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A New Year was approaching and I kept seeing people ask what word of the year everyone was choosing. It was everywhere. On social media, in newsletters, blog posts… just everywhere. I have to admit, I just kept scrolling. I hadn’t heard a word yet that I felt was right.
I was waiting. Hoping that I would hear a word and it would just feel right. You know, that “YES! This is it!” feeling? That’s honestly how I’ve been choosing a guiding word in past years.
Then I got to thinking, maybe intentionally setting a word is a lot better than letting one come to you. It should still feel right, no doubt, but just maybe, being intentional about it will yield far greater results than if I let it happen.
Now, let me back up for a moment for those of you just coming into this whole “choosing a guiding word of the year” thing.
What is it? It’s pretty simple actually. Many people choose to intentionally select a word that will be their life theme in the New Year. It essentially encompasses or guides how they approach the upcoming year. It also often challenges people to strive towards personal growth as well.
For instance, someone might choose the word positivity. At that point, they would choose to be more positive, to look at things with more positivity, to change their attitude or mindset towards one of positivity.
The chosen word is the essence of things they are striving for in their life for the upcoming year. It also usually inspires a push towards personal growth that will improve one’s life.
Guiding Words I've Chosen in the Past
My word in 2018 was “growth” and let me just say, the amount of personal growth I experienced that year was enough to leave me breathless. I grew in ways I never thought possible, in areas I didn’t know I needed, and in situations I never imagined.
And while some of it’s been a challenge, I wouldn’t undo anything. It’s been absolutely life-changing.
In 2019, my word for my personal life was “change”. I needed some changes in my life so it’s what I was striving towards, and it’s what I was preparing for. Not only were there lot of changes I wanted to make but we also had a lot of changes coming up that I wanted to be prepared for.
In 2020, I decided to choose a guiding word that also signified the kind of person I would need to be or become to step into the next level of things I wanted for my life. Again, I also knew many challenges would be arising… but I had no idea what 2020 held when I chose the word “Rise”.
I even created myself a motto around it all about rising above the struggle and to the occasion… It was exactly what I needed but also… Let’s just leave 2020 at that.
Going into 2021, I’ve got a word I’m pretty sure I’m going to choose as my guiding word, but I’m also sitting with it for a bit to make sure it’s right. It’s okay to try a few on to see if it’s truly what you want before committing to it.
So what’s your word of the year? If you haven’t chosen one yet, then you’ve definitely come to the right place! Keep reading for tips to finding your word plus I’ve got a list of 150 word of the year ideas for you below!
Before we get into the list of words I’ve put together for you, I wanted to give you three quick tips on choosing a guiding word of the year for yourself.
1) CHOOSE ONE THAT CHALLENGES YOU BUT DOESN'T DRIVE YOU NUTS
What I mean is, the word entices personal growth in an area that you really want to work on, but it doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out.
You’ve got a whole year ahead of you to work on becoming better in this area. Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t feel the need to choose a word in your biggest problem area that forces a massive amount of change quickly unless you’re prepared to take on that emotional rollercoaster.
Just a 1% change a day will create a 37x difference in a year. So, it’s okay to be intentional about your growth and give yourself grace to navigate what life throws at you.
2) CHOOSE A GUIDING WORD OF THE YEAR THAT FEELS RIGHT
Don’t choose the word because everyone else is or it impresses other people. Stay true to yourself and choose a word that empowers you.
Don’t be ashamed to pick one that fits your personality, situation, or life even if you think it’s a word that no one else will understand or like. For instance, my word “change” seemed like an odd one, but it felt right for me that year.
I would even go as far to say, it’s the guiding word that I need in my life that year.
3) CHOOSE A WORD OF THE YEAR THAT GIVES YOU CLARITY
Whatever word you choose, make sure it gives you clarity on what you want in the New Year. Try using the word in full sentences that describe what transformation you see taking place.
I do this to create a motto for the year based on my word.
If you know what direction you’re going with your word and have clarity on what that word means to you, it flows better in your life. Everyone interprets words differently plus so making sure you have clarity on yours will make it easier to follow through.
I would also encourage you to write down your word, what it means to you, and why it’s important and then put it in a place you’ll see often.
Alright, now on to the list.
4) 150 WORD OF THE YEAR IDEAS
This is quite the list and I hope that it sparked a your next guiding word of the year.
I often come back to this post myself as I prepare for a new year, my goals and resolutions, or just simply when I need to find a word for a journey or season. I invite you to do the same.
If, even after reading this list you still haven’t found the right word of the year for yourself, don’t worry. It’s perfectly fine to take your time in choosing, trying on, or flowing with a word. Some years my words come to me almost immediately and other years, I ponder on it for days or weeks.
Did you choose a word or have a question about choosing your word this year? Drop it in the comment box below and I’ll personally respond.
ABOUT ALLISON SUE
I’m a personal growth blogger, a nerd when it comes to books, and a lover of all things journals. When I’m not with you online, you’ll find me with my family, traveling somewhere, or watching Chinese shows on Netflix with my husband. Empowering you with tools to navigate to a life you feel confident about is always on my mind. I’d love to be on your confidence hype squad!
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