Choosing a Guiding Word for the Year

Choosing a Guiding Word for the Year

The idea of choosing a guiding word of the year has gained popularity as a different way to set a theme to the next year. Instead of compiling a list of resolutions you choose a single word or phrase to focus your journey. My guide word for the past year was consistency and I was doing well until the last few months of the year. 

The  Significance of a Word of the Year

A word of the year represents a single word or phrase that encompasses your core intentions, goals, and focal points for the coming year. It is not a mere trend but a helpful guide. It serves as a reminder  of your objectives and  motivation. It becomes the overview of goal setting and plays a large role in how we set specific goals. Traditional New Year’s resolutions typically are forgotten after a few weeks. But a guiding word of the year is a guiding influence for the entire year.  

The Concrete Benefits of Adopting a Guiding Word

1. Laser-Focused Precision

Selecting the right guiding word of the year compels you to focus  your goals and priorities with precision. Traditional resolutions often lack that type of precision and focus.  We make a long list of those things we thing we “should” do rather that choosing a closer look at what would inspire us to achieve our purpose. 

It’s like a high-powered magnifying glass, enabling you to zoom in on what truly matters. For instance, if your goal is to “improve health,” your Word of the Year might be “vitality,” emphasizing a holistic approach to well-being encompassing physical fitness, mental health, and overall vitality.

This precision ensures that your efforts are directed towards the specific areas you wish to enhance. Instead of a vague desire for better health, you have a clear focal point that informs your choices, whether it’s adopting a regular exercise routine, practicing mindfulness, or prioritizing nutritious food.

2. Alignment with Core Values

Your chosen guiding word or phrase should not only harmonize with your core values but also illuminate how those values will show in your daily life. If “creativity” is your Word of the Year, it signifies a commitment to infusing creativity into your work, hobbies, and problem-solving processes. This alignment empowers you to make decisions and take actions that are congruent with your authentic self.

For example, if you value creativity, your Word of the Year can inspire you to seek creative solutions in your professional projects or explore new artistic endeavors. It becomes a guiding force that bridges the gap between your values and your actions, ensuring that your daily choices reflect your deeply held beliefs.

3. Perpetual Motivation

A word of the year serves as an unwavering source of motivation. Picture it as an ever-present coach on your shoulder, urging you forward. When you face challenges or feel lost, your word stands as a beacon, reminding you of your purpose and urging you to stay the course.

For instance, if your word is “resilience,” it prompts you to bounce back from setbacks, pushing through obstacles with unwavering determination.

Imagine encountering a setback in your career or personal life. Instead of feeling defeated, the presence of your word, “resilience,” encourages you to view challenges as opportunities for growth. You become more persistent, more willing to learn from setbacks, and more determined to overcome obstacles.

4. Adaptive Versatility

Unlike rigid resolutions, a guiding word is a versatile companion that can pivot and adapt as your circumstances evolve. Suppose your word is “balance.”

Initially, it might guide you towards achieving work-life balance, but as the year unfolds, it could lead you to find equilibrium in other areas, such as emotional well-being or financial stability.

The adaptability of your guiding word ensures that it remains relevant throughout the year. If you start the year focusing on work-life balance but later face personal challenges that require emotional balance, your word continues to guide you. It’s like having a reliable compass that adjusts to the changing terrain of your life.

Crafting Your Guiding Word of the Year

Choosing your guiding word of the year is a deeply personal process, and precision is key. Here is a methodical guide to help you select your word:

1. Reflect on Your Goals

Dedicate time to contemplation. Identify your goals, ambitions, and the facets of your life that require refinement. For instance, if you aim to enhance your career, consider how a Word like “growth” can guide your professional decisions and actions.

Begin by making a list of your goals and aspirations for the coming year. What areas of your life do you want to improve or focus on? Are there specific achievements you’re striving for, or is your focus more on personal growth and well-being?

2. Define Your Core Values

Connect with your core values. Your guiding word should not merely echo these values but should also exemplify how they will translate into your daily life. If “community” aligns with your values, reflect on how it will manifest in your interactions and contributions to your community.

Think about the values that are most important to you. What principles guide your decisions and actions? These values are the foundation upon which your Word of the Year will be built. Consider how your Word can become a practical expression of these values in your daily life.

3. Seek Inspiration

Seek inspiration from literature, quotations, or personal experiences. Dive into materials that resonate with you, and let them guide your selection. For instance, if a quote about “courage” deeply resonates, consider adopting it as your Word to inspire bold choices throughout the year.

Inspiration can come from various sources, and it often emerges when you least expect it. Explore books, articles, podcasts, or even conversations with friends and mentors that evoke a strong sense of connection with a particular word or concept. These sources can provide valuable insights and help you identify the Word that truly resonates with you.

4. Embrace Simplicity

Your word of the year should be succinct and memorable. Its purpose is to offer clarity, not complexity. A complex word might dilute its impact, while a simple word like “mindfulness” can serve as a constant reminder to stay present and aware in all you do.

Avoid overcomplicating your word or phrase. It should be simple and could be your personal favorite phrase or word that inspires you. It should be easy to recall and keep at the forefront of your mind throughout the year. Think of it as a concise mantra that announces your intentions.

5. Wholehearted Commitment

Once you’ve selected your guiding word, commit to it unwaveringly. Embrace it as a guiding principle for the journey ahead. Let it infuse every decision and action, whether you’re pursuing career growth, fostering stronger relationships, or enhancing your well-being.

Your commitment to your guiding word is crucial for its effectiveness. It’s not merely a superficial choice but a profound commitment to align your actions and decisions with your chosen guiding principle.

Choosing a guiding word is like having helpful guides with your goals and values. Remember that your chosen word or phrase has the potential to shape your year in profound and lasting ways. Now come the fun part. What will your word be, how will you find it and how will your new year be impacted by this one word or phrase?  It’s an exciting thought. 

I hope you will share your word if you choose this approach to the new year. Last year my word was consistency and I worked toward it all year long. It was present in every single project that I tackled.  I  am working on this year’s word  and am still debating on my word or phrase for the year. So far, I am leaning towards “Embrace Change with Joy”. Next year will mean a lot of changes for me, often changes are difficult. But I want to embrace change as a choice for improvement.

.Until then, if you have your word, I would love to hear it. Please drop a comment or email me at If you would like the list of words that I created to brain storm my word or phrase. Click Here.

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