Words of the year are probably one of the biggest slices of Instagram fodder at the moment. But, if you’re drowning in an ocean of ‘change’ and ‘believe’ and ‘grow’ and ‘evolve’, but can’t quite work out what you word should be, this blog will help you identify your focus for 2021 and wrap it all up into one neat little word to slather across your journals and socials.

What’s This Word of the Year All About?

Yeah, good question. The word of the year trend might seem like a social media fad on the surface, but used correctly, it can help even the biggest sceptics of self development bullshit align their lives towards what they really want. The purpose of the word, really, is to have a constant throughout the year to continually keep you on track to what you really want, to stop you getting led astray by external influences or your ego or a big ol’ bout of imposter syndrome or self sabotage. 

My Word For 2021

My word for 2021 is FUN. After a long, dark 2020, I really want to prioritise FUN in 2021, even with the threat of more lockdowns and more horrible news stories. I want to work to the mantra ‘make it fun’, and focus on bringing joy and light into my life, even when it’s not immediately clear how.

In 2019 I chose SPACE, because I wanted to create space in a number of areas of my life. For example, between my income and my expenses, between myself and toxic people, space in my schedule to do more of what I love. So for me, 2020’s word GROW was a natural progression from the space I’d achieved in 2019. In 2020 I chose GROW, to sort of nurture that space I’d created and grow it to better support my wellbeing.

How to Start Choosing a Word of the Year

The first step in choosing a word of the year for 2020 is to stop thinking about the damn words all together. Depending on the type of person you are, your word will probably pop into your head at one of two instances:

  1. When you’re doing something entirely unrelated to the topic of setting your goals or thinking about the year ahead.


  1. Slap bang in the middle of your deepest thoughts about 2020.

In 2019 mine came to me while at a vision boarding workshop run by my friend Elle Steele (freedom advocate, Paralympian, energy healer, biz mentor and all round epic human being). 

In 2020, my word popped into my head while I was brushing my teeth, following 3 days of me being sure I wanted to use SPACE again. *eye roll*

But the main thing is stop trying to think of a word, and instead just think about what you achieved in 2019 (or didn’t achieve) and what you want for 2020.

You might have realised that 2019 wasn’t your best year and you want to change a lot of things for 2020, or leave something behind you. You also might have goals that involve big shifts in your thinking, or forming new habits, and that you want 2020 to be starkly different from 2019.

In that case, you word could be ‘shift’ or ‘adjust’ or ‘movement’ or ‘gentle’. 

You might have loved the bollocks off of 2019 (like me), and just want more of that brilliance to continue into 2020. You also might want to continue working on some habits you formed in 2020, or keep plugging away at a project you started.

In this case, your word might be more like mine of ‘grow’, or ‘evolve’, or ‘nurture’, or ‘consistency’ or ‘belief’. 

Drawing Together Your Goals

Choosing a word that fits with your overall approach to 2020 is important. If it’s not aligned correctly, you’ll lose focus.

Try to first write down 5-10 things that you want to have done or be doing by the end of 2021. Focus on the kind of person those things will make you, more than the actual action itself.

For example, maybe you want to exercise more and eat healthier. That’s a bit of a fluffy goal, so maybe break it down into something a bit more specific to WHY. That could be:

  • I move my body 30 minutes per day to feel amazing and energised
  • I fuel my body with healthy foods to get more done
  • I respect my body and connect that to the foods I eat and the energy I use in movement
  • I run half marathons for an amazing sense of accomplishment and to keep me focused on moving forward.

See the difference in those healthy lifestyle goals?

The first one seems more about feeling more energetic and powerful

The second one is about being a more productive, ‘shit together’ type person and eating foods to match that.

The third one is about self belief and respect, and matching your diet to that same level of love for yourself.

The fourth is about achievement and consistency.

If you do this with each of your goals, you’ll start to see patterns which will inform your word choice. You might see that a number of your goals relate to consistency, so you can think about WHY you want that consistency and HOW you’re going to achieve it. Do you need to stay focused? Do you need to believe in yourself? Do you need to be more organised? 

Your word will gradually start to evolve from a few patterns in your goals. Don’t worry if your initial word doesn’t fit with every goal. You can often make it fit, and it can shake up the way you think about other goals, too. In my opinion, a mix of finding your word based on patterns between a few goals, and making that word fit into the pattern of the other goals, is the best way to set a meaningful word of the year. 

For example, if you’ve noticed patterns of self love in your exercise goals and your mindset goals, there’s a good chance this fits with your financial and career goals too. If you love yourself, you’re more likely to feel deserving and able to shoot for that promotion, or charge a higher hourly rate, or say no to clients who don’t respect you. 

Step-By-Step Guide to Choosing a Word of the Year

Step 1: Sit down and think in your mind or write in a journal (whichever suits you best) how you felt about 2020.

Step 2: Then think about how you feel about 2021, and see whether this is the same or different to 2020. Do you want change or more of the same?

Step 3: Write out 5-10 goals that span multiple areas of your life, and break them down into more specific feelings and ‘whys’ (as above).

Step 4: Extract patterns between a few goals and begin to form a word from there. Shortlist 3 options.

Step 5: Look at your remaining goals and see if your shortlist fits with those as well. 

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you arrive at your word of the year.

BOOM! You’re ready for an epic 2021. Did this help you choose a focus word for 2020? Find me on Instagram and tell me your word!