What’s in a Word?  Adopting One Word to Guide Your Year

January 2022

by maria weidich

New Year's Resolutions. We've all made them. We have the best intentions. We strive to exercise more, eat healthfully, get organized, and tighten up those finances. Some may find success in setting these goals. Statistically, though, most of us will lose motivation in a couple of months or even a matter of weeks.  

What if there was a more effective and holistic way to achieve your goals while also living more intentionally for the entire year? 

Introducing: The Word of the Year.  

This ever-growing trend is quite straightforward, and anyone can do it. Simply choose one word that encompasses what you want to bedo, or feel in the coming year. One word that will bring focus and intention, serving as a compass to direct and guide you along the way. As a result, one word will help you achieve not one but many goals you set for the year. 

After the birth of my daughter, I chose the word NURTURE as my one-word theme. Not only was I devoting all my time and energy to nurturing this tiny newborn, but the word also served as a reminder to nurture myself as I navigated motherhood for the very first time. 

Another year I chose the word ENERGIZE. I pledged to say "Yes" to things that filled me with energy rather than activities that depleted it. This resulted in spending more time outside with my family and running my first half marathon. Moreover, in my new-mom-sleep-deprived-fog, the word served to remind me that ample and quality sleep is essential to feeling energized. 

The following year, we welcomed another baby girl to our family, prompting me to choose BALANCE. How do I share my time and energy equally now that I have two young children, all while juggling work and "all the things"? Even though I'm still finding my footing (aren't we all?), the word reminded me to evaluate how I was distributing my energy and spending my time.  

So, how do you find your “one word”? 


Write down some notes as you ask yourself these questions as they pertain to both your personal and professional life. Then, brainstorm what you can use more of in your life. What can you use less? What worked well last year? What areas of your life could use some improvement?   


Who do you want to be? What do you want to be? What do you want your life to look like? At the end of the day, how do you want to feel? How do you want to feel at work and/or home? What do you want to prioritize more of in your day? What does success look like to you? 


Based on the reflections of your past and visualizations of your future, begin jotting down words that come to mind. Let your pen run free. There are no wrong answers and no wrong words. Just get the thoughts down on paper. Some words might evoke dynamic action like GROW, LEAP, or PLAY. Others could focus on something more tangible like FAMILY or HOME. 


As you review your list, are there certain words that jump out at you? Do you see a theme? Are there words that bring a sense of calm and comfort? Are there words that excite, inspire, or even scare you?  

Keep in mind; if a word is slightly terrifying, it might be "the one" because it will bring challenge and growth to your life. On the other hand, a word that evokes a sense of tranquility and peace might be the right word if you're looking for empowerment. 


Once you’ve narrowed your list down to three or four favorites, it’s okay to take some time to sit with them before deciding on your one word. Are you willing to do what it takes to implement this word into your daily life? Trust your intuition and try not to overanalyze your decision. Remember, you can always change your mind and choose a new word!  


Utilize your word as a beacon or point of reference throughout the year. Write it on a sticky note and put it someplace (or lots of places!) you'll see every day. Have your word printed on something visual like a piece of jewelry, a notebook, or a piece of artwork. Display your word on your desktop wallpaper or use it as part of your computer password. Seeing your word consistently will make it that much more effective, and you'll be crushing those goals and living more intentionally all year long. 

Finding Your Word...

  • Abundance 
  • Action 
  • Adventure 
  • Align 
  • Always 
  • Ambition 
  • Authentic 
  • Balance 
  • Be 
  • Beauty 
  • Believe 
  • Belong 
  • Bloom 
  • Brave 
  • Breathe 
  • Build 
  • Calm 
  • Celebrate 
  • Centered 
  • Challenge 
  • Change 
  • Comfort 
  • Commit 
  • Compassion 
  • Compromise 
  • Connect 
  • Conscious 
  • Consistent 
  • Contribute 
  • Courage 
  • Create 
  • Cultivate 
  • Deliberate 
  • Delight 
  • Determined 
  • Discipline 
  • Dream 
  • Educate 
  • Elevate 
  • Embrace 
  • Encourage 
  • Energize 
  • Energy 
  • Enough 
  • Enthusiasm 
  • Example 
  • Expansion 
  • Explore 
  • Faith 
  • Fearless 
  • Flourish 
  • Flow 
  • Focus 
  • Forgiveness 
  • Forward 
  • Foster 
  • Free 
  • Gentle 
  • Give 
  • Glorious 
  • Grace 
  • Grateful 
  • Gratitude 
  • Grounded 
  • Grow 
  • Happy 
  • Harmony 
  • Heart 
  • Here 
  • Hero 
  • Hope 
  • Humble 
  • Imagine 
  • Improve 
  • Increase 
  • Inspire 
  • Integrity 
  • Journey 
  • Joy 
  • Laugh 
  • Lead 
  • Learn 
  • Less 
  • Light 
  • Listen 
  • Love 
  • Magic 
  • Mindful 
  • More 
  • Nourish 
  • Now 
  • Nurture 
  • Organize 
  • Passion 
  • Patience 
  • Pause 
  • Peace 
  • Persist 
  • Play 
  • Positivity 
  • Pray 
  • Present 
  • Prosper 
  • Purpose 
  • Reflect 
  • Relax 
  • Represent 
  • Resolute 
  • Respect 
  • Rise 
  • Risk 
  • Sacred 
  • Seek 
  • Serenity 
  • Shift 
  • Shine 
  • Simplify 
  • Simply 
  • Smile 
  • Sparkle 
  • Spirit 
  • Stillness 
  • Strength 
  • Strive 
  • Surrender 
  • Teach 
  • Thoughtful 
  • Thrive 
  • Today 
  • Tranquil 
  • Transform 
  • Trust 
  • Truth 
  • Try 
  • Unlimited 
  • Vision 
  • Vulnerability 
  • Wake 
  • Whole 
  • Wish 
  • Wonder 
  • Worth 
  • Yes 
  • Zen 
  • Zest 

Originally printed in the January 2022 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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