Choosing your Word of the Year: How just one word can keep you focused, grounded, & motivated all year

Whether you create a vision and goals for the new year or notit can be helpful (and fun!) to choose a word of the year to set the tone for your year. It’ll help you stay focused on what’s most important to you this year and guide you in making important decisions. Read on to learn more!

One of my favorite new rituals for the new year is choosing my word of the year.

I wish I could remember where I got this idea from, but I started it three years ago and I’ve really found it helpful and inspiring.

What is a Word of the Year?

If you’re not familiar with the concept, your word of the year is a word that serves as your guiding star. It’s one word that encompasses what you aspire to, and it sums up your vision for the new year. It’s basically like your theme for 2018.

How you’ll benefit from committing to a word of the year

Your word of the year gives you direction in the coming year.

It helps you stay grounded and focused on what’s most important to you in the new year.

It anchors your goals and helps you stay on track with them.

It serves as a simple and ever-present reminder of what you want to be and how you want to feel this year.

It’s a quick way to check whether a decision or action is aligned with your goals and your vision for the new year.

And your word makes it easier to decide where/how you should be investing your time, energy, and other resources.

How to choose YOUR word

For starters, know that your word can be anything . . . a noun, adjective verb, adverb, whatever. It can be a proper word, slang, or even a made-up word if that’s what works for you.

Ideally, your word will be one that represents/applies to your whole life, and one that you can anchor your goals to. Later in this post when I share my word, I’ll show you how it relates to my overall life and how my goals all tie back to this one word.

When you think of your word, it should evoke some sort of positive feeling for you. Depending on your word, it might make you feel happy . . . or excited . . .  or at peace . . .  or inspired . . . or hopeful . . . or like a bad-ass. It should make you feel some kind of positive.

Before deciding on my word for the year, I like to think back and reflect on the previous year. Then I like to figure out my vision for the new year (you can read about how to do that here). Once you have your vision, you can use it to guide you in selecting your word of the year.

You want your word to encompass how you want to feel and who you want to be in the new year.

Sometimes you’ll just KNOW your word. The Universe delivers it to you like a little gift tied up with a bow. It’s awesome when that happens. That happened for me this year.

But some years, it’s not so clear and you really have to reflect and ponder.

To do this, set aside some quiet time to yourself and start brainstorming words. Write anything down that you think might be a contender. You may or may not know how much I love pretty journals, so I highly recommend getting yourself a pretty journal for this!

Once you’ve exhausted your word ideas, take a little break. Go fix a cup of tea, go for a walk, stretch or do something to put your focus elsewhere so your subconscious mind has time to sit with the list you’ve made.

Then come back to your list. After doing a quick review of your vision for the new year (or if you haven’t created a vision, just think back to how you want to feel and who you want to be this year), and cross off any words that don’t seem to truly fit or that don’t resonate.

In time, you’ll narrow down your list to a few words. Sometimes at this point, one word clearly rises above the rest and you know it’s “the one.”

Sometimes you need to sit with this for a few days and wait for it to come to you. It will . . . I promise.

Being a rather indecisive person myself, if I’m not careful I can start stressing over making sure I pick just the right word. Don’t do this. Instead of putting this pressure on yourself, try to just let it be light and fun and natural. Worst case scenario . . . you later decide you picked the wrong word . . . and if this happens, you can change it!

My word for 2018

In 2015 (my first year with this practice), my word was FREEDOM.

In 2016, my word was BELIEVE.

In 2017, I actually never decided on a word. And 2017 was not a stellar year for me. Hmm . . . coincidence?

After reflecting on 2017, I realized I spent a lot of my time “going through the motions” on a variety of things . . . eating, activities for my business, self-care, how I was spending my time, and my relationships, to name a few.

Because of this, I ended up spinning my wheels a lot without making progress toward my goals and dreams, and without fully contributing to or bettering the things that are important in my life (like my relationships with my loved ones and my own self-care).

In hindsight, I also realized that (despite my nerdy obsession with productivity), I actually spent a lot of time wasting time. Sometimes because I just wasn’t focused, and sometimes because I was spending my time on the wrong things (but I always looked very busy and productive doing it!).

I also found myself making decisions and taking actions without necessarily thinking through the long-term outcome or how they related to my overall goals, values, and well-being.

No wonder 2017 was a tough year for me!

So, that’s all stuff that I definitely DO NOT want to carry with me into 2018!

And this reflection is what inspired my word for this year.

My word for 2018 is (drumroll please) . . .


After looking up the dictionary definition of intention, I’m not 100% sure I’m actually using this word the way it’s meant to be used, but that’s okay. When choosing your word, as long as YOU’RE clear on what you mean with your word, then it’s all good.

By intention, I mean . . .

  • Doing things with purpose (not just doing them because it’s comfortable or it’s what I’ve always done, or mindlessly with no real purpose behind it at all)
  • Being mindful and present in what I do
  • Being aware of my thoughts and how they’re impacting my mindset, emotional state, attitude, and present + future  (yep, I do believe in the Law of Attraction and the power of positive thinking)
  • Being conscious of why I’m doing what I’m doing
  • Being more aware of how my thoughts, decisions, and actions make me feel
  • Listening to my intuition when making decisions
  • Being more present and conscientious in my relationships and in my interactions with others
  • Tuning out the noise and distraction of “shiny object syndrome” (I have a severe case of this!), comparison with others, FOMO, and negativity
  • Being more conscientious about how I spend my time

So in 2018, I plan to be more INTENTIONAL about . . .

How I spend my time

Am I spending my time in ways that are productive and good for me and my relationships? When I’m working, am I actually being productive or am I really wasting time? When I’m doing things for fun or relaxation, am I present in the moment and truly having fun or relaxing, or am I going through the motions or not fully present? Am I spending my time in ways that contribute to my life goals, my business goals, my personal growth and evolution, and my overall wellbeing? Is how I’m spending my time aligned with my core values?

This also means being protective of my time and saying no to the things I don’t really want to do so that I have the time and energy to give to the things I really do want to do.

Who I’m spending my time with

Have you ever found yourself spending time with friends or family members who you like as a person, but your interactions leave you feeling drained or agitated versus energized and uplifted? Or maybe being with them just never really feels comfortable. I’m guessing we probably all have a person or two like that in our lives? It’s not any reflection of that person’s character or value, it’s just that energetically they aren’t a good fit for you.

In 2018, I’m going to be intentional about spending time with the people in my life who make me feel positive, uplifted, energized, and happy. The ones I can just be myself with, be comfortable, and it’s all good.

I’ll also be intentional about the new people who come into my life this year and whether they fall into this category. And on the flip side, I will also be intentional about being positive, uplifting, energizing, and comfortable for them.

How I spend my money

This is a BIG one for me in 2018. Even though I’m not a shopper and not really big on “stuff,” I do know that when I’m feeling down or troubled, getting myself things that I want is a real pick-me-up. It’s like the financial equivalent of being an emotional eater.

For me, this tends to show up in the form of books (How many books do I currently have that I’ve never read? Let’s not count them.); online courses and learning (I am such a nerd and obsessed with learning . . . which in the grand scheme of things isn’t the worst obsession to have . . . but I can tell you from experience that trying to learn too much at one time doesn’t work); office supplies (you should see the pretty color pens I just bought myself . . . shh . . . don’t tell my husband!); and there are more but I think I’ll stop there.

Spending mindlessly does not help one meet one’s financial goals, and as someone whose goal is to eventually leave her job to go full-time with her business and live her entrepreneurial dream, this is something I plan to be a lot more intentional with in 2018.

That means being more conscientious about how I spend my money, being more aware of how much I’m spending and on what, and being mindful of why I’m purchasing/spending money on something (is it because it’s truly something I want or need, or am I just distracting myself from something that’s making me unhappy or that I don’t want to deal with?)

My relationships

Relationships, just like all the other important things in life, require consistent action, attention, and energy to be successful, and this is an area where I need to improve.

Between being exhausted from a job that drains me and requires a skill set that plays to my weak areas rather than my strengths (never a good scenario for job fulfillment or happiness) and my intense focus on growing my business so that I can leave said job, I find myself not giving my relationships nearly the attention they deserve.

And that’s kind of failing at life . . . because what is life without the people we love and care about most?

In 2018, I will be much more intentional about making my relationships a priority and giving them the consistent action, attention, and energy they deserve.

My marriage

Ditto to everything I said above about relationships. When you’re married, your relationship with your husband or wife isn’t just A relationship, it’s THE relationship. It’s the one that should take priority over everything and everyone.

And yet . . . if I’m being honest, I’ve been guilty at times of taking my husband and our marriage for granted and not truly giving my all to them. And we deserve better than that!

So, as with my relationships, I will especially be more intentional about making my marriage and my husband a priority and giving them the consistent action, attention, and energy they deserve (love you, babes!).

My mindset and my thoughts

Positivity was one of my strengths when I took the Strengths Finder quiz many years ago (btw, I highly recommend doing this and you can get the book with the access code to take the quiz for free here).

In 2018, I want to leverage this strength more. For me, that especially means keeping a positive mindset. I really struggled with this in 2017, and I believe it affected my emotional state, attitude, ability to reach my goals, and overall well-being. I truly do believe that thoughts are powerful and that positive attracts more positive.

So in 2018, I will be more intentional about being aware of what I’m thinking, the quality of my thoughts, leveraging my natural positivity, and choosing a positive mindset.

Along with that, I will be very intentional about not letting others affect the quality of my thoughts, my positivity, and my mindset and attitude (easier said than done!). There is one person I am forced to interact with on an almost-daily basis who I have allowed to do just that, and it’s time I take responsibility for this and no longer give that person this power over me.

Enjoying my life

You’d think this one would be so easy! And yet . . . in 2017 I really didn’t do enough of this.

Yes, we had many wonderful times, delicious meals, and some great travel adventures, but what I didn’t do well was enjoy every.single.day. Or appreciate the simple pleasures (something that usually just comes naturally to me). Or make sure I was laughing enough and having enough fun.

There were some tough times in 2017 that definitely had me feeling down, so I could blame it on that, but the truth is I can be guilty of this even when things are going well.

Like a lot of driven and goal-oriented women, I can get very focused on achieving my goals/dreams and forget to enjoy the journey along the way (this is why I use the #wellnessisajourney in all my Instagram posts . . . first and foremost as a reminder to myself!).

I mean, if we aren’t enjoying this life, what’s the point?? So in 2018, I will be more intentional about enjoying every day, appreciating the simple pleasures, laughing more, and having MORE FUN.

This quote that I LOVE by Joyce Meyer pretty much sums it up for me . . .

“Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to enjoy your life.”

Yes!!! I don’t know who Joyce is (I should really look her up), but clearly, she is one very wise woman (and has possibly been spying on me).

And there you have it! All about my word for 2018.

Well. That got a lot more personal than I realized it would! So I hope you don’t mind a little oversharing. 😉

Now I would LOVE to know YOUR word for the new year!

If you haven’t chosen your word yet, download my free cheat sheet below to get inspired and choose your perfect word! 

It’s so exciting and inspiring to hear what other people are focusing on for the new year, so please comment below and share your word for the new year.

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