How to Choose a Word of the Year

Want to choose a word of the year but don't know where to start? Here are some tips plus a secret that no one is going to tell you...but I will! #wordoftheyear

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Want to learn how to choose a word of the year? Let’s make this as easy as possible!

Have you seen this thing called choosing a word of the year in your Instagram feed? Or anywhere for that matter?

A lot of people decide at the beginning of the year that one word will be their focus for that coming year. It’s not exactly a goal, but it is similar in that you revisit it over and over again as the months go by. (I’ll get to how you do that in a minute.)

But first, HOW?

There are millions of words, aren’t there? How do you choose one that is definitive for you?

How to Choose a Word of the Year

The EASIEST way to choose a word for the year is to choose a subject that interests you. You will have the added benefit of learning more about something that you care about, which is the key to actually following through with your word of the year.

As someone who has made this mistake, please don’t choose a word of the year that everyone else is raving about or that you feel you “should” do. I’ve chosen words before that I felt I should choose in order to grow in my faith with God.

True, I needed to grow in that area, but I was approaching it with an “I have to do this” mindset. Doing so will make your word a chore.

Another way to choose your word of the year is to spend some time brainstorming. Write out every word that interests you without stopping to self-correct. Fill up an entire page. Write, write, write until you can’t think of anything else. And then look over the list. Does something pop out to you? There’s your word.

A Secret About Your Word of the Year

No one is going to say this, but I will.

If the word you choose in January doesn’t fit you come February . . . you can change it.

Let’s say you choose the word, “Brave” for the new year. You’re super excited about it. But a few weeks in, you feel like you’ve read the same thing over and over about the subject and you’ve used all the prompts you can think of in your journal. In short, you feel like you’ve exhausted the subject.

Learn how to choose a word for the year with this guide that you can update all through the year.

Here’s the key:

Even though you probably haven’t technically exhausted the subject, for your own life, you have. And that’s perfectly okay.

That’s what the joy of learning is all about. You dive deep into something, learn what you want about it, and then move on. No one is going to tell you that you are a word of the year failure because you changed it.

Frankly, no one will even know unless you post it on social media. And even then, it’s still fine. You can change words!

Phew, now that we have THAT pressure off our backs, it’s much easier to choose a word, isn’t it?

What I Love About Choosing a Word of the Year

I love how with choosing a word means I end up seeing the word pop up everywhere.

And I do mean everywhere.

I hear someone talk about it on the radio. Someone mentions a book on the topic in an email newsletter. I come across blog posts, sermons, cards, you name it . . . all sharing with me a slightly different perspective.

It’s amazing.

And that’s the beauty of choosing a word for the year. You get to learn more about it. Your art will be affected by it, your writing will be touched by it . . . everything gets dusted with this word.

I highly recommend tracking your word of the year books (and other media you’re consuming) in a journal or some sort of printable workbook. I created one where you can track that information as well as check in throughout the year to journal and write out what you’re learning. What a cool treasure that will be at the end of the year!

Click here to see my printable Word of the Year binder.

Click here to get your word of the year printable binder. You'll have space to track your word and learn all year long!

I made this because I tend to jot down thoughts about my word of the year ALL over the place—bullet journal, regular journal, art journal, happy journal, you name it! This is my attempt to keep this info separate so it is easier to locate and possibly share with others in the years to come.

A Mistake to Avoid With Your One Word

The chief mistake I’ve made with choosing a word is overthinking everything. Last year, I even chose three words which was another mistake. Of course, everything got jumbled together and I ended up not really focusing on any of them.

Turns out it was a year that had plenty to teach me without a word encapsulating it. Still, I would have made it easier for myself had I just chosen a word that was of interest and gone for it. Lesson learned.

When you sit down to choose your word for the year, take your time. Have fun. Dream big and imagine what a little word, a little focus in your life, could bring you. Who knows where your one word will lead you?

Have a lovely {and creative} day!

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