How to Choose Your Word of the Year + 100 Suggestions

word of the year

I’ve been picking a Word of the Year since 2012 and if you’ve got the Self-Love Planner then you’ve probably already chosen a word. I’ve always been big on new beginnings and I anxiously wait for the New Year because it’s fresh and shiny with no mistakes in it yet. Every year since I was a teenager I’ve made New Year’s Resolutions and I believe I failed at every single one of them. They were all your usual teenage resolutions – lose weight, make friends, become pretty and popular.

Choosing a word of the year actually coincided with discovering the concept of self-love.

It’s been a game changer. If you’d like to share your word and how you chose it, join our Facebook group, the SoulSisterhood.

These have been my “words”.

Surrender (2012)

Shine (2013)

Strength (2014)

Depth (2015)

Mend (2016)

Magic (2017)

Surrender – Part Two  (2018)

Soften (2019)

Sacred (2020)

Pause (2021)

Why do you choose a Word of the Year for yourself?

Your word takes the place of a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a word that embodies what you want to be/think/feel/do. Something that you can apply in little ways throughout your life instead of a concrete goal that involves either failure or success. It’s a theme, a lantern in the darkness, your guiding light.

How do you choose?

Ask yourself what you need. Right now and going into the new year, what do you need? My word almost always forms from that question. If that word doesn’t immediately resonate with you, check with a thesaurus and see if one of the words associated with it does. Ask yourself what qualities can help you achieve that thing that you need.

Make a Word List. Write down all of the words that are calling out to you right now. They can be random words, don’t overthink it, just let the words release and flow out.

Write down your goals. If you are someone that likes to make a lot of goals or resolutions, write them all down and then see if there’s a theme that’s connecting them. Maybe your word needs to ‘motivation’ so that you can tackle all of those things and get them done or ‘fit’ to inspire you to move more.

Who do you want to be? I think it’s common to want to turn over a new leaf. I can name several qualities I want to cultivate within myself. What qualities or traits do you want to bring into your life? Let your word inspire you to be that thing.

Don’t overthink it. My word sometimes takes me a while to figure it out. I usually start thinking about it in the beginning of December and sometimes it doesn’t come to me until I’m halfway through January. Your word will feel right. You’ll know it when you find it.

Let it find you. If there’s a word you just feel drawn to – even if it doesn’t make sense right now, take a leap of faith and go with it.

100 Word Suggestions!

Here are some words that might resonate with you!

  • Discover 
  • Steady
  • Simplify
  • Valued
  • Trust
  • Immerse
  • Inspire
  • Bravery
  • Complete
  • Visible
  • Confidence
  • Radiant
  • Motivation
  • Loyalty
  • Feel
  • Gentleness
  • Healing
  • Home
  • Believe
  • Ease
  • Worth
  • Adapt
  • Emergence
  • Courage
  • Heard
  • Depth
  • Stability
  • Accomplished
  • Improve
  • Capable
  • Boldness
  • Fullness
  • Give
  • Wholehearted
  • Begin
  • Sacred
  • Adventure
  • Boundaries
  • Mindfulness
  • Space
  • Unconditional
  • Tend
  • Connection
  • Daring
  • Progress
  • Determination
  • Cherished
  • Love
  • Enlightened
  • Build
  • Prayer
  • Quiet
  • Vision
  • Communication
  • Reset
  • Clarity
  • Spirituality
  • Forward
  • Blessed
  • Abundance
  • Free
  • Dependable
  • Rebuild
  • Heart
  • Family
  • Gratitude
  • Service
  • Light
  • Slow
  • Bliss
  • Survivor
  • Travel
  • Explore
  • Softness
  • Cultivate
  • Self-Acceptance
  • Encourage
  • Fit
  • Authentic
  • Change
  • Wellness
  • Embrace
  • Patience
  • Tender
  • Available
  • Relax
  • Hope
  • Seek
  • Celebrate
  • Direction
  • Passion
  • Thankful
  • Truth
  • Transformation
  • Peace
  • Intention
  • Start
  • Reflection
  • Breathe
  • Delight
  • Better
  • Dedicated
  • Recovery
  • Express
  • Kindness
  • Present
  • Self-Care
  • Faith
  • Power
  • Forgiveness
  • Learn
  • Fearless
  • Potential
  • Renewal
  • Rest
  • Transparency
  • Open
  • Uplift
  • Consistency
  • Receptivity
  • Unstoppable
  • Devotion
  • Tranquil
  • Dream
  • Journey
  • Uniqueness
  • Commitment
  • Yes
  • Thrive
  • Bright
  • Become
  • Rise
  • Unafraid
  • Calm
  • Grace
  • Listen
  • Friendship
  • Organized
  • Whole
  • Persistence
  • Aware
  • Body-Love
  • Honesty
  • Empower
  • Intuition
  • Joy
  • Compassion
  • Teach
  • Creativity
  • Growth
  • Glowing
  • Play
  • Grounded
  • Centered
  • Sparkle
  • Balance
  • Align
  • Motion
  • Challenged
  • Relationships
  • Nourish
  • Zen
  • Oneness
  • Focus
  • Integrity
  • Release
  • Distance
  • Expand
  • Support
  • Wise
  • Happiness
  • Foundation
  • Finish
  • Soul
  • Stillness

What’s your word of the year for 2021?


  1. My Mother's Secrets
    December 28, 2017 / 12:52 am

    Mine is create – I want to create a better version on myself. Create the framework/foundation for my next 50 years. Create the manifestations of my innermost spirit poured out through my writing and sharing my passion for cooking. Create the peace that I have allowed others to take from me.

  2. Rebecca May
    December 29, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    Organized is my word! I chose this word because stuff has taken over my home. In addition to my home, the school I work at will be changing…BIG TIME!. the K-2 teachers will be moving to another building, and the other 3-5 grade teachers will be moving to our school. I will have to change to another classroom, which will require ORGANIZATION! So, from now until May, I need to make sure things are organized; when things are packed up, they need to be organized; when I unpack in my new room, things need to be organized so I can remember where they were stored. And to do this at home too so I don’t accumulate more school stuff at home. So, organized it is. Best wishes to all!

  3. Glenda Cates
    December 31, 2017 / 9:26 am

    I have picked believe because I believe in God all things are possible and I know if I take the time to breathe and Pray first that I can accomplish the things I want to do and that through believing I will accomplish my goals and dreams both in my business and also my personal life.

  4. December 31, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    Going to share a link to this great post in my Sentence a Day post for December. I had selected a word of the year for 2018 (my first time to do so) before discovering your post. But when I read your suggestions for choosing a word, I knew I had chosen well. My word is PEACE. I need to release much of what keeps me keyed up and anxious and replace it with peace, learn to let go and let God. My post won’t go live until 1.04.18 but would love to have you stop by then. Happy new year. Wishing you the perfect mix of control and surrender!

  5. BeColorful
    January 1, 2018 / 10:44 am

    Thank you for an inspiring post. I wanted you to know that I have used your word image in my own post today but gave you credit. I tried making my own in PicMonkey but yours was so much closer to what I was looking for. Please let me know if this is not acceptable.

  6. Elizabeth Brown-Shook
    January 9, 2018 / 10:27 am

    Another great post! My 2018 word of the year is Worthy, a twist on #66!!!

  7. Nadia
    December 27, 2019 / 9:15 am

    Authenticity. I first thought about it, then saw authentic on the list. Thanks for this post!

  8. Jen
    December 27, 2019 / 11:13 am

    This year I chose Move. To move my body with yoga and running. To move away from things that no longer serve me. To keep moving forward, in that direction. To be moved enough to make changes in my own life. To lead by example, to help others move. In the past, I’ve used words like connect and clarity. These words seem to follow me and keep working throughout the years that follow. It’s like the Universe knows that I’m not finished with them.

  9. Lindsey
    February 11, 2020 / 7:58 am

    Can you help me with finding my word? I’m going through a lot right now. I suffer from depression/ anxiety and PTSD and I self medicate. So tomorrow Wednesday the 12th I start outpatient till they have a.bed open for impatient. They are going to help with all my mental help and my substance abuse issues. So saying that, my words relate around wanting to get better mentally and sobriety. Here goes
    Sober, Worthy
    Hope, Complete
    Confident, Motivated
    Healed, Brave
    Courage, Boundaries
    Determined, Free
    Peace, Recovery
    Forgiveness, Unafraid
    Ease, Stress
    Depression, Anxiety
    PTSD, Lost
    Scared, Help

    Hope someone here can give me some insight as to what ny word for this year should be. Thank you

    • Tami
      January 17, 2021 / 12:13 am

      How about transformed? From lost to found, from depression to joy, from scared to unafraid, from broken to healed, from helpless to hope, from scared to brave. They ALL equal being transformed!!!

  10. January 7, 2021 / 8:36 pm

    Don’t have one yet, however, this post and your list of words give me much food for thought. I’m not in the practice of choosing a word. I let it come to me. That started in 2019 with Truth and 2020 Audacity. We’ll see what comes to me for 2021. Stay tuned…

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