How to Choose a Word of the Year

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I'm a Certified Health Coach, longtime blogger, and host of The Elizabeth Rider Show. In addition to writing recipes (I love to eat!), I believe that embracing your personal evolution and taking responsibility for your happiness are the keys to living a fulfilling life.


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How to Pick Word of The Year

If you haven’t chosen a “Word of the Year” yet, then you need one asap.

I was first introduced to the Word of the Year concept back in 2012 when I became a health coach. Having a Word of the Year is a really fun way to set your intentions and theme for the New Year, or any other life event for that matter.

Instead of a rigid resolution, a Word of the Year is your constant (yet gentle) reminder to focus on creating positive change.

Use your Word of the Year to help guide your decisions and continue moving towards what you want.

The first step to creating anything you want is to identify self-awareness and specific intention(s). A Word of the Year will set you in the right direction by bringing more awareness to your intentions.

Your Word of the Year sets an intention, a theme per se, for how you want your year to flow.

Picking a Word of the Year is an excellent way to do this. You may just have one word that really sticks out to you for your 2019 theme, if that’s the case, just choose one. Or, you might have a group of words or set of themes that you want to set as your intention—it’s totally up to you.

How to choose your Word of the Year:

  1. Grab a piece of paper and make two columns. On one side, write down everything that went well over the past year. On the other side, write what you would like to change.
  2. Review the side that lists what went well. How do these things make you feel? What do you want more of?
  3. Choose one to five words that really speak to how you want your year to feel. Nouns, verbs, anything works—just words that feel good to you. Don’t get caught up in the grammar.
  4. Review them all together, then narrow it down to one that you know in your heart you need more of.

Then write your word on a pretty notecard and stick it to your bathroom mirror or anywhere else you’ll see it every day. Some other ideas are on your car’s sun visor, your office wall, or make it your computer desktop or phone wallpaper.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Word of the Year Elizabeth Rider Blog

This list is by no means all-inclusive, just some ideas to get your creative ideas flowing.

2021 word of the year

My word of the year for 2021 is Ease.

“Let it be easy” kept coming up for me when I reviewed 2020. We all know 2020 was a lot of things. Unexpected? Emotional? Explosive? Heartbreaking? Terrible, yet somehow good in some ways? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Something that the pandemic, quarantine & world turmoil taught me was how much I unnecessarily overcomplicated some aspects of life. With no direction of where 2020 was going to go, I just started to tell myself “let it be easy.” I stopped telling myself that things felt hard and lived in the present moment. I reminded myself that worrying about a future that hasn’t happened yet only creates anxiety, and worrying about the past (where nothing can change) is a waste of time.

And you know what, that felt really good. The more I focused on “let it be easy,” the easier it felt to navigate the world and life’s changes. So for 2021, I’m continuing on with “let it be easy” as the world continues to change and morph into a new way of being.

I first wrote this post in 2019 and want to leave this paragraph here for anyone who wants to read from previous years. From the Archive: “My word for 2019 is Confident.

My initial list of words was expansive, open, aligned, joy, grateful, and confident. While I, of course, want more of all of these things—when I looked at my year ahead I knew that the area of most fear is the release of my forthcoming book (coming August 2019!). The cover, title and summary will be released shortly. I’ve always felt confident as a blogger, but a book with a major publisher is a totally different level. The ideation phase and writing process stretched me more than I could have imagined, which in the end was the biggest gift of 2018 because I know the final product will help so many people. With a book like this, there’s more exposure, more scrutiny, and of course more people to help and connect with. Instead of fear, I’m choosing confidence. I can’t wait to share it with you!”

If you’d like more healthy mindset advice, check out “5 Messy Yet Beautiful Life Lessons Every Woman Should Know” and more positive mindset posts here.

Over to you! I’d LOVE to know what your Word of the Year is and why you chose it. Leave it here in the comments to share it with our community. Speaking it into the Universe is a beautiful way to get things flowing.

Happy New Year!

Read the Comments +

  1. Debra says:

    My Beauty… It’s not one word but a simple phrase my Grandma Mary used to call me. That phrase always made me Smile, Feel Loved, feel Good about myself. It evokes so many memories, feelings, emotions. Grandma Mary, I miss you soo soo much!!

  2. Michelle says:

    First time hearing about this “word of the year”! It honestly seems much more helpful than resolutions. Thanks for sharing and I love your blog.

  3. Sue M says:

    I’ve been choosing a word for the year for many many years. Here are a few I’ve chosen and loved:
    The amazing thing is that we chose ‘Exuberance’ for our word for 2020….Yikes , what a year it has been!

  4. Stasia Smith says:

    My word for 2020 is BEING. Being instead of doing. Being is an active and positive word for me. Being brave, aware, present, authentic, kind, organized, a good friend, open to change, focused on my health and wellness…

  5. Triza says:

    My word for the year is ……Balance

  6. Bettelou Soosaipillai says:


  7. Marisol says:

    Several words listed in the word of the year pulled at the center of my core; however, I felt deeply that ACCOMPLISHED was the word for me. I am pursuing my goals this year and that 12 letter word will get me through these 12 months in 2019. I promise me, myself, and I that I will accomplish my goals.

    Thank you

  8. Alyson says:

    Good one this
    Was very tempted by Energized as I have M.E.
    But actually, I have chosen Luminescent
    the emission of light not caused by incandescence and occurring at a temperature below that of incandescent bodies.
    the light produced by such an emission.
    It has become more and more important to me over the years that I exist as a shining light, to guide the way forward in this messed up world of ours.

  9. Dawn Woodard says:

    I think I am going with Confidence as my word for 2019

  10. Roni says:

    Word of year: Thinking very seriously and writing words when the word PRAYERFUL came to my mind. I believe in the power of prayer. I’ve seen it in action. That’s when it dawned on me my word was PRAYERFUL. I WILL BE MORE PRAYERFUL THIS YEAR. IT IS MY CALL TO ACTION. Thanks

  11. Margaret says:

    Just discovered your blog. After the Lord miraculously healed a very dear friend who suddenly came down with an undiagnosed illnesses in October 2018, I choose the word “Thankful”. Realising how quickly and without notice we can loose our loved ones, I just want to be thankful for my many daily blessings and the family and friends who surround me.

    I am also thankful for your blog and the healthy recipes.

  12. Charlene L Stemen says:

    My word for this year is awareness. Awareness of myself, others, situations, both mine and others feelings. Just be in the moment of awareness. I have been gifting myself a word every new years day for the last 10 years. I find they help me focus and accomplish my goals for the year.

  13. Michelle says:

    I choose, Authentic! Being a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, pet owner, you name it, it has been my joy and greatest gift to love and nurture those around me. However, in doing so, I tend to loose myself along the way. As I enter this year as a new “empty nester”, it’s time to look deep within and embrace my authentic self.!

  14. Wendy says:

    I was promoted to a manager over our county on January 2nd. My word is inspire. I chose to be a leader that can inspire my County to do more, learn more and dream more.

  15. MarissaDW says:

    Just found your blog and it’s very inspirational. My word is Balanced. In the hope of balancing my work and personal life I’ll get to focus on mind, body and health; in the process get creative and learn new things.

  16. Jill says:

    What a great idea. I feel I had to keep two words though as I need to desperately remind myself of both. They are confidence (funnily enough) and positivity. Wish me luck.

  17. Roz Scoles says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    My word is confident.

  18. Elsa Razborsek says:

    Congratulations on your upcoming book Elizabeth! It’s always a pleasure to read you.

  19. Carol says:

    As someone recovering from a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), I have trouble finding my words. So, the words Time & Patience will help me focus on giving myself plenty of both as I struggle to make myself heard. Practicing Gratitude is a wonderful intention for me as well!
    Thanks for the inspiring idea!

  20. Julia Baldassano says:

    I love this concept! My word for 2019 is Balance. As a working Mom of 2 little girls (4 and 1), it can be difficult to find…

  21. Candida Julian-Jones says:

    Hello Elizabeth,

    As a woman in her “third act” and still loving my work, here are the words I keep close when I think others may be judging; Expertise, Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy.

    • Hi Candida, thank you for sharing these with us! And don’t EVER worry about what other people might think or if they are judging you. Judgment is just a mirror reflected back on someone’s own beliefs of themselves. If they are “judging” you, they are just judging themselves. Don’t let people live rent-free in your mind. Only you live your life, and you have a lot of life left to live. Enjoy it and be free! Expertise, Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy are coming your way in 2019. ~E

  22. Elizabeth says:


    Be strong, Be happy, Be kind, Be generous, Be fearless – you get the idea 🙂

  23. Nicole Nelson says:

    I love this post Elizabeth! I chose the word “Trust”. Trusting that I am always being guided in the right direction 🙂

  24. Angel says:

    Compassion, commitment, contentment, consideration and continuity are my words.

  25. Megan says:


    I feel that everything I have been working towards over the past few years is going to come to fruition and my life will be filled with love, laughter, health, joy and financial security this year.

  26. Beth says:

    Word of the year 2019 for me, cut down from a long list, is DECIDE. Even choosing the word was challenging, a ‘what if it isn’t the right word for me?’ Type thinking going on. It is a pattern that I often fall into, and it keeps me stuck in a sameness that I want to grow out of. So, I moved ‘Decide’ up to the top; without making a decision, for me everything else is just a rumination, a dream, a thought, an excuse to not step up and dare to make the change I want. This year will be next level!

  27. Jennifer Kueber says:

    My word is Celebratory/ Celebrate/Celebration. I teach little people and I want to celebrate all their accomplishments. I have a son graduating from high school and I want to make sure I celebrate his success and his next steps instead of dreading him moving on. I have a daughter learning to drive and I want to celebrate with her instead of focusing on the worry that comes with this big step. I want to celebrate all of these changes and have fun with them! Thank you for this wonderful idea, I look forward to a whole year of celebrations!! I plan to look for ways to celebrate each and every day!

  28. Sandra says:

    My word for 2019 is movement. I’ve been sitting still for too long, just hanging by the wayside. I heard my spirit say “movement”. Once I begin, I believe it will propel me forward to accomplish so much I’ve been hoping and dreaming for as a health coach.

  29. Jo Ann McCready says:

    My word of the year is HERO. I plan to be a hero to myself, and a hero to others. To lead by example and to assist others with care and compassion.

  30. Sybells Yu says:

    My words for the year are change, focus, renew, persevere, persistence, care, never quit!


  31. Megan says:

    As a fellow health coach, I think this is such a wonderful practice. Thank you for sending this out! I recently came upon your blog and love everything about it. My word for 2019 is Courageous. I am wanting to start my own blog/online business in 2019. Seven + months of research and now I just need to take the first step.

  32. Susie M Barolo says:

    I love this, thank you! I chose the word JOY last year (2016) and am in the process of choosing what I call my “warrior word” for 2017 and reading your post leaves me inspired and smiling. =)

  33. Jade Hanson says:

    My words are abundant, healthy, exciting, positive, and glowing! Thank you so much! This was a great exercise!!

  34. Teresa Fellows says:

    Just found your blog via IIN as thinking of joining their nutrition course..which starts today! Would you recommend it – I would love to hear your thoughts – ? I have no prior nutrition training, but passionate about healthy living. My words are happy, balanced, open-minded, passionate, and forward thinking!

  35. Michelle Pond says:

    Great post, Elizabeth. My words are jazzy, visual, verbal, adventurous, calm.

  36. What a great idea! Balanced, healthy, whole, consistent.. These are my words for 2013

  37. Trisha says:


  38. Khadia Marie says:

    Loving, Humble, Joyous, and Whole 🙂

  39. Stacy Krall says:

    Love your suggestion.
    Balanced, Devout, Enlightened, Fovgiving, Grateful, Humbled, Of Service, and Spiritual!

  40. Sandi says:

    My montra or word that inspires me for many years is “believe”, for me it encompasses everything in my life. I have it tattooed on my wrist to remind me every day what I’m capable of and what I believe within myself. This word really resonates with who I am and what I can become.

  41. Marie Smith says:

    Success, stable, show stopper, head turner, passionate

    I didn’t read the suggested words because I wanted to be sure I came up with ones just for me.

  42. danielle says:

    as usual, love the post.. great for the new year, and i am not a fan of resolutions either.. i picked my words and just put them on my screensaver.. happy new year! xo

  43. Cheryl Magby says:

    I have several! consistent, desire, fit, forgiving, free, grateful, healthy, happy, loving, peaceful, sexy, unstoppable, and whole!!!

  44. Sharon says:

    Ok, Elizabeth…here are my words:
    Aligned, Balanced, Creative, Educated, Glowing, Grateful, Healthy, Of Service on my Spiritual & Wellness Journey <3

  45. Sharon says:

    Ok, ready Elizabeth…here are my words:
    Aligned, Balanced, Creative, Educated, Glowing, Grateful, Healthy, Of Service on my Spiritual & Wellness Journey <3

  46. Loved this exercise so much that I had to Pin It. I blogged my word of the year, FLOURISH, here

  47. Madelyn Moon says:

    Yay! I love this! My words are going to be: whole, strong, classy, decisive & loyal.

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Hi, I'm Elizabeth

I'm a strong believer that life is too short to settle for anything less than living your best life. 

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