A desk with headphones, a succulent , a cup of coffee, pencil and note book. The note book text is "How (& Why) to Choose a Word of the Year"

How (& Why) To Choose A Word Of The Year

You’re not alone if you’ve had little success with New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, most people abandon their resolutions between mid-January and mid-February, with only 9% seeing them through to the end of the year. That’s why I prefer the alternative approach to goal and intention setting of choosing a personal Word of the Year.

Read on to learn more about a Word of the Year and how to choose one and use it to make meaningful and sustainable changes in 2023.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

According to experts, one of the main reasons New Year’s resolutions fail is most people focus on a goal that requires drastic changes to long-held habits and practices. Not surprisingly, we can only sustain these changes for a short time, or we get frustrated at not achieving the goal fast enough and abandon the resolutions.

A Different Approach: Word of the Year

A Word of the Year is your “mission statement” for the next 12 months. You use it to guide and inspire you when making decisions throughout the year.



It’s not a rigid rule to follow or a single goal to meet.  As Elizabeth Rider put it, “it’s a constant (but gentle) reminder to focus on creating positive change”.

Your word anchors your intentions in all areas of your life and keeps you moving toward what you want, one small step or decision at a time. It’s an over-arching theme that underpins all your actions.

You ask yourself, “does this action, decision, or commitment align with my word/intention”? And then move forward accordingly.

Because the focus is “progress” rather than one defined goal, there’s no “failing .” If you find yourself straying from your intentions, you use your word to refocus and reprioritize. Every day you get multiple opportunities to correct course and you have a whole year to work on it!

How To Choose a Word of The Year


There’s lots of advice available on choosing your Word of the Year. Using the following steps works for me:

First, list the things you want to focus on this year. It’s helpful to ask yourself: “What do you want more of in your life? What do you want less of?  What qualities do you want to grow within yourself?

Second, review your list for common themes that emerge and make a list. If you need help coming up with potential words, here’s a list of over 200 possibilities.



Finally, choose the word that feels like the best fit. Here, ask whether you’re “interested” in the word, or are you committed to it?

As explained by Katie from Mountainmodernlife.com, if you’re only “interested” in your word, you’ll probably make excuses and won’t put in the effort required to make real changes. But if you’re “committed”, you’ll actually work to use your word to create lasting changes.

My 2023 Word of The Year Is…


Efficiency. One of my favourite things about my work is creating efficient systems for clients that give them more time, energy, and physical and mental space for what really matters to them.

In almost every area of my life, I practice what I preach. But, when it comes to the administrative side of my business, let’s just say there’s room for improvement.

To clarify, I use systems to run my business, they’re just not efficient.

I’m a technophobe whose been afraid to use the tools that will help me get more done faster. So, this year I’m focusing on implementing efficient admin systems in my business.

While bringing efficiencies to the running of my business is my main focus, I’ll use my word to underpin all my actions and decisions, asking myself “is doing or committing to ‘X’ an efficient use of my time and energy?’ And my measuring stick is whether it will result in more time and energy for the people and activities that matter most in my life.


If you want to make positive, sustainable changes in your life this year, without the pressure and rigidity of a resolution, a Word of Year might be exactly what you need.  Use these tips to choose your own word and see where it takes you!

Have you used a word of the year before?  Let me know in the comments below.  And if you liked this post, please share it!