WOTY for 2020

How many of you have heard of the concept of having a “word of the year” or WOTY? I hadn’t until recently. A few of the bloggers I follow are talking about what their words are for 2020. I wasn’t sure if it was for me, but then one day, the right word came to me. Or close to the right word anyway.

Initially, I thought my word should be ADJUST. I was all set to go with it until I thought, is ADAPT an even better word? I looked up their definitions to see if that helped me pick the best word.


  • to change (something) so that it fits, corresponds, or conforms; adapt; accommodate: to adjust expenses to income.
  • to put in good working order; regulate; bring to a proper state or position: to adjust an instrument.
  • to settle or bring to a satisfactory state, so that parties are agreed in the result: to adjust our differences


  • to make suitable to requirements or conditions; adjust or modify fittingly: They adapted themselves to the change quickly. He adapted the novel for movies.
  • to adjust oneself to different conditions, environment, etc.: to adapt easily to all circumstances.

As you can see, they seem to be used interchangeably since each is included in the other’s definition. So, the differences are slight. But I think possibly Adapt is the better word for me. I read that adjust is more temporary in nature, while adapt is a longer-term change. And I think that’s what I’m looking for.

I started thinking of other words that would describe ways to adapt. Words like flexible, compromise, and change. All of these things are necessary as I adapt in 2020.

Why is Adapt good for me in 2020?

There will be many changes in our lives this year. Some we are aware of and some will likely blindside us. Tim’s injury in November definitely blindsided us and will require several adaptations as we move forward.

I’m choosing to look at it as a way for us to begin preparing for his retirement later in 2020. Having him around for the last two months has definitely shown us we need some type of plan.

The biggest thing we need to do is manage our expectations and come to some type of agreement or compromise around those. We’ve already had a few conversations but there will be many more to come. I’ve actually started a list of questions I want us both to answer separately and then compare. This process should ensure we’re considering all the right things as we define and adapt to our “new normal”.

Areas that will require my WOTY

I’ll plan to write in more detail about these as we adapt throughout 2020. For now, these are the areas we’ll need to focus on. Here’s a link to the post I wrote about Preparing for My Husband’s Retirement.

  • Routine – mine, his, ours
  • Finances – losing Tim’s income
  • Diet – what we should and shouldn’t eat, eating out
  • Parents – needing more assistance
  • Recovery vs. retirement – disability vs. leaving the workforce
  • Preparing to be snowbirds – where, how long
  • Sleeping – schedule, quality
  • Managing expectations – getting in sync

As the year progresses, other areas could surface. I didn’t list exercise as it’s somewhat embedded in routine and diet. But I know there are changes I’d like to make once Tim retires such as getting a bike so we could ride together. He can already tell he’ll need to make changes once he’s no longer walking 10 miles a day!! 🙄

Does having a WOTY make a difference?

I’ve wondered about that. I’m hoping that it will. When I’m faced with a situation that’s creating stress, I want to tell myself it’s time to adapt. Stressing is not worth it.

I’m not saying adapting will be easy. I already know it isn’t easy for me to give up my 40 hours/week of “me time”. But I also know Tim respects that plus I’ll want to do more together. Like bike riding.

I may post my WOTY somewhere in my house. Maybe multiple places. Where might I need a reminder?

If you’re interested in learning more about choosing a WOTY, check out this link. I like how she talks about a WOTY being better than a resolution because it can cover so much more and it’s tougher to break.

Find your Word for 2020!!

Let me know if you decide to choose your word for 2020. And I’ll let you know how I do with mine throughout the year.

Happy New Year!!!

18 thoughts on “WOTY for 2020”

  1. Hi Linda! My word for 2020 … Positivity! Daily reminder? My daughter designed a phone screen for me complete with bright sunrise and ‘Power of Positivity’ words. Can’t help but be reminded of my 2020 focus several times a day 🙂 … a good reminder is key to success! Good luck!

  2. Hi, I just discovered your website and look forward to hearing more about your approach to retirement. I have not chosen a WOTY for several years now and have opted for BALANCE, which best represents my approach to retirement and life in general. It sounds like you have some challenges and big decisions ahead and adapt will be a word that serves you well. My husband and went through the adjustment phase of retirement (together) many years ago and are still tweaking and refining, but for the most part, life is good and how we approach it works for us.

    1. Thanks Suzanne. I’m glad you found me!! I just checked out your site and will be following you as well. I think Adapt is probably something I will have to keep in mind even beyond this year. I’m too used to being on my own so it might take me a little longer to get the hang of it!! But I’m looking forward to trying. There are too many positives about not being alone. 🥰

  3. I’ve used a WOTY successfully for a few years now. This year I choose RELEASE and have posted about my process of selecting and how I see it playing out this year.

    I like how you are thinking about Adapting. My hubby is the more introverted one, although I am also an introvert. He’s more a home-body; I like to go out & about more than he does. It’s a continual balance, since I do like doing things with him…he is my best friend as well as my hubby. I think we both are willing compromise for that balance.

    1. I’m excited to see how this WOTY thing works for me. I know it won’t always be easy to adapt. It seems there’s something each day that requires a compromise. It will be a good reminder for me!!

      I haven’t read your post yet but will soon. Can’t wait to hear more about Release!!

  4. My WOTY is actually 3 words originally attributed to Matthew McConaughey – “Just Keep Livin”, his personal motto and that of his Just Keep Livin Foundation. Seems simple enough, but truth be told at this stage of my life simple is about all I care to commit to. Besides who am I to question what works for one of the “Sexiest Man Alive” recipients?

    I am very much an introvert, a long time widow living alone so I am able to do as I please on my own time table. Certainly not the life I had imagined way back when but it is what it is so in 2020 I will be doing my best to “Just Keep Livin”.

    1. I lived alone for many years and I would rather have my husband around than go back to that. But I always know I could survive just fine on my own. While his retirement will require adapting, there will be many positives.

      “Just Keep Livin” sounds great to me. Good advice for all of us!! Thanks Betty.

  5. You are thinking ahead to this “husband retiring” stage of life. When I read one of your posts about becoming a bum I thought “it sounds like my days since retirement” (of my husband). I also am an introvert and LOVE alone time. My husband traveled a lot with his job so I really had alone time 😉. We did not have conversations about this next stage and it has been bumpy for me. We are 8 years down that road and somethings have smoothed out…but my extremely extroverted husband would like us together 24/7. Right now we are entering another stage… living part time here in Illinois and part time near our daughter and family in Iowa (!). The space is much smaller along with all the things that happen when you resettle in a new area…no outside social contacts, scheduled activities, etc. Keep having those conversations and I look forward to hearing how well things flow in this yearly changes! Looking into the WOTY…I have done it a couple of times and did find it centered me to have that focus.

    1. Where in Iowa is your daughter and family? Maybe we’re close!!

      Good to know that these conversations will help us. Guess it only makes sense. My own retirement was so smooth. I know being together all the time will require good communication. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      1. Our daughter lives in Humboldt…just north of Fort Dodge. How far are you from there? We have rented a place there for now. I was there pretty much August to just last week and now we will probably be there a week or so every month. For special things and to make sure we get to see the little ones often. It is nice to have the ability to visit with our daughter more often… our other daughter has sights set on us spending time with her in MA down the road. I do believe the daughters have a plan to have their “elderly” parents near one of them in the future!😉

        1. We’re in West Des Moines so maybe an hour and a half or so from Humboldt. I grew up in Webster City so I’m familiar with that area. Our grandkids are in the Quad Cities. Not as close as we’d like. How fortunate you can spend so much time with yours.

          1. WOTY…. after bouncing back and forth between different words, I think I have one at least for now! Consistent….I need to be consistent in my life. I am a better person when I get enough sleep, take time away, eat more balanced foods, get some movement in my day, take time to cross stitch, read if only for 15 minutes… So my word is to be consistent in my life. Interestingly as I’ve pondered the word I do see that when I am consistent i also have more time, energy, positive energy to do more that feeds my soul.

          2. I think that’s a great word and probably one I could use as well. While variety is nice, I do think consistency grounds us more and provides that positive energy. Good luck in 2020!!

  6. That sounds like a perfect word for your new reality… and the changes that are sure to come in 2020. I would love to know more about the questions you came up with and – at least those that aren’t too personal – the answers you both gave. Wouldn’t it be nice if all soon-to-be-retired couples were required to fill out a questionnaire so they could better understand each others hopes, dreams, and expectations.

    I don’t have a WOTY, but if I did, it might be something like Expand… not in girth 🙂 but in activities and relationships.

    1. I do plan to share what we do with the questionnaire because I think it might help others. I’m still refining it but hope to get it done in the next week or so.

      Even without an official WOTY, good luck with expanding your activities and relationships. Not easy for us as introverts.

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