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How to Choose Your Word of the Year

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2020 is knocking on our doors (HOW??) and this year and this decade are drawing to a close. It’s time to choose your word of the year for the new year!

I started choosing a word of the year in 2018 (or rather, the end of 2017). I felt it would help me visualize and bring more focus to my goals in the coming year.

So far, I have really enjoyed selecting a word of the year and using that as my inspiration and motivation.

Each year, I add that word to my vision board, and plan my board around that word.

I’ve also tried other ways of incorporating it into my life, including decorative stickers for my planner, and buying little trinkets with that year’s word on them.

But how do you figure out what word should be your mantra or focus for the year?

It’s a big decision and one that will shape not only the next 365 days, but will serve as a building block for future years to come.

Here’s my process for choosing a word of the year for 2020!

Make a list of goals for the new year

First things first, write down a list of things you want to accomplish this year. Whether they be new year’s resolutions or business-related goals.

Leave some space between each goal. We’re going to use that in the next step!

Break down the goals into actionable steps

Now that you have the goals, take the space between the goals and write down at least one or two actionable steps you can take to make that goal happen.

Let’s say your goal for 2020 is to get out of your comfort zone more. An actionable step might be to “be more fearless” or “make time for more fun adventures”.

Look for words that are a part of your goals

Now that you have the goals and steps written out, go through the list and highlight any words that are jumping out at you.

This might be words that are repeated often.

Many times action words (or verbs) make for a really good word of the year.

Using the above examples, your word might be “adventure” or”fearless

Other brainstorming ideas

You can also choose to list out qualities you like about yourself, things you’d like to improve on, things you admire in other people or words that just feel significant to you.

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My word of the year for 2020

In 2018 my word was “fearless“. In 2019 it was “shine“. These were words that I felt best described my goals for the year.

In 2018 I was starting a new job, venturing into unknown territory. I was coming off a couple rough years dealing with all sorts of mental health issues, including anxiety and panic attacks.

Since 2018 was about getting my life back, I decided FEARLESS was going to be my mantra. Stepping out of my comfort zone, and reclaiming my life from the fear that had plagued me for so long.

In 2019, my word “shine” was helping me take the next step in my journey. I was overcoming my fears, and learning how to be okay in stepping out. For a lot of my life, I felt like I had to hide myself for various reasons.

I would step back, let others take credit, and make myself small and invisible.

2019 was my year to shine, and I did- I earned two promotions at work, I got up and presented to a room full of conference attendees, and I allowed myself to be in the spotlight for a second.

And it felt GOOD.

This year, my word of the year has to build on that. I want to continue to thrive, and blossom so my word has to reflect that.

I’m leaning towards “grow” or “bloom” for 2020, but have not decided yet!

Word of the year ideas

If you’re still stuck, here’s a list of ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Feel free to use one of these ideas, or use this list as a jumping off point to inspire your own ideas!





Once you have your word of the year selected, plaster that ish everywhere! Get it on your vision board, write it on a sticky note and put it on your mirror.

Make sure that word is a strong part of your consciousness every day. Even better if it’s the first and last thing you see every day. Take that word with intention and go out there and make 2020 the year of YOU!

What is your word of the year going to be this year?

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