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How to choose a word for the new year (with 25 suggestions)

How to choose a word for the new year (with 25 suggestions)

As one year comes to an end and another begins, many of us put forth our New Year’s resolutions. Although I once chose a resolution that lasted a solid 5 years (volunteering more!), data reveals that resolutions are short-lived. So instead of making a resolution that puts on a lot of pressure, I like to choose a word or mantra that will help me live with better intentions for the year.

But how do you choose a word for the new year? I like to think holistically about the feeling I want to revel in the most. What word(s) will help me keep coming back to that feeling?

In 2022, do you want to feel more motivated, adventurous, balanced, comforted, or appreciated? Let’s break down some options that will help you pick a word that's right for you.

Words to motivate you

There have been so many stages in my life when I needed a word to make me feel more motivated—at business school, starting or ending a job, moving to a new state, buying a house, starting this business, you name it. Change requires feeling motivated, so if you’re anticipating a lot of change in your life or want to inspire change, I would suggest picking a motivational word. Here are some of my favorites (with my spin on the definitions of course):

      • If you need a reminder that you’re brave and amazing, “badass” might be your word. Badass – 1: brave and awe-inspiring soul 2: one with endless strength and endurance 3: warrior.
      • If you are ready to evolve spiritually, mentally, or physically, then “growth” might be a good word for you. Growth – 1: positive evolution of one’s own character and spirit 2: choosing to learn, improve, and flourish 3: progression.
      • Do you want to make an outward impact and “inspire” others in the new year? Inspire – 1: to fill others with courage and purpose 2: to move someone to action 3: to guide.
      • Maybe you're trying to overcome some challenges and need a reminder that you are “resilient” and can keep going. Resilient – 1: showing courage and strength through all of life’s ups and downs 2: rising up after every fall 3: persistent.
      • “Shine” was my unofficial word of 2021 as I worked to spread light and love with this business. Shine – 1: to spread light and love 2: to radiate warmth and beauty 3: to grow, beam, sparkle.
      Shine definition print

        Words to make you feel adventurous

        Along the same lines as the motivational words above, this category is inspired by anyone who is beginning a new chapter—like graduating from college or retiring from work. As you enter a new phase like this, it’s good to have a word that inspires a feeling of adventure.  

            • My nephew will be graduating college and moving to a new state in 2022, so I like to think of him starting an “adventure” of a lifetime. Adventure – 1: a deep longing for the unknown 2: an experience of a lifetime 3: what lies ahead.
            • This is going to be my Mom’s word of the year as she continues to “explore” trails and places near our home in the new year. Explore – 1: to travel to new and interesting places 2: to fill life with beautiful adventures 3: to wander.
            • Don’t forget, life is about the “journey,” not the destination. Journey – 1: traveling from one place to another 2: not the destination, but the beautiful steps along the way 3: voyage.
            • If you need to work less and “travel” more (for pleasure!), this might be a good word for you. Travel – 1: to tour the world 2: to fill life with adventures 3: miles of cherished memories.
            • This is one of my favorite words for any “wanderlust” out there with a deep appreciation of adventuring. Wanderlust – 1: deep longing to wander and travel 2: desire to explore new destinations 3: the essence of adventure.

              Words to help you find balance

              This year more than any other, I’ve learned that success doesn’t have to be defined by what your title is or how much money you make. You get to define success and decide if the life you’re living brings you joy or not. Does it? Success! If it doesn’t, there is still good news. Assuming you’re not fighting simply to survive right now, then you get to decide what you’re going to prioritize and do more or less of to strike a balance that makes your life more enjoyable. Here are some words that might help you get there in the new year:

                  • There is no better word to encourage balance than the word “balance.” Balance – 1: equal devotion to all things that bring joy 2 : prevents one from falling 3 : state of peace and harmony.
                  • “Breathe” is going to be my word of the year for 2022 because I want to help ease my anxiety, meditate more, and just relax and enjoy life. Breathe – 1: to move air in and out of the lungs 2 : to inhale mindfulness and release tension 3 : to relax and unwind.
                  • If you tend to gain your footing by remembering your blessings, then “grateful” might be your word of the year. Grateful – 1: appreciative beyond measure 2: deeply overwhelmed with gratitude 3: blessed.

                  Grateful definition print on chicken wire frame

                  • Do you simply need to chill out and “relax”? Relax – 1: to let go of stress and tension 2: to free oneself from burdens 3: to experience serenity.
                  • And one of my favorite words is “serenity” because it just summons a sense of peace and calm. Serenity – 1: state of being calm 2: trading expectations for grace and acceptance 3: inner peace and tranquility.

                    Words to comfort you

                    Love, hope, strength definition prints

                    The last 2 years have been filled with so much loss. Loss of loved ones, pets, relationships/friendships, jobs, and emotional stability. Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed or just received a diagnosis that requires an uphill battle. I hope the words below can help blanket you in comfort and strength when you need it most in the new year.

                        • If you want to keep moving forward despite all of the loss, “brave” might be your word of the year. Brave – 1: having the strength to stand up over and over again 2: courage in the face of fear 3: resilient.
                        • If you’re struggling to see the light right now, I would suggest choosing a word like “hope”. Hope – 1: to believe anything is possible 2: the only thing stronger than fear 3: deep-rooted faith.
                        • “Love” is rooted in so much of our grief, but it’s important to remember it’s always there. Love – 1: to be connected to, heart and soul 2: to feel deep affection for 3: to adore.
                        • If you are just trying to heal (physically or mentally), the word “recovery” might help you make some progress. Recovery – 1: a time for gradual healing 2: faith that the sun will come up again tomorrow 3: perseverance, not perfection.
                        • Do you need extra “strength” to get through a new year? Strength – 1: powerful force 2: courage in the face of pain or grief 3: rising up after every fall 4: holding on to hope.

                          Words to help you appreciate yourself

                          Self-appreciation can feel like a bit of a superpower because we’re always beating ourselves up or comparing ourselves to others. Unlike self-care which involves actions, I think self-love is more about words. How do you talk to yourself? How do you talk about yourself with others? Positive words can do wonders for our self-esteem and the grace and understanding we give ourselves and others. Here are some words that might help you appreciate yourself a bit more in the new year.

                              • Nothing will help you love yourself more than being your true “authentic” self. Authentic – 1: staying true to yourself 2: bravely showing vulnerability 3: genuine and real.
                              • This has been my word of the year in the past because when I feel “blessed” I feel my best. Blessed – 1: benefiting from an abundance of good things 2: living a life of gratitude 3: blissful contentment.
                              • If you want to feel more content with your life, “happiness” might be the right word for you. Happiness – 1: soulful satisfaction and contentment 2: enjoyment of the little things 3: a choice.
                              • Inviting “peace” and calm into your life is one of the best ways to love yourself. Peace – 1: calm assurance, even in the midst of chaos 2: freedom of negative thoughts and emotions 3: powerful healer.
                              • Put yourself first in 2022 and pick “self-love” and just watch how you thrive. Self-love – 1: a deep appreciation of one’s own worth 2: recognizing that you are both a masterpiece and a work in progress 3: the secret to happiness.

                                Did this help you choose your word of the year? Let me know what you picked and why, I would love to post about it!

                                You can purchase any of the words above from my shop or have a custom word made just for you. I suggest framing your word of the year and putting it on your desk or up on a bulletin board or refrigerator. You’ll have the perfect reminder of the feeling you want to keep coming back to all year long.

                                Happy New Year!

                                With love,

                                Alison Rose

                                Social media: @alisonrosevintage


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