of a perfectionist, and I am REALLY hard on myself. My standards are wayyy too high, with everything I juggle … and working in social media certainly does not help. As I mentioned above, it’s chaotic with all of the change happening and the rational part of my brain tells me pretty often that ‘most normal human beings would find it to be overwhelming and difficult to manage’ so, give yourself some grace! Truthfully, my expectations are often unrealistic, and if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that life rarely goes as planned. You HAVE to just roll with it and be flexible sometimes. What’s that saying? “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”. It’s honestly so true! I think if I can do a better job of remembering that I’m not ever in control, I’m certainly going to be in for a less stressful year.

Enjoy it all – There’s something sweet about building something from the ground up and watching it become your livelihood that makes you both incredibly proud and incredibly protective. Over the last few years, I have inadvertently taught myself to prioritize work over everything and success should be achieved at all costs. I’m ashamed to say that too much of my value has been tied up in my work achievements week to week. And, up until now, the cost was low considering I didn’t have a strong social circle back in Florida the way I used to and my family wasn’t super, super close. I could work as much as I wanted to but, now, that has changed. My priorities are different but that yearning to still achieve as much as I used to be able to is still there. I am having to unlearn this really unhealthy mindset that work is everything. I need to untie my value from how many posts I share a week, how successful my try-on haul was, how much traffic my blog receives, how well my Instagram posts have done, etc. When I think about my life … I want to be known as a hard worker, a kind person, a PRESENT and attentive mom, and a loving wife. But, I realize that you can’t be all of those other things if you’re constantly pouring into only one of those cups. So, especially in 2021, I just want to enjoy the time I dedicate to each aspect of life without spoiling it with a shameful thought about how I’m not doing X instead or I haven’t spent enough time on X this week. It’s impossible to achieve perfect balance, of course, but I really do want to do my best to be present, welcome the unexpected, and just enjoy it all! So many of you say that, especially in the first year, it all goes by so fast. I don’t want to look back and wish I had been there for more of it.

Alright, friends … what do you think? Does this sound doable to y’all or am I dreaming? Lol. This honestly might be the most cathartic word of the year post I’ve ever written because I’m confronting so much about myself and putting it into words can be very therapeutic for me. I really do have faith that with this perspective shift I might be able to roll with the punches a bit more in 2021 – wish me luck!

Are you choosing a word to focus on and lean on this year? If you are, I highly recommend journaling about it to really set your intentions! Cheers, friends, and happy new year! xo.



  1. I love your words for 2021! Like you, I often struggled with the desire to do all the things and the be the very best at every single one of them. Then I felt God calling me to slow down & clear my plate (2018) and savor his plans for me. In March 2019 I met the love of my life, and we got engaged 7 months later! In May 2020 we got married and in July 2020 got 2 pink lines 🙂 I say all this to say, all my priorities have shifted since getting married and transitioning to the role of mom come March 2021! One of my favorite quotes about balance is “you have to realize that some of the balls you are juggling are made of plastic, and some are made of glass.” I’ve decided that my glass balls are my family- husband, baby, etc and that is the one thing I will NOT let down. Everything else, I’m ok taking a fail in, but the legacy i want to leave is a loving wife and mama and that’s what’s getting my #1 energy. So my word of the year is rooted- i’m committing to building the roots in my relationships (with God & family) and building the roots of our new family that’s growing this year!

    It’s been so fun keeping up with your journey and growth as well! You got this mama!

    Published 1.12.21 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Oh my goodness! I absolutely love that word for the year! And I especially love the thought about glass balls versus plastic balls. It’s so so true! Thank you for sharing! xx

      Published 1.13.21 ·
  2. Keara wrote:

    <3 I love this so much! I've chosen the word: Believe. I need to believe in myself, and believe in God's plan for me. So much of my life has been upended and I really need to hold on and believe everything happens for a reason.

    Published 1.12.21 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Keara! I love your word of the year! Such a good one!! xx

      Published 1.13.21 ·
  3. Krysta wrote:

    Love these words! I haven’t picked one for this year, as it’s not something I usually do, but I think I can agree with this theme of yours. I’m an enneagram type 6, so always anxious, over-prepared for the “what ifs”, and planning for the future. I think this year my goal is to do exactly what you’re doing- embrace what I’m given, even if things don’t go the way I planned! Let go of expectations for the way I think things “should” go, and enjoy the present without letting my stressors and self-inflicted fears get in the way. I’ll also be a first time mom this year and I’m someone who likes to be prepared. But there’s only so much you can do to be prepared for motherhood, the rest of it you just have to learn as you go! I think this is going to be a great year. 🙂

    Published 1.14.21 · Reply
  4. Kari P wrote:

    Love your words of the year and this post. This is the first time I have really been driven to choose one or two words of the year myself. This blog post is super helpful and I never thought about journaling!

    And of course you can do this! I think you will find ease, peace, calming in it all of you go back to your words.

    All the best to your little fam!

    Published 1.16.21 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Thanks so much, Kari! xx

      Published 1.17.21 ·
  5. Rachael wrote:

    Beautiful share, Haley! This is always one of my favourite blog entries of yours. My word this year is “expansion.” Wishing you & John all the best in 2021!

    Published 1.16.21 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Aw, thanks so much Rachael! That is a great word and wishing you all the best this year as you use it to have the best year yet! xx

      Published 1.17.21 ·
  6. Nicci wrote:

    My word this year is “self care.” I want more balance, but I’m sort of an all or nothing type of person, so balance is hard. With COVID and working from home and knowing I’d be out on maternity leave I spent so much more time working that I normally would (enneagram 3 here). This year I want to pull back from that, soak up all the time I can with our little girl, and fit in the fun activities that make me happy. Just because I’m working from home right now doesn’t mean I always need to be working.

    Soak up every bit you have with your little guy once he’s here. 🙂 I can’t believe it’s already been 6 months…it feels like it just flew by.

    Published 1.19.21 · Reply