There’s something about a fresh start, a new beginning or blank slate that is appealing to many of us. I always find it refreshing to look to a new year to begin a new habit, change a character trait, or set a special goal I want to achieve. When I approach a new year, I often find myself thinking about the one word I want to embody for the year. With this said, what one special focus do you want to have for the new year? What do you want to be intentional about? Here is an exercise to help you choose this special word or one thing you want to achieve in the new year. Read onward as I give you 5 easy steps for choosing your Word of the Year for 2021.
Reflect on and think about 2020. How did that year go for you? What few things could you have used more of or less than last year? For example, do you wish you had more patience, understanding, motivation? Also, when you think about the future, how do you want to feel moving into the new year? Happier? More joyful? Grateful? Less anxious? Finally, what character trait do you want to work on for the year?
Visualize what the perfect day in your life would feel like? Do you want to feel more hopeful, more energized, more motivated? Quietly sit for a moment. Meditate on these questions. Pray for guidance. Oftentimes when we can identify how we want to feel, our feelings will guide us on choosing a word for the year.
3. Create a List
Spend about 10 minutes brainstorming for words that come to mind. Don’t stop to self-edit. What value do you want to focus in on for this year? Do you value patience, fearlessness, humility, joy, passion, forgiveness or better health this year?
4. Review and Refine
Review your list and narrow down your favorite words or those ones you feel led to choose after prayer or meditation. Pick 3-5 words from your list.
You’ll begin to see a theme of the words that are on your list. Pay attention to this theme or pattern. Which words get you excited? Which ones energize you? Which words seem a little risky or will stretch you if you focus in on them for this year? Oftentimes the word that scares you the most is the one you need to choose. Why? Change isn’t easy and it takes a little bit of risk to stretch beyond what is comfortable.
Give yourself a few days to land on one word. Seek confirmation from God, your instinct, your gut. You will know the word that should be your word for the year. Once you do know this word, put it in places where you can see it—your bathroom mirror, on your desk, on your refrigerator or on the dash of your car. The more you are reminded of this word, the better you will do in achieving more of this word for 2021.
Here’s a list of words to choose from or to help generate a list of your own: