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Choosing a word of the year is so important.  Another way of saying word of the year is a guiding wordChoosing a guiding word (no matter what time of the year it is) is so important.

Yes, resolutions often fail, and yes, a year is a long time to make any sort of commitment.  But by choosing a word of the year, you’re giving yourself a guide post.

A problem for me, is that I often get distracted by new ideas.  Anyone who knows me well, would laugh at this and call it a colossal understatement.  My brain has so many new ideas, I’m like a dog getting distracted by a squirrel.

This isn’t all bad, but I have realized that I need to stay grounded and focused.  As I stand at the end of a year, and look ahead to the next, I want to ground myself with a word that can steer me and direct me.  Maybe it will be one word for you, or maybe it will be more.  But, you do need to give some thought to choosing a guiding word.

Read all the way through this post (or cheat and scroll to the bottom- no judgement- we all have those days) to find the option to receive a free worksheet that will help you identify your own word of the year.

Choosing a Guiding Word – Reflect on a Year Past

As you ponder what your word of the year could or should be, I want you to think back on this last year.  I’m doing the same.


When I look back, something that comes to mind is my 30th birthday clearly.  Oh man, was I excited to be 30.  I was more excited for my birthday than my kids were for theirs!

I wrote a long Instagram post on my birthday.  In that post, I spoke about how my 30’s were a decade in which I wanted to make some changes.  I wanted to spend more time with my kids and my husband… and I wanted to stay in my lane.

Let me tell you.  I started my 30th year with excitement and clarity.  But soon after, I fell into my same patterns of distraction.  I became a drifter again.

I took on more challenges, and I committed to more things.  My good intentions of star-gazing with my kids were gone, and I was straight up hustling again.choosing-your-word-of-the-year-word-cloud

This left me wondering why I couldn’t just follow through on my heart-felt intention to stay focused on what matters.

I don’t want to fall into this trap again this next year.  That’s where the importance of a word of the year comes in.  For me, choosing a guiding word has been incredibly helpful.


Wake-Up Call – Why I needed to choose a word of the year

Time flies.  While we’re busy making plans that we have no intention of sticking to, while we’re busy running around trying to be everything for everybody… we don’t realize that we are getting older.  Our kids are getting older.  And our spouse is still there, wondering where we are.

Hard choices need to be made.  I read many books this year, but two in particular have helped me as I search for my word of the year.

The Books:

One book is called,“Outwitting the Devil.”  This was originally written in the 1930’s by Napoleon Hill.  He never did publish the book in his life time, however, decades after he wrote it, his family allowed it to be released.  It was edited and annotated by Sharon Lechter.

In this book, Napoleon Hill conducts an interview with “the devil.”  The devil reveals how he gains control of humans throughout the course of the interview.  The ‘devil’ claimed that he could control those who were “drifters,” but that he could not control those who didn’t drift.  However, according to the ‘devil,’ drifters are a staggering 98% of the population.

As I read it, I was startled to see some traits of a ‘drifter’ in my self.  Whether the devil in Napoleon Hill’s book was the real devil or not, I was not about to continue following the path of a drifter.

The second book that has assisted me in picking my word of the year is “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown.

I’ve spoken about this book before, because it truly is transforming.  It’s not just talking about HAVING less, but it talks about DOING less, so that you can truly excel at the things you need to and want to.

Be intentional.  Do what’s essential, and do it well.

It’s a humbling… and exciting… and freeing moment when you realize that you’re doing TOO MUCH.


Practical Application- Going Forward

This year, I want to make sure that I don’t drift.  I want to stay in my lane.  I don’t want to try to be awesome at things that don’t fit who I am.  There’s someone else out there for that job.

I want the same thing for you.

As you begin to consider choosing your guiding word, or your own word of the year, I want you to compile a list:

  1. What is your #1 priority? (If you need help with this, check out this post & the free worksheet with it!)
  2. What do you love/what are you passionate about?
  3. You have been gifted and have one or more talents.  What are they?
  4. What do you have time for?
  5. There’s something (or multiple somethings) you can let go of.  Identify those things.
  6. When you get to the end of this next year… How do you want to feel about those 365 days?
  7. What is something you loved about last year?
  8. What is something you would change about last year?

Think deeply about those questions.  Don’t allow your mind to wander.  Be honest with yourself, and don’t hold back. Take those thoughts and answers, and enter them in a journal (I’ve linked my favorite), or on the free printable I created to help you identify your own word of the year.  Subscribe at the bottom of this post to have it shipped straight to your inbox.

What’s your word of the year?

You have the questions, you have the resources, and you have the failures and successes behind you that can inform your decision.  What will your word of the year be?  What will be your guiding word?

I’m picking two.

The first is INTENTION.  I’m aware of how I cannot get back the moments that have passed.  I don’t want to waste the precious gift that whose moments are.  I will strive to live with intention, decide with intention, and love with intention.

The second word I’m picking is TRUTH.

I will hold to what is true, and right.  I will remember that just because someone says something, that does not make it true.  This is a simple lesson I teach my kids nearly every day.  Just because someone says something… does not make it true.

I will be true to myself, true to my gifting, true to my family, true to my passions, and true to my faith.

In the free printable worksheet I created for this post, I’ve included a word cloud of some suggestions that I have thought through to help you identify your own guiding word of the year.

The worksheet will take you through the steps you need to identify your word of the year, and set you up for a fulfilling 365 days.

To get this free, printable worksheet, fill in the box below!

Oh!  And when you go to grab your free worksheet, don’t forget to check your spam/junk folder!  While this is far from junk… You know how testy the internet can be!






How to pick a word of the year... and why it's so important. FREE WORSKHEET included to help you identify YOUR word of the year. #wordoftheyear #resolution #newyearsresolution #intention #purpose #faith
Why is choosing a word of the year so important? So that you can stop drifting and start DOING! A free worksheet to help you identify your 'word of the year' is included to get you started! #newyear #wordoftheyear #personaldevelopment #personalgrowth #faith
Stop drifting and start truly living. By picking a 'Word of the Year,' you'll stop drifting and start living with purpose and intention! Free worksheet included to help you identify your own word of the year! #wordoftheyear #intention #purpose #faith #truth #living #bulletjournal

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Written by cecilyjoy
I help women grow in faith and health, and embrace real food in this fast-paced world.