word of the year

Choosing a Word of the Year

It’s finally here! The end of the year 2020! The world seems to be breathing a collective sigh of relief as we prepare to say a much anticipated goodbye to this year. As a result, we are all facing 2021 with hope and optimism for a better year.

I think we can all agree that it is time for a change – a new year, a clean slate, a fresh start. Since the world has faced a pandemic with lockdowns and quarantines, sickness and death, we have all had our fill of face masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing. On top of all that we have faced our own personal struggles such as anxiety, depression, sickness, death of loved ones, lost relationships and so on. And then there was the presidential election in the middle of it all! No wonder we are all ready to move on!

This year I have decided to try something different as the new year rolls around. Instead of making new year’s resolutions, I am in the process of choosing a word of the year. Whatever word I choose will be the foundation for building my goals for the coming year. It will help me stay focused on my goals and the things I want to accomplish in my life.

Why Choose a Word of the Year

Choosing a word of the year is a great starting point for setting other goals. For example, let’s consider the word ‘compassion’. According to Merriam-Webster, compassion means “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” If you choose the word ‘compassion’ as your word of the year, then you can set your other goals in line with that. Let’s say you want to start a Bible reading plan. You can choose a Bible study that focuses on compassion. Perhaps you want to lose weight. You can join a weight loss group that helps its members encourage each other in their journey. Maybe you see the need in your life to reach out to others more. This would be a good opportunity to volunteer at a local shelter, crisis pregnancy center, or other non-profit group that focuses on reaching out with compassion to others.

The Purpose of Choosing a Word of the Year – Staying Focused.

Choosing a word of the year can help you stay focused on your goals. If you are like I am, then you face the new year and new goals with enthusiasm and excitement. Then a month or two later, you lose interest or become discouraged and you begin to slip up. Eventually you give up all together and your entire year’s goals are cast aside and forgotten.

In order to keep yourself from completely giving up, I recommend several ways to stay focused on your goals. First of all, keep your word visible. There are so many options for creating visual reminders. One possibility is to have your word printed and framed. If you are crafty, paint it on a rock, vase, wooden sign or other object that you can prominently display. Another fun idea is to design a t-shirt or a piece of jewelry featuring your word. However you choose to display it should be unique to your word and your style. It should be something you see every day as a reminder to stay focused on your goals.

Second, keep a journal. Be sure to choose a journal in your favorite color with a design you love. Open it up on January 1st and begin writing. Start with recording your word of the year. Next, write down specific goals you want to achieve based on that word. Then record your progress either daily, weekly, or monthly, whichever works best for you.

Third, be flexible. Choose your word for the year and set some specific goals, but don’t write them in stone. Always keep your options open and look for new ways to practice your word. Be willing to try new ideas and add new goals. Be willing to abandon ideas that just don’t seem to work for you.

How to Choose your Word of the Year

So how do you go about choosing a word of the year? As a Christian, I started with the Bible. I began by making a list of all the Bible words I could remember that would be good to focus on. I made a list of godly character traits that a person should strive for.

Next, I considered the trait I felt like I needed to focus on the most in the coming year. There is always something you can work on in your life such as bravery, strength, or contentment. Or maybe there is an area you have always wanted to explore and make a part of your life like hospitality, compassion, or excellence.

Most of all, pray! Ask the Lord what He wants you to work on this coming year. Ask Him to show you what shortcomings you have or new territory he wants you to enter. Follow his leading and obey his voice.

I have compiled a list of 50 words to get you started. The possibilities are endless, so use your imagination and follow God’s leading as you search out your word of the year.

Ideas for Word of the Year

  • beauty
  • bold
  • compassion
  • confidence
  • contentment
  • courage
  • creativity
  • dependability
  • diligent
  • discipline
  • endurance
  • excellence
  • faith
  • faithful
  • fellowship
  • flexibility
  • forgiveness
  • frugal
  • generosity
  • gentleness
  • grace
  • grateful
  • gratitude
  • honesty
  • hope
  • hospitality
  • humility
  • integrity
  • intentional
  • joy
  • kindness
  • love
  • mercy
  • patience
  • peace
  • perseverance
  • power
  • prayer
  • redemption
  • resourcefulness
  • restoration
  • self-control
  • sincerity
  • steadfast
  • strength
  • thankful
  • trust
  • unity
  • wisdom
  • worship

Feel free to share in the comments other word ideas you have, what word you choose for 2021, and how you plan to use it.

Happy New Year!

Wife, mom, grandma, and country girl. I am living by faith and encouraging others to do the same. I integrate faith, family and country living.


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