One Word

I’m not really one for resolutions, especially when it comes to the New Year. There’s something so, well, resolute, about them. Resolutions don’t really allow room for error, or flexibility. Think about it, you resolve to do or change something…but how can we completely change overnight, with just a declaration?!

It takes time to break habits, or change patterns and behaviors. No matter how much I want it, I know I’ll stumble. So more than anything, I resolve to try.

But like a brand-new notebook on the first day of school, the New Year does present the opportunity for a fresh start. In the last few years, I allowed myself the time and space to slow down and reflect on my methods and behaviors of the previous year, and changes that could make a positive impact on my life, and therefore, those around me.

It usually boils down to one word…and it’s a word that comes barreling towards me and rolls over me like a freight train. (Be careful what you pray for, right?!) Two years ago, that word was RELAX. In every sense of the definition…relax my control, my grip, my expectations, my fears…it goes on and on. I needed to surrender.

Last year, I waited and waited, but no new word came to me. Clearly I needed more work on the RELAX part.

Packable Hooded Puffer Jacket (I’m wearing a small) | Fleece Snap Pullover (Size up one, I’m wearing small) | Striped Turtleneck | Leggings | Sneakers | Pom Beanie Hat | Sunglasses

There were a lot of stumbles and missteps, and more apologies than I can count, but I do think I’ve learned to relax my white-knuckle grip. Reading over my last One Word post now, I can see a difference in my thinking and actions. Obviously it remains a work in progress, but I resolve to try to do better.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when over Winter Break a word came to me so clearly and loudly, I found myself looking over my shoulder to see if anyone else heard it.


Ironically enough, Websters defines ‘intention’ as:

  • A determination to act in a certain way: Resolve

What?! My one word is actually a resolution?! But intention is also defined as:

  • To have in mind as a purpose or goal
  • To define for a specified use
  • To direct the mind
  • To proceed on a coarse

Okay, now I get it. Purpose. Direction. Intention.

Strangely enough, the first example that came to my mind when I really thought on this word, was working out. When I’m at Orange Theory (our workout class), I’m not doing one single thing except focusing on the class. And trying not to die. But that’s pretty much the same thing in this case.

I’m not juggling multiple tasks, or paying half-attention. I’m fully engaged and giving it my complete focus. I’m intentional about my workout. Mostly because what else can you do while trying not to die on the treadmill, right?!

But then I realized that workout is the only time I give anything my full intention. That’s a startling and humbling realization. As a wife, mother, daughter, friend, business-owner…none of those roles ever really get my full, undivided attention. Not for long anyway.

And that makes me want to weep. No wonder the word came at me so hard and fast this year. I have work to do!

Packable Hooded Puffer Jacket | Fleece Snap Pullover | Striped Turtleneck | Leggings | Sneakers | Pom Beanie Hat | Sunglasses

Like every woman, my plate is full and I’m a multi-tasking machine! But now I know that by never giving any one person or task my full intention, they aren’t getting the best I have to offer.

It’s one thing to make good use of your time, and another to dilute your time to the point of neither doing things well, or enjoying them. Most days I’m constantly on the defense, taking on tasks as they’re thrown at me. Allowing life to ‘just happen,’ instead of being intentional about my time and talents. We all have talents, but are we using them?!

The first step has been to limit my multi-tasking, which is difficult since I’ve always identified that as one of my strengths! But instead, think, ‘what is my intention with this task/event/block of time?’

The answer is usually clear…connect with my family, write a blog post, declutter my mind, empty my inbox, meditate, exercise…the list goes on. And in order to realize each of these things to their full potential, it takes purpose and intention.

The second is to create space in my life to be still and quiet my mind. That allows me to fill my reserve so that when life does throw me curveballs, I have more intentionality to surrender to each moment. And those moments are what provide the biggest area of growth.

For me, that usually involves getting outside and connecting with nature. Bundled up for chilly walks with my furry babes always makes me happy and brings peace to my day.

Sidenote: Yes, I wear this jacket all.the.time. And yes, I have this fleece pullover in all.the.colors. But when it works, it works! Am I right?!

Packable Hooded Puffer Jacket | Fleece Snap Pullover | Striped Turtleneck | Leggings | Sneakers | Pom Beanie Hat | Sunglasses

I have a choice over my actions, and how they’ll affect my life (and the people in it). I want to be clear in my intentions, and have my words and actions follow that path. I’m excited to see how that impacts my relationships, spiritual life, health, and work.

What is your one word or goals for 2019? I’m partnering with Backcountry to help challenge you to get outside, connect with nature, and try something new this year that you’ve always wanted to do!

I’m a proud ambassador for Backcountry, and grateful to partner with a company that allows me to dig deeper and share my heart with you. No matter the season, they are my go-to source for all things outdoors. Hiking, skiing, biking, or just walking the pups, I find everything I need to stay warm and dry. They offer a range of popular brands, along with their own affordable Backcountry brand.

I’m linking my Winter walking outfit here, and don’t forget you can use code SUGARPLUM15 for 15% off your entire first order with Backcountry!

[Shop My Active Style]

*Photos by the darling and talented Mary Hafner. This post is created in collaboration with Backcountry and ShopStyle, but all thoughts, styles, and intentionality are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors.*

Leave a Comment


  1. Shay Shull wrote:

    Friend, you are adorable!

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  2. INTENTION is an awesome word to focus on! And I love RELAX too. I need to work on both. Maybe my word needs to be FOCUS.

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  3. Jessica Barshinger wrote:

    Love this post. My word for this year is intentional As well. I want to be intentional and all areas of my life ! This was so great to read!

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  4. Deborah Penner wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this. You are an effective writer. I was not surprised to see that you earned an English minor in college. At the college where I teach, one of my majors who is also a writing center tutor said that “English majors read and write better than most other majors. I think that is so because they have more experience with writing and reading.” Have followed you for about 4 years and have appreciated your writing style that is above many others I follow. For the Professional Writing course I teach, we now cover writing for social media and on the web. With your permission, I would love to use this as a an example of a successful piece of writing in the digital environment.

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Thanks so much, Deborah. Writing is one of my favorite parts of blogging, and the part I spend the most time on! I’m thrilled you liked it, and would be flattered for you to use it.

      Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  5. June Pope wrote:

    This was very eye-opening Cassie. Thank you for planting this seed in my head. Intention is being added to my daily routine. I believe it will make a big difference in my accomplishments moving through 2019! Have a great day!

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I’m thrilled it inspired you! Happy New Year! xo

      Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  6. Sandy wrote:

    Wow. This is so deep, I’ll have to look/read it again!
    Just realized from you, my best “flow” activities are all outdoors-skiing, snorkeling, hiking, biking, ice skating-thank you, SP!
    A few words, not one: Baby steps. Go w/the flow. Progress, not perfection.
    Thank you for the discount. : )

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Progress, not perfection….yes, thank you! I needed to hear that! xo

      Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  7. Sevahn wrote:

    Oh my word! This is such a spiritual message today which has touched my heart and soul and thus inspired me. You are a truly beautiful human being and I think you always are intentional in all of your roles. You have taught us to be present in the moment and to enjoy each day with its bumps and hiccups and blissful occurrences. My word for this year is LOVE.

    Speaking of intentions, I intend to use your Neulash serum from Nordstrom so when it is available please link it so that I can start the Neulash therapy for my eyelashes this year! My goal is to be as LOVELY as God made me and follow your example to be a blessing to everyone who comes across my path, whether it’s walking, driving, working, or sharing time with family and friends. The eyes are the windows to our souls, as William Shakespeare reminds us, and you show us how pure and honest your soul is on your sweet hi sugarplum!blog.

    Thank you Cassie! xo

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Thank you so much, Sevahn! Your comments always make my day! xo

      Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  8. Joan wrote:

    Great post. Really got me thinking about how much time I’m wasting on things that don’t matter.

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  9. Kim wrote:

    Beautifully written. You have a true gift of putting what most women feel, think and reflex into words.

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  10. Patricia wrote:

    Thoughtful post. Also liked the comment “progress, not perfection”. I can work with both of those thoughts.

    If I have a lot to do, if I take time to plan all my steps, I can get an amazing amount of work done; “intention” fits quite nicely with that. If I’m not in crisis mode, just dealing with everyday stuff, “progress, not perfection”.

    Between the both of you (thank you Cassie and Sandy) you’ve given me the tools to reach my goals this year.

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  11. Parker wrote:

    I love that you chose the word intention this year! Intention has been an important word in my life for a couple years. After attending a social media parent education event I started asking myself “what is my intention?” before posting anything online. That evolved into talking to my kids about keeping their digital footprint intentional as well. “How will this post make others feel?” “What am I hoping to accomplish by posting this?” Intention has started to seep into other areas of our lives as well and I hear myself often asking my husband if we are parenting with intention? Such an important word that I believe can lead to more empathy, mindfulness and kindness in the world. Thank you!

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  12. Allison Metcalf wrote:

    Oh my word! Literally ha! I ordered the Lara Casey Power sheets this year for the first time. It takes you through the process to find your word of the day etc. My word is INTENTIONAL, so when I saw this post, I laughed out loud. Originally, I kept coming to “purposeful action” I want to complete tasks, finish what I start, focus on ONE thing at a time, be more self aware of what I am actually trying to accomplish in each minute of my day…stop being so scattered. You put into words what I am feeling and cannot seem to express. THANK YOU!!!

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  13. Jill wrote:

    Wow, did this resonate with me, especially since I also work out at Orange Theory. When you are there, you can only focus on your work out, and trying not to die or fall off the treadmill (especially on an endurance day like today!). This is a great reminder to try to bring that kind of engagement and focus to other areas of my life, to be fully present, and live with intention. Thank you for sharing this. This is a post that will stick with me.

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  14. Robin Waibel wrote:

    I actually gasped when I scrolled through your post to see the word INTENTION as that is also my word for the year (maybe for the rest of my life). I am tired of only giving half of myself to everything I do; I don’t want to be the person who is so busy videoing the event that they miss the actual moment. It is going to be hard, but I am up for the challenge!

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
  15. Laura Bailey wrote:

    I am trying to decide whether or not to try Orange Theory. I like the idea of being completely focused during my workout. Would you recommend Orange Theory. I’m very curious about it!

    Posted 1.23.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I really like it! Well, as much as a person can like working out! 😉 But it’s everything I need…someone else telling me what to do and motivating me to finish! Equal parts treadmill, rowing, and weights, so it’s a full cardio and strength workout in 50 minutes. They offer free trial classes, so check it out!

      Posted 1.24.19 Reply
  16. Rachel wrote:

    I know this post is really thoughtful and intention is something I’d like to work on too, but I’m more focused on the Backcountry part 🙂 I’m thrilled because I think that good outdoors wear is a gap in what influencers cover. Can I make a suggestion? Don’t forget the clothes for actual winters (no offense Texas). Good reviews on serious winter coats/gloves would be much appreciated! Just like that perfect Patagonia fleece there are gems but they are hard to find and since they tend to be expensive not a lot of room for trial and error. Thank you!

    Posted 1.24.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I’m thrilled you liked the outdoor stuff, too, Rachel! We’re actually going skiing next month, so I’ll be able to get some ‘real’ Winter gear for testing!

      Posted 1.24.19 Reply
  17. Janie Lang wrote:

    Off topic, but do you know if something has changed with your email subscription? I missed this post as well as several of your other most recent ones, as I did not get my usual email/newsletter/post reminder. Just thought I’d check in to see what happened! Love your blog and don’t want to miss out on anything 🙂

    Posted 1.24.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Oh no!! First up, thank you so much for subscribing! Nothing has changed that I know of, but I’ll definitely look into it! In the meantime, you might want to check your junk/spam and make sure your email provider hasn’t refiled it?! Thanks for the heads-up! xo

      Posted 1.24.19 Reply
  18. Martine wrote:

    Thank you for this inspiration I always love the way you share your goals and feelings…so helpfull for me !

    Posted 1.24.19 Reply
  19. Michelle Kimbro wrote:

    Intention is a great word. I too have been picking a word instead of resolutions. This year is DELIGHT.

    Posted 1.26.19 Reply
  20. Shelly wrote:

    It is going to be a big transitional year for you with senior year and graduation….being intentional is going to really insure you have the quality time in all areas to see you through. I’ll turn the big 5-0 this year and was really not feeling it so I ended up choosing the word Celebrate! I need to celebrate ALL THE THINGS this year!

    Posted 1.26.19 Reply