Why You Need A Word Of The Year & How To Choose One

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Today I’m going to be talking all about choosing a word of the year and why you need one. Plus I’m sharing my Word of the Year Ultimate Guide with over 100 ideas to help you choose your word of the year!

Setting goals isn’t foreign to me but I had never heard of choosing a “word of the year” until I started planning back in 2015. Even though I knew about a word of the year, I never officially chose one until 2018.

Each year I’ve done something different to document my word of the year. In 2023 I included my word of the year and subsequent goals on the January currently page in my Happy Planner. While this worked at first once I moved past the 3 months that I keep in my frankenplanner, I lost sight of my word of the year.

My Words Throughout The Years

Whether you call it manifesting or something else, it does work and I’ve chosen a word of the year every year since.

  • 2018: Focus
  • 2019: Persevere
  • 2020: Shine
  • 2021: Grow
  • 2022: Reach
  • 2023: Build

So for 2024 I decided to create a dedicated tab in my frankenplanner to my Word of the Year and Goals. Be sure to checkout my multi-part series on Goal Setting and Productivity over on my Youtube channel for more tips and inspiration.

The latest on Youtube:

You might be asking yourself “what is a word of the year” and “why do I need one”. Let me assure you, you’d be amazed at how strong an impact one word can have in your daily life!

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In this post I’ll be sharing with you the purpose for choosing a word of the year and how to choose a word that resonates with your goals.

I’ll also be sharing with you my Ultimate Guide Word of the Year printable. This printable can be printed and placed in your planner for easy access any time of the year. More importantly, it will help you to choose a word of the year as well as set goals with that word in mind.

Need a little help getting started choosing a Word of the Year? Be sure to check out this 10-page guide!

So let’s dive deeper into the subject of selecting a word of the year.

What is a Word Of The Year?

A word of the year is a single word you select that sets your intentions for the year. This word helps to keep your priorities straight and guides all of your decisions throughout the year.

Think of this word as a focus word…a compass guiding you to the end result you wish to achieve. For example, in 2021 my word of the year was “grow”. To achieve growth I employed a 4-6 page Kanban Board directly in my planner detailing the different areas I wanted to grow in.

How you structure your planner pages or sections to help you keep your word of the year and goals at the forefront of your decisions and actions is completely up to you. Having had experience using a variety of ways to accomplish this I would suggest keeping a separate tab for these functions.

Just a quick note. A “word of the year” is the same as “one little word”.

Why You Need A Word Of The Year

Whether you wish to have a word of the year for personal or business reasons, having one will help you stay on track with your goals. For example, if your goal is to lose weight having a word of the year (that supports this goal) will help you stay focused when you feel most vulnerable (or you just want to eat the cake!).

Your word of the year will help you persevere when you feel like everything is failing or falling apart. Goals are hard work but they can be accomplished with focus!

Another note I’d like to make about setting a word of the year is that this is not something you need to do at the beginning or for the beginning of each year. A word of the year can be chosen any time during the year.

Let’s say you’ve chosen a word of the year for the start of a New Year but as the months go by you realize maybe your word isn’t working for you and your goals. If that time arises by all means you should reevaluate your word of the year and consider choosing a new one that more in alignment with your goals.

How to Choose A Word Of The Year

Choosing a word of the year is a very individual process and investment. It requires brainstorming goals you wish to accomplish and asking yourself the question “what are my priorities?”.

Keep in mind setting goals and choosing a word of the year should go hand-in-hand.

Be Inspired

While brainstorming stay open to unexpected inspiration. For example, I chose the word “shine” after seeing it on my Happy Planner spiral desk calendar. From there I selected the goals (from my brainstorm list) to achieve that lined up with my word.

List Goals First

If you are still struggling to find a word of the year, try listing out the goals you want to achieve. Sometimes this helps to guide you to the word that will work best for you. If you find you are listing more goals for business, look for words in that area (such as, “grow” and “build”).

Take the stress out of choosing a Word of the Year with this Ultimate Guide Printable.

Create A Vision Board

Now that the hard work is done you need to be sure you are seeing your word on a daily basis. This is where the fun and creativity begins!

One creative way to do that is to create a vision board. Simply put, a vision board is a creative visualization that helps you focus on your goals. If you are not sure where to start, check out How To Create A Vision Board For Your Planner.

How To Create a Vision Board or Dream Board | Behind the Designs Blog

There are a number of ways to ensure you see your word daily.

  • Turn your word into phone or desktop wallpaper (you can easily do this by taking a picture of your vision board!).
  • Have your word turned into a personalized wire name piece (like in the photo above). Lots of Etsy stores offer customizations to their decorative wire art.
  • Write your word down at the top of each monthly and weekly page in your planner.
  • Create a personalized word vellum sheet to add to your planner.

Struggling To Make A Decision?

Ask yourself: “Is what I’m doing lining up with my word of the year?”

Do you have other ideas on creative ways to embrace your word of the year? Drop me a comment below I’d love to hear them!

Other Tools and Inspiration

Get the Ultimate Guide

Outlined in this post are just a few ways to help you decide on a personal word of the year. If you are looking for a more in-depth approach with tools and supplements, be sure to check out the Ultimate Guide to Selecting a Word Of The Year planner printable.

If you are inspired to create a word of the year don’t forget to share by tagging me on Instagram and using #btdinspired, I’d love to see your work (and I just might repost your photo)!

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