2019 Word of the Year: Cultivate

watercolor word of the year cultivate handlettering Anna Kay Artworks

I’m about to dish out another “clean slate” cliche about January but darn it if it isn’t just the best combination of feelings. Like staring at a new piece of paper - there’s so much possibility of what it could become and you’re equally excited to start something new and terrified of messing up the perfect blank page (confession: I get this same feeling starting new planners and notebooks). Except in life, we don’t really have the option of NOT marking the pages. But, like with art, we can go in with a plan, or an intention.

I wasn’t really on the “word of the year” bandwagon till I was outlining some goals last year and a word just hit me in the brain. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and it really guided me, especially throughout the first half of the year. I feel like I could tell exactly when I stopped using my word as a guiding star because I look back on the work I did or my relationships from that time and see how they changed. This year, I’ve got a 30-day action plan to create a habit every day of asking “How can I live out my word today?”

I find specific definitions help me, so here’s how good ol’ dictionary.com defines my word:

cultivate (verb): to promote or improve the growth of  by labor and attention.

I have this mental image of a gardener (like an actual one, not plant-killer AK over here) reaching their hands deep into earth and putting physical effort into growing something. Not just growing, though, but also nurturing already-living things. Pruning and shaping, wisely making each decision to benefit each individual plant. That’s who I want to be in my life this year: a wise gardener. But instead of working on camellias or azaleas, I’m working on my business, my relationships with family and friends, my home, and myself.

My action plan lays out 30 specific things to do over 30 days to jumpstart living by my word, but they’re pretty personal so how ‘bout an overview instead? :)


2018 saw SO much growth and learning and changing in this little art business of mine; I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who invested time, faith, and money in me and my dream throughout the year! I learned a few things about what’s working and what isn’t, so I hope to do some pruning while still nurturing the things that did well. I also want to spend more time expanding my skills (and therefore my offerings) and improving. Finally, I want to find a way to give back and bring glory to God from this platform - whether it be aligning my business finances with a charitable organization or through specific paintings. (If you have thoughts or ideas on that, comment below or send me a DM on Instagram!)


Most of my personal goals revolve around being better at relationships - reaching out, responding promptly, actually going and getting that coffee we always talk about, calling my grandparents more often, doing something sweet for my husband just ‘cause. I’m literally the worst at all of this. (Except with my mom. I call her basically every day. Hi, Mom!) I also want to try a few things just for me: yoga, meditating, and making time to do some paintings or other artistic projects just for myself!

Well, thanks for sticking with me through that! I’m hands-down a Type-A planner person and feel soooo much better when I know what the deal is going to be! What about you? Do you have a word or intention for the year? How are you going to make sure you stick with it?