How To Do A ONE WORD REVIEW Of Your Year 2016.

What’s up, Good People.

The year 2016 is gone and is never coming back. January of 2017 is finished too and so are most of the resolutions you made for the “New Year New Me” Project. But it doesn’t mean that you can let them go yet.

While reading articles on productivity “Last Year,” I came across this concept of “One Word Review” many times. All the articles made sense to invest a few days to ensure a whole year of conscious effort towards success.

Let’s work on it Step by Step.

Why should you do a One Word Review?

In 2016, I did a blog post on reasons of failure of New Year Resolutions. (You can read it HERE.) And most of them still holds true. So this year had to be different.

In the last email of 2016 to my awesome hustlers, I asked them to review and describe their year 2016 in One Word.

Many replied back asking: But Why?

Think of it in this way.

Q. When do You go to a doctor?

Ans. You go to the doctor when you feel sick.

Q. What does the doctor ask you first thing?

Ans. The doctor asks “What makes you feel ill? What is troubling you?”


It’s the same concept applied to the context of New Year. You can plan a “Better” year to “Improve” yourself only when you know what went “Right” and what went “Wrong” in the previous year. You want to understand about the happenings in the last year to find a remedy of having a better year.

Let’s face it. You had some good and some bad incidents in any possible ratio. And much of the bad things happened due to factors not under your control. BUT What you have control over is “What you learned from that event.” Filtering and refining each incident’s learning will help you in two ways.

1.    It will help you recall and review your whole year. This is one of the best practices used by most productive people around the world.

2.    It will lead you to that One Single Word that can help you take the next step “Consciously.” You can use this word as a base to plan out growth for the new year.

What do you need?

 My recommendation is that you need only a few things:

1.    A Pen and a Paper. For people who like to keep digital tracks, Click below to copy the Google Spreadsheet format I used.

2.    A place where you can sit undisturbed for some time.

3.    (Optional) Good music and good Coffee.

How to review your year 2016?

Step 1:

Write down at least one answer to following two questions for every month:

Question 1: What Went Right?

Question 2: What Went Wrong?

With each event, write down the core learning for each event. Every event has both positive and negative feelings attached to it. Every incident is learning in itself. Let yourself focus on the positive side of the things. Go backward, December followed by November and ending with January 2016.

Take your time. It took me 20 days to complete this exercise. Because I wanted to be sure of doing the review in a systematic way that you guys could use and repeat for yourself.

The things to help me in this process were:

1.    An irregular diary and

2.    Evernote account.

I had, on and off, used my journal and Evernote account to record every idea related to every event during last year. Reviewing these notes helped me a lot in recalling the events.

For example, I fell sick for ten days during February 2016. The diary, for that duration, was full of ideas to be productive during such times. So my learning from the event of my sickness was

“Even sickness can be a blessing in disguise. You need to change your attitude of looking at it.”

March and half of April were the months I wrote my first ebook. My Evernote was full of small scribbles for that duration. I deduced

“Planning is a necessary step to take, But all plans are a failure if you do not take action on it.”

None of these resources had regular entries but helped a lot in recalling the events of those months.

Step 2:

Start writing down One word that can represent the Core Learning from that event. This should encompass the learning according to What You Feel you have gained from the incident. Don’t limit yourself at this point as our target is the last step. So if you think you need to use more words at this level, then go ahead.

An example to illustrate the above point:

My job’s appraisal cycle happens in April, and the results are out at the end of the month. The discussion did not go well at all. The stress and the result were the worst experiences of my entire year. The feelings were all negative, but on the other side, the learning was immense. It reinforced my path towards my hustle. It made me remember why I am doing all this. This event gave me the keyword for the year.So the learning in one word for this event was “Patience.”

If you download and use the Google spreadsheet I have shared, you will see some examples I have filled in their for your reference.

But use these examples only as a reference and not as an influence.

Step 3:

By the end of Step no. 2, you will have 12 different keywords (or same for some months). It’s time to zero down on one word which you think have dominated more throughout the year. This process is more of a personal choice for every individual. The final word may or may not be from the list of monthly keywords. But it has to relate to your learning in each month.

For me, it was important that the keyword links to every event in one way or another. My year review keyword was not from the list, but my biggest learning for the year 2016. (Psst. I have shared my keyword at the end of the post.)


What next?

So where do you go from here? What can you do with this keyword? Use it as a guide to set the tone for next year. Use it to fuel your actions and intentions.

I am one of the people who make a maximum of 2 resolutions every year for last seven years now. And I keep a dated diary with my resolution written on every 1st of every month. It helps me keep a tab on it.

With the same concept. I wrote down my last years’ keyword on 1st of every month.

It will remind me every month to move forward from that point. The intent is to build upon the last years learning.  

Spoiler Alert:

I am going to share my year review Word in this section. If you wish to find out yours, you should first complete the process above before going ahead. It may cause bias in your process.

Done? Good.

The keyword that can summarize my year 2016 was:


Every event, every good thing, every stressful incident, every negative word. It all lead to one method of overcoming everything.

  1. Focus: From a worker for someone to a hustler for self.
  2. Mindset: From blaming others to Understanding, taking responsibility and moving on.
  3. Attitude: From breaking the shackles of whatever’s stopping me.
  4. Routines: Mixing up things sometimes can produce interesting results.
  5. Priorities.
  6. Working method.
  7. Change of everything that’s stopping me from becoming a better version of myself.

Here is a quote that shows the importance of this word “Change” in life:

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything

George Bernard Shaw

I advise you to go through this process of finding your One word for the year 2016. And if you do, I will love to hear your feedback on the method, the workbook, and the result.

This year is my first time doing a one word review. I will repeat this process and the post in the first week of January 2018.  With better research, the feedback of people and the results of people who used this method incorporated.

’till next week.

“I Pledge to bring you content you can Rely on, Utilize and Grow.”



  1. My word would have to be determined. I feel like I have been determined to be a better person!

  2. My word of the year is hectic, but so much more spring to mind l. But certainly good for thought!

  3. I love your one word philosophy for the year end and going forward into 2017. Of course its very hard to stick to resolutions but recapping and finding one think that needs working and concentrating on that can make the difference. My word confidence……

    • Thanks Kathryn. I think so too. All through January I was searching for ways to make the new year resolutions stick that can help my readers. But no realistic solution came. A one word philosophy is easy to keep track of. I have my word written in the center of my work room wall to remind me everyday.
      And great word.

  4. I believe in the quote of the George Bernard Shaw! Change is the universal law. And therefore one need to change accordingly as the time passes. It is a great approach for the self-development!

  5. 2016 was like a roller coaster ride for me! I was challenged and consoled but at the end I was on right track. My word for 2017 is calm.

  6. What a cool outlook. I love your word change! Mine would have had to have been motivated.

  7. Oh, hey! That is mine too! CHANGE. Big and sometimes hard but good changes describe well my 2016. A lot in my life got on the right track…so from here….I am planning to GROW in 2017 🙂

  8. I think it’s really important to focus on self development and finding a way to live in harmony with yourself. This looks like a great way to work out how you should move forward and focus on you and not what you see others doing on social media.

  9. This is great .. I haven’t thought of it quite like this before. My word for the year has been peaceful.

  10. This is very insightful. I’ve never really paid attention to coming up with a word for the year. Thanks for explaining what benefits it can give you.

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