My Word of the Year + 120 More Ideas for the New Year

In recent years, new year’s resolutions have practically become obsolete, because let’s face it — who really keeps their resolutions for a whole year?  Instead, many people are choosing a single word that represents something meaningful for the upcoming year.  It’s usually one little word that is important to your personal life, mental health, professional goals, and/or personal growth.

It’s a guiding word of the year that will help you keep going in the right direction at all times, making all the best decisions.  It can also be a phrase of the year, as long as it is easy to keep at the forefront of your mind!  In this article, you’ll learn my word of the year, plus find lots of ideas for your word of the year and you’ll learn how to choose a meaningful and purpose-driven word of the year. 

mature woman dressed in white clothes holds a snowflake in front of her face in a silly, playful way

Key Takeaways

  • In recent years, many people have chosen a word or phrase of the year instead of a new years resolution at the beginning of each new year because they are simpler and more meaningful.
  • Choosing the right word of the year will help you stay focused on your goals and aspirations for the coming year. Your word should represent a common theme that encompasses all your goals.
  • You will want to internalize your word of the year and embrace it for the entire year. Let it empower you.

What is a Word of the Year?

A word of the year should be a power word that helps guide all your decisions for the coming year. It should be something that is a theme among all your goals for the year.

It should be a word or phrase that is a constant reminder for you to focus on creating the change you want in the coming year.  Your word of the year will keep you on the right track by bringing more awareness and intention to what’s genuinely important to you.  

A word of the year is simple, yet powerful. You’ll be able to internalize it throughout the year and let it empower you to accomplish your goals, whether personal, professional, or both.

a white flag that says surrender, which is my word of the year for 2024

My Word of the Year (2024)

I didn’t choose my word of the year until late this year. Usually I start working on it near the end of the year and have selected it by January 1st.  But in the past year, I have had many personal challenges that left me feeling somewhat numb and confused about life, so it was difficult to choose a perfect word.  I almost chose grief because I’ve had to learn to live with grief since my 90-year old father died seven months ago.  My sister and I are now orphans — it’s a new feeling for both of us.

I actually looked at a Word of the Year Generator online to help me figure out my own word of the year. It gave me some ideas, but I just didn’t find a great word that touched my soul. Or ignited my spirit. I’ve had too many life changes in the past year and felt like I needed God’s grace to help me figure things out. 

So here I am almost at the end of January, and I’m just now choosing my word of the year.  Actually, I have two words, but that’s what usually works best for me.

My word of the year is SURRENDER because I am going to surrender all expectations and find peace within the boundaries that have been set for me due to circumstances beyond my control.

For more than 11 years, I have faced one personal or professional crisis right after another. In fact, these have been the hardest years of my life. I’ve decided that I want to surrender my long-term dreams, and accept that life has me on a different path than I expected at this point, but I will find inner peace within the beautiful life God has given me:)

My second word of the year is ACCEPTANCE. As part of surrendering to my circumstances, I have to accept what life has thrown my way and maintain a positive mindset. Period. It’s the only way:)

My Past Words of the Year

In previous years, I have sometimes used phrases of the year.  Honestly, I was more inspired by my phrases of the year than by any new years resolutions I ever made.  In fact, I stopped making those years ago anyway! They seemed to be meaningless by February!  

So let me share my previous words of the year for your inspiration: 

  • 2019: Grateful, Thankful, Blessed
  • 2020: Adapt, Mindfulness
  • 2021: Intentional Living, Live with Grace
  • 2022: Empowerment
  • 2023: Attitude of Gratitude, Strength

A good word of the year will actually apply to several areas of your life. It will give you hope, keep you going, motivate you, and empower you every day. Think about how a word of the year can be applied to different areas of your life.

teal colored paper with power words accept understand and empower written on it

How to Choose a Word of the Year 

You can start by asking yourself the following questions and reflecting on your answers:

  1. What could you use more of in your life?
  2. What could you use less of in your life?
  3. What characteristics would you like to see within yourself?
  4. At the end of each day, how do you feel?
  5. How would you rather feel? 

After you have asked yourself these questions, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Reflect: Think about the last year, and list the things you want to focus on in the next year. Some of this can be taken from your answers to the questions above.  
  2. Visualize: Identify your big goals for this year and determine the common theme[s] of your list. You could make a vision board to help you with this process. 
  3. Create a list: Make a shortlist of words that might work. This should be like a brainstorming session you do with a friend or loved one. Nothing too long or complicated.
  4. Review and refine: Decide which of the words feel like they will be the MOST motivational. You should not hurry this process.  Do it over time. 
  5. Think about what kind of person you want to become: Write down words that describe that person. Think about connections between these words and words from your other list.
  6. Make sure the word is something you want to do: Review your list and eliminate those words that represent something you think you should do rather than something you genuinely want to do
  7. Review the list of words again: Choose one to five that really speak to how you want your year to feel.
  8. Narrow it down: Review the words together with your partner or best friend, then narrow it down to the one that feels right in your heart.

Here’s a video that explains the process in more detail: Tips for Choosing Your Word of the Year

Word have power written on a pile of sticky notes and a light bulb cut-out

120 Word of the Year Ideas (2024)

If you are still unsure what your word of the year should be, then go through this list and see if something resonates with you. Think about last year and how you felt about life.  Ask yourself the questions from above and reflect carefully on your answers. Think about all the different goals you have for the coming year and what would be common themes among those goals.  Good luck!  

  1. Abundance
  2. Acceptance
  3. Achieve
  4. Adapt
  5. Adventure
  6. Aligned
  7. Authentic
  8. Available
  9. Awaken
  10. Awareness
  11. Balance
  12. Believe
  13. Better
  14. Blessed
  15. Bold
  16. Breathe
  17. Calm
  18. Celebrate
  19. Centered
  20. Challenge
  21. Change
  22. Charisma
  23. Commitment
  24. Compassion
  25. Confidence
  26. Connect
  27. Conquer
  28. Creativity
  29. Cultivate
  30. Dedicated
  31. Determined
  32. Devotion
  33. Discipline
  34. Dream
  35. Embrace
  36. Emerge
  37. Empower
  38. Endurance
  39. Energy
  40. Evolve
  41. Excellence
  42. Expansion
  43. Explore
  44. Express
  45. Faith
  46. Family
  47. Fitness
  48. Flexible
  49. Focus
  50. Forgive
  51. Freedom
  52. Friendship
  53. Fun
  54. Generosity
  55. Glow
  56. Grace
  57. Gratitude
  58. Grounded
  59. Grow
  60. Happiness
  61. Harmony
  62. Honesty
  63. Hope
  64. Humility
  65. Integrity
  66. Intentional
  67. Intuition
  68. Joy
  69. Kindness
  70. Learn
  71. Listen
  72. Love
  73. Magical
  74. Magnify
  75. Mindfulness
  76. Minimalize
  77. Movement
  78. Nourish
  79. Nurture
  80. Organize
  81. Passion
  82. Patience
  83. Pause
  84. Peace
  85. Permission
  86. Persistent
  87. Play
  88. Polish
  89. Present
  90. Prioritize
  91. Progress
  92. Purpose 
  93. Radiant
  94. Recovery
  95. Relationships
  96. Release
  97. Reliable
  98. Renewal
  99. Reset
  100. Resolute
  101. Restore
  102. Rise
  103. Risks
  104. Rooted
  105. Shine
  106. Simplify
  107. Slow
  108. Smile
  109. Sparkle
  110. Strength
  111. Teach
  112. Thrive
  113. Tranquil
  114. Trust
  115. Value
  116. Vitality
  117. Wellness
  118. Whole
  119. Zen
  120. Zest

What to do with Your Word of the Year 

Now that you’ve chosen a word of the year, or a phrase of the year, it’s time to make sure you internalize it.  It’s a good idea to write it on a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror so you see it every morning and night. I always put it on a sticky note on my car dashboard and my desk at work, also. 

Use your word or phrase in your daily journal writing, planner, and your positive affirmations. Think about your word or phrase in your guided meditation exercises. Let others know about your word of the year so they can support you in your efforts and goals for the year. 

When applicable, I used it on my social media posts, too.  If I were sharing a favorite quote or a meme, and my word of the year was pertinent, I would use a hashtag with my word of the year on the post.  I used my word or phrase in blog posts and conversations, from the beginning of the year to the end.  It became a part of me. 

small blocks that spell out the word balance

How to Stay Motivated with Your Word of the Year

Staying motivated with your word of the year can be challenging, but here are some tips to help you stay on track:

  1. Write it down: Writing your word of the year down and placing it somewhere you will see it every day is important to help you stay motivated and focused on your goal.
  2. Create a vision board: Create a vision board that includes your word of the year and other images that represent your goals. This will help you visualize your success.
  3. Set reminders: Set reminders on your phone or computer to remind you of your word of the year. This will help you stay on track throughout the year.
  4. Celebrate your successes: Celebrate your successes along the way, no matter how small they may seem. This will help you stay motivated and focused on your goal.
  5. Stay accountable: Share your word of the year with trusted friends or family members and ask them to hold you accountable. This will help you stay motivated and committed to your goal.

Remember, choosing a word of the year is a powerful way to set your intention for the year ahead. Keep your word of the year in mind as you go about your daily life and use it as a guide to help you make decisions that align with your goals and aspirations.

top view of a desk with a pad of paper that says new year new me

Final Thoughts:  My Word of the Year 

Choosing a word of the year is a powerful way to set your intention for the year ahead. It can become a guiding beacon, shaping your journey with intention and clarity. You might have a desire for new things in your life, or have a yearning to enhance a particular aspect of your life. Choose a word that will help you with your big goals. 

Forget the traditional New Year’s resolutions and instead choose a word of the year– a focus word. This single, powerful word (or short phrase) can help you stay focused on what you want to achieve and provide an anchor for your decision-making throughout the new year. 

Love to ALL! ~ Susan

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