How to Determine Your Word of the Year

By Becky Squire

Here we are, January 2021. Another new year, but this one feels different than ever before. The things that we went through together in 2020 have changed us, shaped us, challenged us, broken us, healed us, and transformed us into totally new people than we were at the beginning. 2020 was the year of life change – big and small.

Many of us choose a “word of the year,” a theme of sorts to focus on all year long, helping to filter decisions, calm emotions, and face each day with resolve. It isn’t about crossing another goal off your list, it’s about creating a mantra to help guide your daily actions and become a better version of yourself.

So, how do you choose the perfect word? Here are a few suggestions.


Think back on this past year and ask yourself what you could use more of in your life. What could you use less of in your life? What characteristics would you like to have? How would you like to feel? Once you review your responses you’ll have a better sense of the direction you’d like to go, or what you feel may be lacking in your life.


Visualize what the perfect day would feel like. Think about how you want your morning routine to feel, how you want to feel at work or throughout the day, and how you want to feel right before you go to bed.

Write Down Your Spiritual Gifts

Spend 10 minutes creating a list of your spiritual gifts, or spiritual gifts you would like to have. Need some help? Here is a list of 72 spiritual gifts. You probably already have several. Chances are you’ll see a theme going on between the words you wrote down. Do any of the words jump out at you? Think about the words, try them on, and see what feels right. No need to over-analyze this process, trust your gut instead. Review your list and let the words pick you.

Write Down Your Goals

If you are someone that likes to make a lot of goals or resolutions, write them all down and then see if there’s a theme that’s connecting them. Maybe your word needs ‘motivation’ so that you can tackle all of those things and get them done or ‘fit’ to inspire you to move more.

Who Do You Want to Be?

I think it’s common to want to turn over a new leaf. I can name several qualities I want to cultivate within myself. What qualities or traits do you want to bring into your life? Let your word inspire you to become just that.

When we ask ourselves, “What are you going to do differently in 2021?”, we’re not just talking about New Year’s resolutions, which usually end up forgotten and replaced with discouragement and a feeling of failure. We are talking about life change.

What is your word of the year?


Becky Squire is a writer and speaker. She has been published in several media outlets including the Ensign, LDS Living, and the Today Show. She's also the founding editor of Latter-day Woman Magazine. Follow Becky Squire on Instagram.

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