Inspire: How to choose a word of the year and use it to create positive change

How to choose a word of the year

The next blog post in my Inspire series is about a word of the year. Choosing a word of the year can be a lovely way to set a positive intention of what you would like to bring into your life during the new year. Here are some ideas for choosing a word and how to use it to make small, positive changes throughout the year.

In order to choose your word of the year, have a think about one thing you could bring into your life that would make a real difference. I normally find my word comes to me instinctively for the next year as I know what I want to work on by December. This is one way to choose your word by trusting your instinct on what you think you need and would benefit your life.

Another way of choosing a word could be to think about the 8 – 10 main areas of your life that are most important to you, for example, relationship/marriage, family, friends, health – mental and physical, work, creativity, sense of purpose, contribution, finances, spirituality, self-care, home, fun, personal growth. These will be different for each person, depending on what is important in your life. Once you have chosen your areas, grade each one out of 10, based on the past year e.g Family – you may have spent lots of quality time with your family last year so this may be an 8/10 but you weren’t able to make much time for creativity, so this may be a 4/10. You could do this visually in picture form or just a written list. 

What do you need today postcard

When you have finished, look at the areas with the lowest score. Is there something (a word) which you could bring into your life which would help to revitalise these areas. For example, if self-care, health and spirituality were all low scoring areas, you may choose a word like nourish or nurture to help focus on these areas. Or, if friends, fun and creativity were low scoring, you may choose fun, joy or happy as your word to focus your intention on these areas. I’ve done this exercise for the last four years and have found it really interesting to look back over and reflect on how things have changed with small steps.

You could also look through a list of possible words and choose the one that jumps out at you. Here are some ideas for your word of the year:  nourish – thrive – balance – calm – serenity – peace – hope – tranquility – joy – happy – flourish – fun – adventure – seek – gratitude – grow – soar – surrender – accept – focus – love – slow – connection – brave – courage – simplify – trust

Once you have chosen your word, it is important to keep coming back to your word throughout the year. Make sure you have a visual reminder of your word (maybe on your desk or bedside table) so that you can see it regularly. You could use it as a daily reminder to ask how you can bring more of this into your day?

Another great thing to do is to choose a small, quick monthly action or change based on your word (you could also choose to focus on one of the areas of your life each month from the exercise above and look at how this area relates to your word) so that by the end of your year, you have made 12 small changes to bring in more of what you want and need into your life. For example, if you chose nourish as your word – you may decide to focus on the area of self-care with the intention of nourish e.g In January, you could try and include 10 minutes of nourishing self-care each day. In February, for example, you could look at nourish in terms of your health and aim for one healthy, made from scratch meal a week. Make the little changes achievable and manageable so they are easy to carry out. These could then become lovely new habits for the rest of the year. Hopefully, by the end of the year, you will have 12 new small positive habits and have incorporated lots of your chosen word into different areas of your life.

This year, I have chosen ‘balance’ as my word. I chose this word because I want to look at my work/life balance, including setting boundaries on my working time and my social media time. I also want to find a balance between doing more of what I love with people I love spending time with and less on events I dread and with people who drain my energy. l also hope balance will help me to ensure I am making enough time for self-care and rest as well as going out and having fun.

What is your word of this year going to be?


Positivity shop


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2 thoughts on “Inspire: How to choose a word of the year and use it to create positive change

    1. Thanks so much Amanda. I’m really glad it helped! Good luck with choosing your word x

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