My Word of the Year #onelittleword: CULTIVATE

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. For more information, read the disclosure statement here.

Do you choose a word to guide your goals or attitude for the year? To represent the direction you want your life to take? To reflect on as you move through the decision-making process? This is my third year to choose a special word for the year, and you can read more about that below. This year, I decided to choose a special word that really resonates with me to inspire my thoughts, attitudes, and goals throughout the year.


beautiful flower bouquetThe One Little Word concept was started by Ali Edwards, who is a designer, blogger, workshop instructor, and author. Ali says she “began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January – a word to focus on, meditate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life.” You can read more about the One Little Word concept at her website.


  1. For me, it helps with goal planning and achievement
  2. Helps with direction
  3. Keeps mindset in the right place
  4. Provides overarching reminder to continue doing what I’m doing, even when it gets tough, and to remind me of why I’m doing what I’m doing
  5. Provides something to judge my projects and task ideas by, before I begin, to be sure they’re in line with my overall goals

Before we keep going forward and talk about my #onelittleword for this year, let’s look back for a moment.

Read about my previous words of the year here. Then you’ll see the progression and growth from year to year! I believe #onelittleword is an amazing concept, and it really helps me keep my focus throughout the year as I work on projects for my business, goals for my own self growth, and relationships with others. It’s such a wonderful place for my mindset. Which brings me to my #onelittleword: CULTIVATE.


Merriam-Webster says Cultivate mans: To foster the growth of something; to improve by labor, care, or study; to further encourage. As someone else put it, and I’m paraphrasing here, CULTIVATE means “to make an intentional investment in the things that matter most”.


Making intentional investments in the things that matter most. That struck a chord with me and resonated on a deep level, and I knew immediately that CULTIVATE would be my word for this year.

What happens when you cultivate a rose garden? It flourishes and becomes more radiant and beautiful than ever before! What happens when you cultivate your mind? You are exposed to new ideas, knowledge, and ultimately, growth!

So this year, I choose to CULTIVATE. I want to invest in the things that matter most. This includes relationships of all kinds (hubby, family, friends, Christ, other teachers and business owners… there are so many whose paths we cross with every day!), my music career (my blog, my TpT shop, my piano students and their families, my college students), and myself (my health and wellbeing, mindfulness, self-care, purposeful vacation time, as well as furthering my knowledge of owning a successful business).

I want to make a difference in the lives of those I meet each day, and in my own crazy life. What better way to do that than to make intentional investments in the things that matter most!

For CULTIVATE to happen, I also must learn to say NO. Saying NO was one of my goals for 2017, (spoiler alert – there’s a free workbook to download!) and I feel like it was a really successful venture! The balancing act works like this: in order to spend more time investing in the things that matter most, I naturally must spend less time on the things that do not.

Read that sentence again. “In order to spend more time investing in the things that matter most, I naturally must spend less time on the things that do not.”

I’m not using this word lightly. I’m using it to foster new and exciting growth and changes in my life. Who wants to join me and make this year the best year yet? Let’s go!


More blog posts to help you as you teach piano:









Don't miss out!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, join our Facebook group for piano teachers, and subscribe to the newsletter to get helpful teaching tips, resources, and tutorials delivered straight to your inbox every week. 

Picture of Melody Payne

Melody Payne

Dr. Melody Payne is a pianist, teacher, and educational resource author who believes that all piano students deserve the best musical experiences possible, in every single lesson. Melody self-publishes pedagogical materials for piano students as well as piano teaching articles and professional development courses for piano teachers. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Music with emphases in music education and piano pedagogy and a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music through the Music Teachers National Association. Melody and her husband Greg live in Marion, Virginia, a small town nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, where she teaches children and adults of all ages and abilities in her online piano studio.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. melodypayne

    I agree 100%, Sarah! It’s always a great idea to work on the things that really matter in our lives, no matter what time of year. Thanks so much for your comment!

  2. Sarah

    Wow! What a great twist on New Year’s resolutions/goals (and so much simpler!). It’s been a long time since January, but the reminder to cultivate what truly matters is good for any time of year.

Leave a Reply


Hi! I’m Melody Payne, a pianist and piano teacher, educational resource author, a fun-loving wife to the most wonderful and talented hubby I could ask for, and a lifelong learner who loves to share. I want to make your life as a music teacher easier by writing and sharing helpful and relevant music teaching articles, and by creating educational resources with your very own students in mind. If you are a parent who wants to enroll your child in piano lessons, I’d love for us to get started building those skills that can give your child a lifetime of musical enjoyment!

Looking for Something?

Blog Categories

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Let's Connect

More Articles to Enjoy