Choose One Word For the Year + 45 Words to Get You Started

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January is really just another month on the calendar, but it feels special, doesn’t it? Like everything that you have ever thought about doing, or making a habit of, is now actually a possibility because it is January. New Year, New You, right?  

Well, I don’t do resolutions very well. I typically don’t make it past January 15th, especially if the resolution has to do with fitness or eating habits (then I am out by the 5th).

But I do love the hope that January brings that I could accomplish all of the things that I had been putting on a mental to-do-later list since October.

What I have done for the past few years is to come up with a word of the year and use that to help set my goals and visions for the following 12 months.

This way, I am not committing to a bunch of resolutions that will lead me to feel like a failure before February comes.

Rather, I have a mantra that I can remind myself of all year-long.

Having a word of the year keeps every day feeling like January 1st.  

Choosing a 2021 Word For Year

My process for choosing a word of the year is fairly simple. First, I look through journals, planners, calendars from the previous year to remind myself of all that happened.

Then, I spend some time praying for the upcoming year and looking to God for guidance on what areas of my life I should focus on. I then do a little bit of writing/brainstorming of goals I want to accomplish and what I want the end of the year to look like.  

Let’s break that down a little further –     


I have shared a full post on working through a personal end of the year reflection, so be sure to check that out for more details. In short, completing a personal reflection will have you going through your past highlights, reviewing what worked and didn’t work and listing what you are grateful for.

It may seem like looking at the past isn’t beneficial for your future, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Having a strong foundation to build on is key and this is your defining step!


Once you have finished your reflection, spend some time in prayer or reading a devotional to help get your mind in the right place. Your word of the year should really tie back to something that you are working on with God. He is the one who will fuel you through the next 12 months, so be sure to spend some time praying about what God wants your next year to look like instead of painting your own picture.


What have you done? How do you feel? Write it out!

This step will also help you start thinking through a few of your yearly goals, so be sure to take some time here and not rush it!


The hard parts are over! Now, take a few minutes to look through the things you wrote down and search for trends. Do any words pop up multiple times?

Circle similar words or phrases in your notes or highlight anything that pops out at you.      

My 2021 Word For The Year

After the 2020 that we all had, I am pretty wiped out! Everything feels exhausing. The whole year was extremely mentally taxing.

I contemplated having Rest be my word for 2021, but as much as I think we need a rest from anything “unprecedented”, a full year of rest isn’t quite what I need.


This word feels more fitting.

There is a difference between Rest and Restoration. Rest is physically healing while Restoration is spiritually and mentally healing.

And I desperately need spiritual and mental healing.

My focus word for the year will direct my goals by guiding me to not add too much.

2021 isn’t the year that I train for a marathon. Or plan a cross continent trip.

2021 is the year that I spend more time with God. And family.

2021 is the year that I spend less time reading entertainment news and more time reading novels with happy endings.

2021 is the year that I celebrate successes, no matter how small.

2021 is the year where I hold my plans loosely, understanding how little control I have on the world.

2021 is my year for Restoration.

What will 2021 be for you?

Choosing a word for the year is such a good way to create a clear focus for yourself.

However, since there are so many words to choose from, I wanted to help you out by pulling together a list of words to get you thinking about what fits best for you!    

  • Give
  • Serve
  • Yes
  • Patience
  • Thrive
  • Simplicity
  • Saving
  • Invest
  • Lean In
  • Strength
  • Awesome
  • Light
  • Shine
  • Comeback
  • Grace
  • Abundance
  • Create
  • Grow
  • Action
  • More/Less
  • Devoted
  • Abundance
  • Joy
  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Pursuit
  • Intentional
  • Bold
  • Prepare
  • Rest
  • Rhythms
  • Steward
  • Cultivate
  • Change
  • Encourage
  • Confidence
  • Minimal
  • Togetherness
  • Optimistic
  • Hopeful
  • Persevere
  • Well
  • Present
  • Refresh
  • Renew
  • Restore
  • Experience
  • Faith

I hope that list is helpful in giving you ideas to choose one word for the year. I also find it nice to get a print of my word made and frame it somewhere in the house where I will see it daily.

Or you can just write it on a note card and tape it to the lamp on your nightstand. However you do it, just get that word in front of you as a reminder of what you want to get out of the year.

I did make a template for you that can be edited in Canva (a free design tool) so you can create your own Word For The Year Card.

Just click this link to go to your Word For The Year Template!

Remember, this doesn’t just have to start in January. You can pick a word of the month or the quarter. Use your word as a reminder of where you want to be at the end of whatever time period you choose.

Please let me know what your one word is and why you picked it!  

Check out some of my other “Word of the Year” Posts! –

2019 Word of the Year: Can you love your job too much?

2016 Word of the Year: Waiting on God

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  1. Kelly Bright says:

    GRATEFUL. Grateful for the life experiences that have brought me to where & who I am today. Grateful that I can continue to work on who I am. Grateful for the people I have in my life & their unconditional love. Grateful for my & my family’s 2017 life journey & all God has planned. Everyday I will thank God for all I have to be GRATEFUL for.

    1. I love that word, Kelly! Gratitude is such a key to happiness.

  2. I’ve never thought about choosing a word for the year, but I love the intentions behind it! I may have to try it this year.

    1. Thanks Charlie! I hope you give it a shot! Be sure to let me know what word you pick if you do!

  3. Thrive I have been through a lot of problems in 2018. I prayed for better and best 2019

    1. Thrive is a great word Lillie! Praying you have a better 2019 as well!

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