Does a focus word of the year work? What are some examples? How can we actually use them throughout the year? Let’s dive in…

A picture of 30 focus words of the year. Shows 30 word of the year ideas. They are adventure, gratitude, simple, wellness, growth, gentle, consistency, creativity, kindness, challenge, forgive, intention, less, action, compassion, learn, balance, joy, courage, calm, renew, persist, acceptance, authentic, trust, progress, clarity, nurture, move, try

Does a ‘Word of the Year’ work?

This is a really good question. To be completely honest with you, I’m about to find out for myself this next year. I’ve never done a ‘word of the year’. I have though, had experience with doing a ‘word of the month’. This definitely worked for me. I usually did really benefit in that specific word by the end of the month.

So I can guess it is the same with the word of the year idea. I know many in the bullet journal community do this habit every year and wouldn’t miss it for the world, so I guess it works for them and that’s why they keep doing it.


1. ADVENTURE. Maybe you have decided that this is finally the year that you will do a backpacking adventure. Or maybe you want to embrace more adventure in your life in general. This word gives all the sense of getting out there and not holding back.

2. GRATITUDE. Maybe you have realized you take too many things for granted. Maybe you want to start appreciating the smaller things in life again. This word can easily be adopted with a gratitude log. Check out here if you want to try that.

3. SIMPLE. Maybe you are one of the over-thinkers, over-doers, or like me over-planners of this world. Then you might want to use this word to keep the reminder that simple is good. In fact, simple is the very best place the start.

4. WELLNESS. Maybe you have spent the pandemic being a bit indulgent with yourself, I have too. This might be a great year to focus again on wellness, and make sure that self-care is fully incorporated in your life this year.

5. GROWTH. Do you have a passion project or some other dream turning over in you mind? This word might help you to focus on growth and making strides with what have in mind. You might like this article: Create a personal growth bullet journal.

6. GENTLE. Maybe you have been pushing yourself a bit too much and have put pressure on yourself. This could be your reminder for the year to be gentle. There is no need for self-oppression. This could be a great word of the year.

7. CONSISTENCY. Do you find it hard to repeat actions over and over, even if they are actions that really benefit us? This focus word could help you remember that to keep doing something is needed and helpful.

8. CREATIVITY. Have you said ‘I’m not very creative’? Well you are! You probably haven’t given the time to yourself to let the creativity come out. There are great ideas for this…cook without a recipe, try to resuse something in a different way, make art from toilet rolls, anything like that.

9. KINDNESS. We all benefit when people are more kind. Maybe you want to get more proactive about kindness rather than waiting for opportunities, try to create opportunities. This word of the year is a very worthwhile one.

10. CHALLENGE. I have a little saying – ‘It is neither good to torture nor to indulge, rather just gently challenge’. So if you are in the mood to give yourself an attainable challenge for the year, this is a great idea.

11. FORGIVE. Or other versions of this are ‘release’ or ‘let go’. But the idea is to forgive what has hurt you or made you angry, let that go, so that it no longer burdens you. This is extremely healthy and a great focus word.

12. INTENTION. Woo hoo! One of my faves. Intentional living is so important. If we live reactively we are not truly living we are just responding. Our intention is our will and desire and when we tap into those things we make big changes in our life.

13. LESS. Maybe you have gone a bit mad this year since everything has returned to normal, shopping at a speed of knots. Well next year might be a good time to embrace less. We don’t need all that stuff we have so this is a great word of the year.

14. ACTION. Do you procrastinate? Do you have a tendency towards saying ‘I will do that later’. Then you might want to put ‘action’ as your word and get yourself started with all the things you have been meaning to do.

Maybe your word of the year is compassion. Picture of a computer keyboard where one of the keys has the word compassion on it.

15. COMPASSION. This is so lacking. People can be so harsh. Maybe we have started to take that inwards and before we know it, we are being harsh with ourselves and others. Self-compassion is a truly worthwhile focus. I highly recommend this one.

16. LEARN. We should never stop learning right! Well maybe we have started a blog and want to learn all about how to do it. Maybe we want to learn all about a country we are thinking of moving to. These would be good reasons to use this word of the year.

17. BALANCE. Another one of my faves!!! Balance is so important for us all or nothing kind of people. We need to remember that we can do things slowly and it doesn’t have to be perfect all of the time.

18. JOY. Maybe you gotten down by the struggles that are going on around us. Have you thought about focusing on ‘joy’ for a year? Can you imagine what the result would be? A very wonderful focus word.

19. COURAGE. I think this one is another really needed words. We have maybe gotten into a comfort zone with life and don’t venture out if something seems difficult or nerve wrecking. But maybe we need more courage, we are more capable than we think.

20. CALM. Has your life been a bit upside down and a bit chaotic in the last while? Then this might be a grounding word for you. Something that reminds you to just breathe, and keep calm.

21. RENEW. Many have chosen this as a word of the year, and I can see why. Renew gives the idea of a fresh start. Especially after the pandemic, many have said that they want to renew, it’s understandable.

22. PERSIST. Maybe you have started with something and you want to give up. Maybe it’s a worthwhile venture, but it is going to take practice and patience. Then this focus word might help you each and every day to just keep going.

23. ACCEPTANCE. Maybe you realize you are in circumstances that you can’t change. But you are feeling the frustration of that. Having acceptance of ourselves and others can be something that could really change you over a year.

24. AUTHENTIC. This is a great focus word to remember. We can only be the best versions of ourselves when we are actually being ourselves – not preforming, not avoiding, but being our true self. I love the idea of using this as a word of the year.

25. TRUST. Maybe we need to trust ourself more. Maybe we have so much self-doubt that it’s really holding us back. We also could use the word ‘believe’. But trust is a good one for others too, to try and trust where it is right to.

26. PROGRESS. Progress not Perfection! That’s a saying in itself. This is a great word if we are on a bit of a life’s journey and it is taking time. We are not going to be finished in a month, this is long term. Then progress is a great word.

27. CLARITY. This is another popular choice. Many are trying to find clarity after what has happened over the last three years. Do I still want to go back to doing the same things? Now could be the year to get clarity.

28. NURTURE. Nurture gives all the sense of self-care and love. I think cozy and comfort [two more great words]. This is one if you want to give yourself some focus and attention.

29. MOVE. Have you got fitness on you mind? You might want to set move as your word of the year. Maybe you are older and you want that reminder to just keep moving.

30. TRY. How about this? Try! Isn’t that the very best thing we can do. Try your best for the year! That makes this a great focus and one that I think could really suit everyone.

How to use your ‘word of the year’?

Once you decide your word, you can set specific goals connected with your word.

You could try to incorporate a regular habit for that word, and maybe use a tracker.

Another option is something like a bucket list connected to your word.

You could have monthly journal prompts, or a log.

Finally, you could create a vision board and keep it visual if you prefer, maybe write a little memories connected with your word on a weekly or monthly basis.

Please do let me know if you create a word of the year and a plan to use it. Stay tuned on my Insta as I might share with you in an upcoming post what word I am going to use for next year. As always happy planning!