7 Questions To Help You Decide on Your Word of the Year

by Suzanne M. Harvey


It’s a new year and everyone is on social, posting about their word of the year. And you are simply glad to have survived the holidays. There is so much pressure to pick a word and a million words to choose from so how do you decide? Are you feeling overwhelmed and stuck? The whole point is for this word to help you througout the year. You want a positive experience not more stress over a word . Are you ready to dig in to identify your word of the year with less stress and more ease? Grab a journal, block off some time and simplify the process by asking these 7 questions to help you decide on your word of the year.

Question #1 – What do you want to accomplish this year?

Are you starting this year with a few goals or maybe you have lots of goals? A recent report said the average list of goals includes 22.8 goals – WOW! First look at the list of goals and see if there are any patterns. Do you see any patterns? Or maybe it’s a word that would help you accomplish those goals? A review of this list is a great place to start exploring then you can move on to question #2.

Question #2 – Who do I want to become this year?

Now it’s time to dig a little deeper. Goals are great but they are about what we do and not about who we are. This question peels the onion a bit. We all want to be a better version of ourselves than we were before. Maybe you want to be a better partner, friend or parent or maybe you want to be more brave and less fearful. Spend some time thinking about this question and make notes in your journal.


Question #3 – What are values that are important to me?

Next consider the core values that you hold to. This year focus on one of these core values and implementing them in your day to day life. Again, jot these down in your journal as they come to mind and don’t edit yourself. Write them as they come. These questions are for discovery for now. No judgement here. Just keep moving through the questions right now, then review all your notes at the end.

Question #4 – What is challenging for me right now?

Now maybe last year was a hard year and your just trying to recover. Are you trying to overcome the challenges left over from last year? Make a list of the challenges and think about actions, behaviors or characteristics that would help you move forward. Your word may be hiding in the challenges of the previous year and working to overcome them. And you may need some help from your family and friends to uncover it. That takes us to our next question.

Question #5 – What do others say?

It’s okay to ask a close friend, trusted family member or partner. This is not a question for the FB “friends”. You are looking for someone who knows you personally and deeply. It also should be someone that is going to be encouraging and uplifting. If your bestie is always a negative nelly, don’t ask her. So check with your ‘people’ to see if they have a word that comes to mind when they think of you – who you are, what you represent, a value that you demonstrate. And write them in your journal.

Question #6 – What did you learn or read that stood out to you?


Maybe you saw a documentary that spoke to you deeply. Was there an impactful book you read? Review all the things you saw, read, heard and learned. Your word could be hiding there too. (I keep a list of the books I read so I can go back and review it at the end of the year. Goodreads is a great app for keeping track of your reading plus getting recommendations for new books to check out).

Question #7 – Is there a word(s) that have a special meaning to you already?

Is there a word that has been important in your past? Possibly a family word? The words may be obvious. Sometimes they are buried in the past. Take some time to journal and think about past events and see if any words pop up. If anything pops up, make sure to jot it in your journal.

You have made it through the the 7 questions and made notes in your journal. Now put down your journal and walk away. Your mind needs time to process so give it a week or two then you can reivew your notes. This way your mind can begin to work. You will start to see what you wrote down all around and it will become a conscious activity and you will start to recognize patterns or certain words start to ‘show up’ everywhere. It is like when you want a red car and all of the sudden you are always seeing red cars. It’s incredible what our minds will do for us! One extra step I take is prayer. You know my faith is foundational for me, so as I work on figuring out my word, I pray about it and see what happens. Maybe give it a try, too.

A Simple Reminder

Remember picking a word of the year is meant to be a helpful tool for life. It should not create additional stress or pressure. It should have significance to you and be easy to remember. You may find more than 1 word or maybe it’s a phrase. There are no rules here. This is intended to help you focus your activities and decisions this year and make it a meaningful year. Be flexible with your word. It is meant to guide, not dictate your life. And be gentle with yourself. It’s OK if it doesn’t work for you or you don’t want to do it. Keep it simple or toss it altogether. Focus on what helps you and not what makes you stressed or overwhelmed. Simplify your process with these 7 questions to help you decide on your word of the year and move forward.

Did you pick a word this year? Did you scrap this and simply move forward into the new year? Connect with me and let me know if you found these questions helpful.

Happy New Year!


Curious about my process & what my word for this year is? Watch the video here.

**BONUS – Need tips on how to make your word work for you this year? Click here.

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Suzanne Harvey

I am Suzanne Harvey, a woman of faith - boy mom – wife – entrepreneur – interior designer – skincare business owner – lover of music & bulldogs. Like you I wear lots of hats and juggle all the things. In all of that it is easy to lose sight of who we truly are, what truly matters to us and how to slow down to enjoy the beauty around us. Thanks for joining me on this adventure to find beauty in our everyday with encouragement, laughter, plus tips & ideas to help you find your own kind of beautiful.


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