My Word for 2018 – Simplicity



“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hofmann

Simplicity is my word for 2018. The term showed up in a private Facebook message from a friend asking about my blog. Agnes and I talked about growing our readership, then she added, “… while keeping it simple.”

The word “simple” stood out, which is typically how finding my word for the year happens. It simply shows up and I know it. I wasn’t totally convinced it was the word, though, until I was sick a couple of days later.

When I didn’t feel well, I kept things simple. I slept when I was tired. I ate when I was hungry. I gave myself permission to only do what was necessary, like the quote at the beginning says. I set out to accomplish one or two things on my to-do list instead of 10.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Confucius

My day felt manageable even though I felt bad. I didn’t have enough energy to complicate it. Looking back, I completed more tasks on my sick day than on the days leading up to it. Looking back makes me wonder what I could accomplish if I practiced simplicity on the days I felt good.

Since 2012, I’ve chosen a word for the year in place of making resolutions. It dawned on me how simple a practice this has been, taking one word to work on for 365 days. Here’s my list since I began in 2012.

2012 Incremental
2013 Ponder
2014 Content
2015 Revise, Momentum
2016 Love
2017 Self-care


When I looked up simplicity, it had more to offer than I anticipated and probably more than I can imagine for 2018.

Simplicity @ Merriam-Webster

  • The state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded
  • Innocence and sincerity
  • Freedom from pretense; candor
  • Directness of expression; clarity
  • Restraint in ornamentation; austerity

Synonyms @ ease, straightforwardness, naturalness, openness, effortlessness, easiness, minimalism, cleanness, and clean lines.

Antonyms @ complexity, complication, and difficulty.

Keeping life simple means in the place of telling my husband I don’t want to hear a family member tell the same story, one I don’t agree with, a dozen times, I directly say to them, “I don’t want to listen to this anymore.”


Rather than discussing with family and friends the quandary of getting our own lives, I’m candid about a self-imposed deadline I didn’t meet. I reset it and finish my book proposal this month.




Instead of agonizing about buying fewer presents for our family at Christmas and rallying for a consensus, I restrain myself (except with our grandbabies, of course) and simply buy fewer presents.


I minimize confusion in my head by focusing on one thing to accomplish today. I worry less if others disagree with what I say and write. I set boundaries about how long I’m online and honor them. When I don’t want to participate, I say “no thanks.” When I do, I show up.

These things sound as simple as sleeping when I’m tired, like on my sick day, if only I lived so simply.


I keep work simple. I do what my husband suggests when he’s editing my blog posts. He asks about a sentence or paragraph that’s unclear, “What were you trying to say here?” I explain it simpler and he says, “Then why don’t you just write that?”

And painting too – I paint in grays because gray is my favorite color.




“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” Frederic Chopin

I believe God meant our lives to be simple (humble is its synonym). My dear friend Betty used to say, “Your first thought is from God and then you mess it up.” She sounded negative until I noticed how right she was.

I write down my next day’s plan before I go to bed, but then I mess it up. I intend to start my morning with an inspirational reading instead of Facebook. I mean to shower before answering emails. I promise myself I’ll walk before sitting down to work …

But then I mess it up.

That is, unless I keep my day simple and listen to what Betty suggested – do the first thing I think about before I mess it up.

It’s simple when we don’t get in our own way.

I’m practicing “simplicity” starting now and into 2018, so I’ll keep you blog posted. Feel free to choose simplicity as your word too and we’ll share our progress. Or let me know your word so we can work towards making next year simply the best it can be.

Do you need to simplify life by choosing one word for the upcoming year? What word makes the most sense to work towards during 2018?

In This Together,


17 responses »

    • Andrew, I love your phrase, so you’re here for the long haul. 🙂 You have to hang around for 2018 and beyond. There are a lot of us who look forward to your insights and wisdom. Thanks for showing up here!

  1. Kim, I love your new word for each year, but this year I really “love” the word you chose! Life is so much easier the simpler we can keep it. I’m not sure just yet, but I may be a copy cat! Keep up your blog as you encourage and laugh with us as we all go through this life together!

    • Susan, I hope you’re a copy cat so we can share ideas about simplifying life. It is best kept simple which is NOT one of my strengths. I think I’m about to learn more about it. 🙂 I love being in this together. ❤

  2. “KISS, Keep it Simple ______” a bygone phrase and advice we often forget in our blissful search for
    “the” solution. “Acres of Diamonds” in our backyard are so often overlooked . Great blog Kim

    • You are absolutely right, Joel … I’d forgotten all about KISS! I spend way too much time trying to figure things out instead of simply living life. Simplicity is far from one of my strengths, so this should be quite the year. Hopefully I’ll live it out with some grace and cross my fingers that I keep the journey toward simplicity simple. 🙂 We’ll see!

  3. Kim, I love this blog post. It made me really think about how much better life can be without complications. Thank you!
    After thought… I think I might try this “word to live by” idea. Excellent suggestion to simplify my life.

    • Hi Frances, thanks for the comment and the birthday wishes! ❤

      There's a book out about choosing your one word for the year and I think that's the title of it, One Word. I read it when I first started practicing this. It's really amazing how much choosing a word has changed my life and how much it's kept me focused throughout the year, which isn't easy sometimes for me. 😀

      I'd love to hear what word you choose. Love you!

  4. My word for 2018 is….LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13, the whole chapter (one of my favorites~The Message) puts it bluntly that we are bankrupt without love. ” So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” 1 Corinthians 13:3 MSG

    In my youth I was such a free spirit and loved everyone and everything! Today I am very critical, unaffectionate and hard on myself. I am basically just trying to get through the day without being accountable, unharmed and untouched. With the world spinning out of control I am finding it hard to just…love

    I need to find my way back.

    Verse 7 MSG…
    Love never gives up.
    Love cares more for others than for self.
    Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
    Love doesn’t strut.
    Doesn’t have a swelled head.
    Doesn’t force itself on others.
    Isn’t always “me first.”
    Doesn’t fly off the handle,
    Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
    Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
    Takes pleasure in the flowering truth,
    Puts up with anything,
    Trusts God always
    Always looks for the best,
    Never looks back,
    But keeps going to the end.

    Verse 8
    Love never dies.

    Verse 13
    We have 3 things to do….
    Trust steadly in God. Hope unswesrvingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. MSG

    Not a “simple” word at all…Love…but it should be. It should be easy to do.

    Thanks Kim! (And I say this in love) It is going to be quite the year for me and my focused word “LOVE”. I am already starting thaw out, feeling warm and giddy.

    Bring it on!

    Love, Jennie

    • I LOVE your comment and you, Jennie! ❤ Also, this chapter is one of my favorites also.

      Love was my word for 2016. At first, I thought "how silly" because I should be loving always, so why choose it for one year? However, it made such an impact when I focused on it for 365 days … really, really, really focused on it and thought about loving instead of criticizing and judging and putting up walls.

      I'm so happy for you! I know you'll have BIG success. You already show so much love, so I know deciding on "love" for next year will open you up to even more possibilities to let yourself shine. ❤

      Much love to you!

    • Agnes, I love that my word came from our message! ❤ I'm already simplifying. I'm not waiting for 2018. 🙂 I hope it does as much for me too. I can tell you've loved practicing it.

      I can't wait to hear your word for this upcoming year. I'll be watching your blog. Much luck and love to you!

  5. From Facebook (Jeanie Johnson’s page) ~

    My friend Kim Henson wrote this inspiring article.

    Perry Tesh, Joel Carter and 4 others

    Sandy Shepherd Pardue Thanks for sharing – trying to simplify my life more and more each year.
    Like · Reply · 2 · November 5 at 2:48pm

    Kim Henson Me too, Sandy! Thanks for reading and commenting.
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 1:05am

  6. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    38 Betty Butler, Stacy Garceau and 36 others


    Mary Lancaster I love it
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 5:47am

    Kim Henson Thank you, Mary Lancaster! I’m happy to already have some direction for 2018.
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 12:58pm

    Mary Orth Moss I’ve been going back and forth in a couple. Will share when I have resolution. 😉
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 6:10am

    Kim Henson I can’t wait to hear your final choice, Mary Orth Moss. The one problem is, sometimes I have word envy and I want mine and everybody else’s too. 😉
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 12:59pm

    Mary Orth Moss Kim Henson LOL! I do get that!!
    Haha · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 1:01pm

    Kim Henson Mary Orth Moss. oh, good! I hoped I wasn’t the only one. lol
    Like · Reply · November 3 at 1:22pm

    Sue Clifton Stayton Great word choice!
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 6:47am

    Kim Henson I think so too, Sue Clifton Stayton. At first it seemed too “simple,” but the word has a lot more depth to it than I thought.
    Like · Reply · November 3 at 1:00pm

    Susan Blanton Roche I really, really love the 2018 choice! It reminds me how the best in life seems to flow so sweetly when we keep it sweet and simple. Kind of like a friend, who you can always be yourself with and things are just so great you can’t wait to spend a special time with again. When things are easy there is less stress and no worries about your conversation and time goes by so quickly. ( By the way, I can’t wait until the next visit). I may have to copy you on this word. There are so many things in life that would help with this attitude and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2018!
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 6:48am

    Kim Henson Oh, Susan Blanton Roche, that’d be fun if you chose the same word. We could share articles, memes, etc about simple things. 🙂 I was surprised at all the things that came to mind when I looked up the definition. Until now, I’ve underestimated the power…See More
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 1:41pm · Edited

    Susan Blanton Roche Kim, yes 2018 could be an exciting but simple year! Yes can’t believe how fast time is moving lately. Today, we celebrate a sweet and simple wedding of my first grandchild. It looks as if its going to be perfect!
    True, just a couple weeks away! Bring the blankets just in case!! Love you more!
    Like · Reply · November 4 at 10:13am

    Pamela Wilk Great choice Kim.
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 7:04am

    Kim Henson Thanks, Pamela Wilk! Choosing a word never gets old. I’m excited to see what 2018 has to offer. Have y’all opened?
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 1:27pm

    Pamela Wilk Kim Henson yes, November 1. I will be joining on December 1.
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 1:30pm

    Kim Henson Pamela Wilk, yay! Very exciting.
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 1:31pm

    Delilah Lewis Love it
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 7:41am

    Kim Henson Thanks, Delilah Lewis. ❤ I'd love to have a simpler life. I think it's happening in 2018.
    Like · Reply · November 3 at 1:30pm

    Delilah Lewis Kim Henson so do I.
    Like · Reply · November 3 at 1:33pm

    Maria Franken Good! 😀
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 9:30am

    Kim Henson You and I are all about simple, Maria Franken. It's a nature thing, I think. It teaches a lot about simplicity. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 1:31pm

    Maria Franken Kim – I agree 100%…. it keeps us grounded in the moment and that's a darn good place to be! 😀 (
    Haha · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 7:11pm

    Kim Henson Maria Franken, yes! Now, remind me! 😀
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 5 at 1:13am

    Mary Mac Leod Kane Thanks so much Kim! This is exceptionally helpful and puts into context an experience I had last week.
    So, as a result of your post crystallizing this experience for me, I want you to know that my word for 2018 is RECEIVE.
    Thank you!
    Love · Reply · 2 · November 3 at 10:24am

    Kim Henson I'm happy to hear this helped, Mary Mac Leod Kane. ❤ It ALWAYS helps me to write out my thoughts and to hear feedback from y'all. For some reason, your word overwhelms me … isn't that interesting??? I'd like to know what that's about, but not today. 😉 lol. Thanks so much for sharing! I hope you'll keep me updated on receiving in 2018 … I may have just stumbled onto my 2019 word. 🙄
    Like · Reply · November 3 at 1:37pm

    Betty Butler I love your idea! The KISS principle – keep it simple, sweetie.
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 3 at 11:19pm

    Kim Henson Betty Butler, I like your version of KISS! It's kinder than the other one I've heard. 🙂 Thanks.
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 4 at 11:23am

    Betty Butler That's just how I roll! 😉
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 5 at 7:44pm

    Kim Henson Betty Butler, hahaha. You roll nicely. 😀
    Like · Reply · 1 min

    Jean Dalton Me too!
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 4 at 12:56am

    Kim Henson Jean Dalton, here's to a simpler 2018! 🌻
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 4 at 11:24am

    Jean Dalton 🍾
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 5 at 12:14am

    Kim Henson ❤
    Like · Reply · November 5 at 1:13am

    Donna Feddick Fagerstrom The word I chose for 2016 was Rest. It kinda backfired on me.
    Haha · Reply · 1 · November 4 at 8:13am

    Kim Henson They have a way of doing that sometimes, Donna Feddick Fagerstrom! 😀 You should have known better between writing and a grandbaby. ❤
    Like · Reply · November 4 at 11:29am

    Catherine Zoller I love the idea of choosing a word to focus on. I quit making resolutions years ago. And I am a champion simplfier–especially in regard to "stuff." If I haven't seen it, needed it, worn it, thought about it, or used it in the last 6 months, it GOES! Less stuff equals more freedom!
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 4 at 2:32pm

    Kim Henson Catherine Zoller, I love your comment. Thanks. Freedom is what I want more of. ❤ I think simplicity will help a lot.
    Like · Reply · November 4 at 11:56pm · Edited

    Catherine Zoller Kim Henson You are right. It will. It's amazing! Get rid of everything you don't absolutely need.
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 4 at 11:56pm

    Kim Henson Catherine Zoller, I've been working towards that goal for months. I must have already known.
    Like · Reply · November 4 at 11:58pm

    Holly Massey I LOVE this word❗️
    Like· Reply · 1 · November 5 at 8:12am

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Holly Massey! I'll share it if you want to. 🙂 #simplein2018
    Like · Reply · 26 mins · Edited

    Tammy James Quinn ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ a million times!
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 5 at 11:08am

    Kim Henson Thanks bunches, Tammy James Quinn!

    Mary Lancaster The more I read this the more I love its profound wisdom. Thank You so much Kim for putting it so vividly in my face! I’ve known for a long time I needed this to be up front in my everyday walk. Simplicity!!
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 9 at 7:06am

    Kim Henson Mary Lancaster, it seems so obvious to keep things simple, but I haven’t. I also think there’s something wise and spiritual about the word. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 9 at 8:33pm

  7. From Facebook (Isabel Thoroughgood’s page) ~

    Isabel Thoroughgood and 1 other

    Isabel Thoroughgood Dearest and very special Kim Henson,
    Thank you for your wonderful post.
    Your word for 2018 – Simplicity is going to be mine also.
    Kim I truly needed this. Yes my dear friend you have done it again
    I intend starting tonight, I need a head start these days. Love you.. .
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 5 at 1:00am · Edited

    Isabel Thoroughgood Thank you dear Jenny Stankevicius,
    Kim Henson is an incredible writer straight from her heart.
    You may like to check her FB page. xx
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 5 at 1:58am

    Kim Henson Isabel Thoroughgood, what a sweet comment! Thank you for it and for passing this along and mostly for your friendship. ❤ I need a head start too. I think that's why I chose a word earlier than usual for next year … to get a jump on it. We'll share our progress, okay? 🙂 I love you!
    Like · Reply · November 5 at 1:11am · Edited

    Isabel Thoroughgood I certainly will try.
    Love · Reply · 1 · November 5 at 4:52pm

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