How To Choose A Guiding Word of the Year

We can all agree that the past year has been extremely hard. There has been so much that has been out of our control. But at the same time, there are plenty of things that are still within our control. As I reflect back on 2020, I see areas that I would like to improve.

Are you ready to make changes in the new year? I sure am!

In the past, I have tried to set New Year’s resolutions to little or no avail. So this year I am turning to choose a guiding word instead. My desire is that it helps bring clarity on what I want to achieve by providing a guiding framework instead of a fixed set of prescribed goals that leave no flexibility in dealing with the uncertainty and changes that life brings. 

This year, I encourage you to choose a guiding word that will help focus you as we head into the new year. 


You can choose a guiding word or mantra to help you stay focused as you begin this new year.

Please note this post may contain affiliate links, read my full disclosure here.

Why You Should Choose a Guiding Word

We have all been there – we set goals that we really will never achieve. When we don’t achieve them, we experience crushing defeat. Instead, we can choose a guiding word that will be our driving force for the year but that leaves us the flexibility to consider success regardless of what life throws our way or how many to-dos we are able to accomplish (or not). 

4 Tips to Choose a Guiding Word

Your word is unique to you and you shouldn’t choose it just because you see some else doing so. Your guiding word should challenge you personally and invoke a desire for growth in that area above all others.


Struggling to pick the right word? Look no further! I am here to give you four tips on choosing a guiding word.


Choose a Guiding Word By Reflecting on the Past Year

Take time to reflect on your past year. Yes, it was a hard one for sure. What stood out? What challenges did you face? What successes did you have? What did you learn?


Are there specific words that come to mind that sum up the year? Or maybe a specific word that sums up how you wish the year would have went?


Write Down Your Guiding Word

As you think about the past year and into the new year, write down the words that come to mind. Then review your list and narrow it down to just three words. As you read over these words you will probably see a common theme. Do any words make you feel especially excited or uncomfortable? Sometimes the words that make us feel uncomfortable will be the ones that will help with the most personal growth. 


Read scripture for a guiding word

It is so important to dive into Scripture. Reflect on verses that have do with the words you listed from the previous steps. When your word is grounded in prayer, it is truly bigger than you think – it can transform your year and life. Dive right into the word with a Write the Word Journal. 

Pray about a guiding word

When choosing a word it should align with God’s will and seek to bring glory to His kingdom. One of the best ways to know if your guiding word does that is to ask God in prayer. Seek the Lord’s direction if you are struggling to find the right guiding word.

”Dear Lord, I surrender this year to you. I trust in your plan and all that you have in store for the year ahead. Help me to remember to meditate on your Word. Lead me with a guiding word so I can focus on you. Transform my heart and renew my mind. Thank you for your guidance and wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Guiding Word Examples

If you need some help choosing a guiding word, here are some examples.

Intentional: We faced a lot of new challenges navigating the world with the pandemic. Did you go through the year just winging it? Maybe your word for 2021 should be intentional. When we are more intentional, we have the ability to accomplish what we have set to achieve.


Patient: 2020 was a rough year. Patience is all about accepting your current circumstances and not becoming anxious or annoyed.


Joyful: In the midst of everything going on in the world, it is up to you to choose joy each and every day. When we rely on God, joy should come to be a part of our nature.


Grateful: Your attitude and mindset can change when you choose to be grateful. This year, focus on keeping a gratitude journal. 


Present: Are you so often on your phone that you forget what’s around you? I am guilty! This was my word last year. It’s so important to cherish each moment and be present with God, yourself, and the people you care about.


Rooted: Has this year been a struggle for you? Maybe next year, you needed to be more rooted in God’s Word. By being rooted in Scripture, you will learn about who God is and who He says you are. 


My Word for 2021

My guiding word for the year is contentment. My scripture verses are 1 Timothy 6:6-12 and Philippians 4:11-13. I want to find contentment and joy in whatever season or circumstance I am facing. God’s grace is perfected in my weakness and I can make Him known by choosing to be content.

It’s a daily choice. Contentment brings us closer to God. It reminds us of His faithfulness and good plan. 

I hope this encourages you to choose a guiding word that will lead you through this next year. You can rely on God to help you achieve more than you thought possible.


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