Having a word for the year has the potential to be a game changer. In fact, I’ll say making the decision to pick a word for the year has been one of the most rewarding decisions of my adult life. Seriously, you ask? Seriously. Not being able to stick to my New Year’s Resolutions has often left me feeling overwhelmed. I’ve found using a word for the year as a North Star helps keep me focused and motivated. Stay with me and you will see that choosing to pick a word for the year can even be a fun holiday activity to share with friends and family. But first, let’s look at the differences between making resolutions and choosing a word for the year.

choosing a word for 2020 sam jerry

Resolutions vs. Picking a word for the year

A New Year’s Resolution is a promise to yourself or a decision to do something. In the past, my New Year’s Resolutions often sounded vague, like, “I’m giving up sweets”, “I’ll lose 20 pounds this year”, or “this year I’m going to save more”. Being vague, often leads to falling off the wagon or giving up completely. Were my goals too lofty? I don’t think so. I believe my focus was on the wrong thing. 

You see, for me, resolutions feel like rules meant to keep me in line, restricted. Now, if you are reading this and resolutions are your jam, congratulations and way to go. Maybe you can share your ways with me. Also if you are reading this and you feel heard and understood, I say, “Welcome home.”

A word for the year is meant to be a word that represents what you want to achieve or hone or experience for the year. The word serves as a banner or mission statement, if you will. The practice also opens up the user to the full spectrum of the word. 

Show me what you mean…

Last year a poll on Yougov.com reported that over 50% of people surveyed said exercising more and/or eating healthier was their resolution for 2018. We can all agree that exercising more and eating healthier are great goals. But, from my perspective, the resolution is vague and lacks direction, making it easy to abandon. 

Because saying, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year”, represents, to me, everything I’ll have to give up, I could instead, say, “My word for the year is Moderation.” Now, I’ve set myself up to be aware of boundaries, healthy and unhealthy, in every area of my life. And, can’t we all use a reminder or filter to run things through?

How do I know?

Five years ago my word was Celebrate. I noticed I missed celebrating things in life. What things? Little things, everyday things, big things, just things. Because Celebrate became my banner word, my desire to enhance everyday moments with bits of celebration became a greater focus. 

Pick a word for the year sam jerry

Two years ago my word was Brave. My husband had just been diagnosed with cancer and was about to undergo surgery and radiation treatments. And, to add insult to injury, he was also diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Scleroderma. Slow down, life! We had no idea what walking that journey looked like, but we knew it would take bravery.

The definition of brave is to be ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage. Seeing the word brave on my coffee mug, canvas bag and random post its, reminded me to keep my chin up. The word Brave reminded me what the goal was, to face and endure whatever was about to happen. 


This year, my word has been Resolve, a firm determination to do something and to settle, subside, disperse or heal. So much resolve has taken place this year. So much so, I wrote a book called Resolve. It’s true, and you can order it here. 

Many times this year I’ve looked to the word Resolve as a filter. If I became stuck on something or overwhelmed with something, I ran it through my resolve filter. I’d ask questions like, “Is this something I care to resolve?” Or, “Is this something that keeps popping up in my life that I need to resolve?” And, most importantly, “What can I do to face this, resolve it and grow from it?”

Do you see how deciding to pick a word for the year has helped guide me, enhancing my growth opportunities and life experiences? Next week I’ll share with you a worksheet I’ve developed to help you pick your word for 2020.

Be you…be beautiful…be imperfect.


1 Comment. Leave new

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.