Word. · ep. 56

"Word" is spelled in the middle of a colorful pile  of letters.

Word of the Year

I hope you enjoyed reflecting on your past year, like we discussed last time, and had a blast ringing in 2023! I’m curious–have you heard others talk about having a Word of the Year? The idea is that you choose a word to be your theme or focus all year long. Some people prefer to do this instead of making New Year’s Resolutions because those often start strong but fizzle out after a few weeks, and then you feel bad for not sticking with it (but it’s okay to fail, learn from it, and set new goals, right?). Anyway, a Word of the Year, on the other hand, can be carried with you all year long, can be applied in countless scenarios, and might even help you reach your goals, too.

How to Choose Your Word

There are SO many words out there that could work, how do you decide? Here are some tips: Think about your life lately. What’s a common thought you’ve had, that you keep circling back to, about how you want your life to be? Do you want more of a certain thing, or perhaps less? What’s a change you’ve wanted to make but felt like you needed a permission slip? If you’ve felt stuck in an emotional rut, what would give you a kickstart? Name a character trait you’ve been wanting to develop but were waiting for the right time. Is there something you want to happen in your life but felt you needed an opportunity? Those questions may get your thoughts flowing, so write down what comes to mind: words, phrases, emotions, values, nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Brain dump now, edit later. Put all of your ideas down, no matter how silly or far out they are. This is a rough draft, it’s ok if you don’t have the exact word yet–we’ll get there–just ring out all of your ideas onto the page.

Next, read through them all one time, beginning to end. Then read through them again and circle your favorites, the ones that stick out the most. Notice if there are similarities between them. Once you’ve narrowed them down, underline your Top 3. Take your time, weigh your options, see how each feels when you consider it. Once you’re there, rank each one’s importance to you. Take it for a mental test drive and think about how your life would be with this word guiding you all year. Whichever helps you feel the best, feel excited, feel eager to start applying it, highlight it–that’s the one! If it happens to be a word already, awesome! If you’re still searching for the right way to name a phrase, no worries–I’ve got some options that might be what you’re looking for. Sit back, listen in, and see which word resonates with you. Here are 50 words with their definition.

Ideas for your Word of the Year

Empowerful adjective strong, confident, know you can (Empowerful Girls) 

Self-trust noun reliance on [your] integrity, strength, ability, surety (Dictionary.com)

Mindful adjective aware of your body, mind, and feelings (Cambridge)

Curiosity noun desire to know (Merriam-Webster)

Assertive adjective certain of your abilities or value (Cambridge)

Resilient adjective recover from or adjust easily to change (Merriam-Webster)

Responsible adjective having good judgment and ability to make decisions on your own (Cambridge)

Magical adjective mysteriously enchanting (Dictionary.com)

Peaceful adjective calm and quiet (Macmillan)

Flexible adjective capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements (Merriam-Webster)

Create verb to evolve from one’s own thought or imagination (Dictionary.com)

Secure adjective trustworthy, dependable (Merriam-Webster)

Purpose noun feeling of having a reason for what you do (Cambridge)

Enough adjective As in, You Are Enough (Empowerful Girls)

Discover adjective gain sight or knowledge of (Dictionary.com)

Joy noun a state of happiness (Merriam-Webster)

Considerate adjective kind and helpful (Cambridge)

Share verb to tell someone else about your thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. (Cambridge)

Confident adjective being certain of your abilities (Cambridge)

Strong adjective especially able, competent, or powerful (Dictionary.com)

Worthy adjective deserving something (Macmillan)

Fearless adjective bold or brave (Dictionary.com)

Perspective noun capacity to view things in their relative importance (Merriam-Webster)

Stand out verb to be easy to see or notice because of being different (Macmillan)

Centered adjective sensible, calm, and confident (Macmillan)

Inclusive adjective embracing; integrate all people (Dictionary.com)

Appreciate verb to understand that something is valuable (Cambridge)

Innovative adjective inventing or using new ideas, methods, equipment, etc. (Macmillan)

Capable adjective having the ability, power, or qualities to be able to do something (Cambridge)

Forgive verb to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) (Merriam-Webster)

Positive adjective full of hope and confidence (Cambridge)

Impact noun an effect, or an influence (Macmillan)

Shine verb to send out or reflect light (Cambridge)

Proud adjective having or showing self-respect or self-esteem (Dictionary.com)

Simplify verb to make something less complicated or difficult (Macmillan)

Explore verb to search and discover (Cambridge)

Respect noun a sense of the worth or excellence of a person (Dictionary.com)

Breathe verb to pause and rest before continuing (Merriam-Webster)

Energy noun the power and ability to be physically and mentally active (Cambridge)

Cheer noun a shout of encouragement, approval, congratulation, etc. (Dictionary.com)

Ambitious adjective having a desire to achieve a particular goal (Merriam-Webster)

Imaginative adjective good at thinking of new, original, and clever ideas (Cambridge)

Connection noun a feeling that you understand, like, and are interested in someone or something (Cambridge)

Progress noun gradual betterment (Merriam-Webster)

Compassion noun ​​sharing in the emotional experience of the other person with a desire to alleviate the person’s distress (Merriam-Webster)

Boundaries noun the limit of what someone considers to be acceptable behavior (Cambridge)

Steady adjective not easily disturbed or upset (Merriam-Webster)

Persevere verb to continue trying to achieve something difficult (Macmillan)

Heal verb to make well again (Merriam-Webster)

Accomplish verb to finish something successfully or to achieve something (Cambridge)

Word of the Year Poster + List Printable

Hopefully one of those stood out to you or helped you narrow down your Word of the Year. If not, give it some more thought, sleep on it, and choose a word that speaks to you. If you’re more of a visual learner, I have a list of these word ideas plus a “Word of the Year” poster that you can print out, fill out, and post on your wall where you’ll see it, remember it, practice it, and believe it — that’s the important part. (updated for 2024)



If you want to take it a step further, you can get my You’ve Got This Year! calendar (updated for 2024) that features a monthly topic to focus on all month, plus other features to give you inspiration, help you with organization, and empower you with motivation throughout 2023. Click the Shop tab.

I’d love to know what Word of the Year you chose and hear updates on how it shapes your year! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) to hello@EmpowerfulGirls.com . Or you can DM or tag me on social media, if you have it already. I’m on Insta or tiktok @empowerfulgirls. I’m not encouraging or endorsing social media, but I’m on there to offer an unfiltered, uplifting alternative to what’s in your feed.

If you have a topic suggestion, I’d love to hear from you! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) to hello@EmpowerfulGirls.com . Remember to get on the email list for the newsletter!

Also, if you enjoy listening to 10 for Teens + Tweens, I would truly appreciate you telling your friends about this podcast or leaving a review so others can find it and feel uplifted, too! Your support means the world to me!

yes, please!

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