How to Discover Your Word of the Year

Word of the year. You may have seen that phrase a time or two and wondered what the heck it meant. A word of the year is like a guidepost, or a lighthouse. It is your touchstone that reminds you to come back to your overall goal or focus. I’ve had a word of the year for the past four years, and I’ve found that having one helps me re-frame and adjust as the year progresses, so anytime I’m caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, my word of the year pops in to remind me to slow down, and focus on what’s really important.

And honestly, your word doesn’t have to be a word exactly. If you’ve found a phrase or quote that works for you, go for it. You know me, I tend to not follow the rules anyway. ;)

So how do you find a word?

Each year my process looks a little different for finding my word of the year. Some years when I set time aside to think or mediate about my word of the year, one instantly comes to me. Last year was like that for me, as my word was balance - I was looking to achieve better balance across all areas of my life: work/life, mental/physical, spiritual/mundane. This year was harder. It took me weeks to find my word. So how did I find it? First I just set in intention and asked the universe for guidance, to send me signs to help me find my word of the year. And I paid attention. As I noticed words (while reading, talking, in a podcast and so on) I would mentally try them on. Did that word light me up and fill me with joy? Did that word spark or resonate with me? With your word of the year, your word should encompass your goal or theme for the year ahead, but also resonate with you. When you think of your word or say it, you should feel it in your body. Perhaps it’s a warm feeling in your gut that spreads out in your body, or maybe you feel your cells vibrating and dancing in joy.

After a couple of weeks of doing this, I had a direction I knew my word was in, but still hadn’t found my exact word. I kept playing with words like focus and drive, but they didn’t quite fit. I knew that 2018 was going to be a year of intense work, but that work was a foundation of groundwork for the years to follow. My word just kept alluding me.

But then on a whim, I purchased the Powersheets Intention Goal Planner. This planner isn’t a daily or weekly planner, but rather a planner that helps you see your overall goals for the year, quarter and month, and plan them out accordingly. It’s a great additional to your traditional weekly or daily planner. But back to the story. As I was flipping through the planner and completing sections, I came across a quote in the planner (seen below). “You can’t grow something by soaking it in a bucket of water all at once. In the same way, you can’t work hard on a goal, giving it your all for one day out of your life, and then forget about it come January 2. Commit to daily tending.”


Daily tending jumped out at me as I read that. It called my name and leaped off the page to give me a giant hug. I knew, without a doubt, that this was it. My word. Tending. Tend. Because that was what 2018 boiled down to for me. The tending of my work. Of my life’s work. Of my soul’s work.

Keeping your word front and center

You may be wondering, how do you remember your word and keep it as a reminder? I usually have my word displayed in multiple areas: the front page of my bullet journal, on my yearly vision board, and the past two years I purchased word of the year flags from Roots and Feathers.


Want more guidance?

Want a little more guidance in finding your word of the year? I created a free workbook just for that! Just enter your email below to have it delivered straight to your inbox!

I hope 2018 is your best year yet.


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