Why Choose a Word of the Year Instead of Making New Year's Resolutions... and the Word I've Chosen for 2019

Are you a resolution maker? For years I was. Every year on New Year's Day or around that time, I would sit and faithfully write out my resolutions for the year. As I got older and read more about goal-setting, I began setting monthly goals instead.

I would begin the year with a sense of excitement and purpose. I was going to keep these resolutions, meet these goals. Unfortunately by the end of January, I was usually discouraged. I had missed multiple days of carrying out my resolutions or was far from meeting this month's goals. After that, the goals and resolutions were all but forgotten.

Several years ago, though, I came across the concept of a word of the year. I loved this! Since then, I've been using a word of the year instead of setting goals or making resolutions.

Why choose a word of the year

So, why is a word of the year better than the old method of resolutions or goals? Here are three reasons...and at the end, my word for this year- 2019.

A word gives you a focal point for the year.


Too often when you are setting goals, you can lack focus. You have this set of resolutions or goals for business, another set for parenting, another set for marriage, another set for homeschooling, etc. And it can be easy to get overwhelmed with this. A word for the year, however, provides a focal point for every area of life.

When you're off-track, you can refocus on your word instead of getting discouraged about your goals and resolutions.


Notice I said "when" you're off track, not "if." Life is going to happen. You are going to get "behind" on your goals or slip away from your resolutions. When this happens, it can be difficult to get back on track because you see how many things you've missed or messed up on, and it seems much to overwhelming to "catch up." With a word, however, you can refocus at any time, and you aren't struggling with the idea of catching up or making up lost ground.

A word of the year helps you to develop a successful positive attitude, no matter what your circumstances may be.


Things can happen in your life that cause you to be unable to keep resolutions, to meet goals- a long-term illness, the death of a friend or family member, a major life change. When these things happen your goals and resolutions go out the window. A word, however, is helping you to focus on an attitude, an idea. And this is something you can maintain no matter your circumstances.

Why choose a word of the year


My Word of the Year: Smile


I was struggling to come up with my word this year when I came across this fun, light-hearted word of the year generator. I decided to give it a try. I rejected a few words that came up, and I almost rejected "smile" as well, but something made me think about it a little more deeply.

I don't blog about this very much, but I have some medical issues that mean that I live in pretty much constant pain. I have what has been diagnosed as fibromyalgia, but over this last year, there have been indications that I may also have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome that's never been diagnosed. Whatever the name for it...there are many days that I just hurt. It's a struggle.

While I can and do trust that God is working all things out for His glory, there are many days that my goal is just to get through and move on. But I realize that's not a very positive attitude. When I came to the word "smile", I realized that this is what I really want to do more of. I want to smile, despite the situation I'm in, despite pain, despite my physical state, I want to have more moments when I smile.

I'm also a planner and a doer. I have a schedule. I have boxes to check. And it's easy to just put my head down and keep going until I check off all those things I need to do. But I don't often stop to actually enjoy what I'm doing, to smile. 

So this year my word, my focus is smile. It's something I want to consciously take time to do more often.


Do you choose a word of the year? What's your word?


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