Word of the Year

I think we all can agree that in 2020 life basically laughed at our expectations. Perhaps this year we are a little more apprehensive and skeptical about our plans. The year might be over, but the pandemic and consequences are far from over. However, I don’t think that means you can’t look forward to the next year or that you should completely give up on a vision for the year. This is where a word of the year comes into the picture. 

You may already be familiar with the concept of a “word of the year”. I know that in a few different groups, this is a popular resolution alternative. The idea is that you pick one word for the next year that represents your hopes or goals for the upcoming year. Then you focus on that one word to focus your year or set your intentions. Those who are into SMART goals might disagree with this approach because it doesn’t fit that format for goals for the year. You could still do resolutions with the word of the year. I am choosing not to. That isn’t to say I won’t have goals, I’m just not making grand life goals for the whole year. I will be focusing more on each month. What is it I want to accomplish this month. 

I kind of did this last year, but I basically picked a word and then never thought about it again. My word last year was “confidence” which I can’t say was particularly useful or motivating. If you are familiar with the Cultivate What Matters’ PowerSheets, that is essentially what I used to come to a word. This year, I feel a little more prepared to embrace my word of the year because I didn’t just come up with it in the last week or so when most people were thinking of resolutions. 


This word came to me way back in October. I was close to finishing a buddy read for Atomic Habits by James Clear, and it came to me in one of those weird moments of clarity. One of the things I have struggled with for building better habits is inconsistency. The book talks about first building a habit of showing up. 

Like many people, I throw myself headfirst into whatever project or subject currently holds my interest. Some that I have had over the years include TBR jar, painting, crocheting/knitting, waking up early, meal prepping for a week, meal planning, creative planning, Instagram photo challenges, any number of 30 day challenges, daily reading, bullet journaling, regular journaling, even blogging, meditating for anxiety, and the ever present “get healthy”. I can tell you that none of these have ever successfully stuck. 

I had the thought while reading Clear’s book that essentially habits boil down to being consistent. Being consistent is actually the habit I need to build. The habit of showing up. This is true even outside of health goals. I want to be more consistent in my reading, writing, learning, and other habits in general. I’d like to be consistently grateful, consistently authentic, consistently thoughtful. 

Do you already have a word of the year? Have you done one before? Will you do one this year?

2 thoughts on “Word of the Year

  1. I don’t ever do the New Year’s resolution thing, but I do think goals are good and optimistic. I only have so much time/energy, so I try to stick to just one or two things. I guess my word of the year would be “compassion”. I want to have a little more for myself. I think it is that: put your oxygen mask on first scenario. If I’m kinder to myself first, maybe I’ll also have more energy for kindness towards others. I also want to try a little harder to trust people. That ones really hard for me.


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