Word of the Year Inspiration

January calendar on a clipboard.

I know there are still quite a few people out there holding on to the whole New Year’s Resolution idea, but I just can’t get on board. First of all, I am horrible at maintaining resolutions for longer than 2 or 3 weeks. Ok, if I’m being completely honest, I’m doing well to keep up with one for a full week. Secondly, I’m amazing at justifying why I don’t need to continue with a resolution that I made and can easily talk my way out of it. 

Woman holding simplify sign as her Word of the year.

The One Word concept that rolled out a few years ago was very enticing to me because it allowed a lot more wiggle room as far as commitments go.

Resolutions feel constraining, and I don’t love the guilt and shame that come with them when I inevitably fail with the follow through.

I do, however, love the idea of having a central word to keep me focused on what is most important to me at this point in my life.

It’s a lot easier to remember one word than a very specific list of goals, and the word I choose is more likely to keep the actual intention for the year at the forefront of my mind.

What is a “Word of the Year”?

A woman thinking about what her Word of the Year should be.

In case you’re new to the idea of choosing just One Word for the year, the basic idea is that the word you choose will be the word that you will focus on for the entire year.

Ideally, this will be something that you want to consider and use as a filter when you make decisions, plan your schedule each week, and determine what aspects of life will receive your attention.

You can always attach a few “resolutions” or goals to this word that fit within its scope, but it is meant to be more of a guiding light.

My Personal Experience with Word of the Year

This will be my sixth year to choose a word, and they have been very different each year.


For 2018, my One Word was Grace. In the middle of a huge health crisis that had no visible endpoint, I realized that I was struggling to cope with the life changes this brought for myself and my family. I made giving my family more grace when I was tired and hurting a big priority.

I needed to allow grace for myself instead of constantly feeling guilty that I was unable to do the daily activities I used to do when I was healthy. Every single day needed a measure of grace, and it was a relief (to everyone) when this became my focus.


A woman resting on her couch as she has chosen "heal" as her Word of the Year.

The end of 2018 wrapped up with a pretty invasive neck surgery for me, which was exactly what my body needed! Coming off of that experience, my One Word for 2019 was Heal.

I wanted this “healing” to apply to my physical body, my spirit, my relationships… If something was wounded in some way, I was praying for God to heal it!

Having this word as my focus allowed me to rest, refresh, and grow in ways I had not been able to do in a long time.


I had one last surgery on my shoulder at the end of 2019, and I went into 2020 with the goals of hitting physical therapy hard and regaining all manner of health as soon as possible!

My One Word for 2020 was Intentional. That year, I wanted to do so many things, and I knew I could only accomplish them by being intentional with my actions every single day. It had been years since I was healthy enough to follow through with the goals and dreams swirling around in my head. My body, mind, and soul were finally in a stable place, and I was ready to get to work.


When 2021 started, I had already jumped into owning my own business and was collaborating with others in the online teaching space.

Two women talking and encouraging each other.

So many people had turned to virtual education as a way to work from home during the pandemic, so my business of coaching was booming as I worked towards creating my first big digital course!

My One Word for 2021 had to be Elevate.  I wanted to elevate every aspect of my life that year – my relationship with God, time with family, offers in my business, relationships with others… and I wanted to help others elevate themselves as well. I managed my health, so I could only see things going up from there!


As you can imagine, I encountered a lot of struggles while working towards elevating my life in all areas and also trying to elevate others. Wrapping up 2021, I felt exhausted! Amazing things were happening – I was SO excited about where my business was headed in 2022 – but there was definitely a need to recognize and celebrate all of the small wins along the way.

It was very clear that my word for 2022 needed to be Enough. I needed a constant reminder that even if I didn’t get my entire to do list done by the end of the day, it was still enough. If I was working to serve others and bring God glory each day, whatever got accomplished had to be enough – both for me and for others.

A woman smiling and drinking coffee.

It might sound silly, but just having this One Word as my focus for the entire year allowed me to realize that there actually is no bar to reach.

There’s no magical measuring stick that eventually has an end at the top.

And the whole concept of “enough”?

It’s self-constructed! That means that we get to decide when we’ve reached it.

A New Year means a new Word of the Year!

So now we’re rolling into 2023, and it’s time for a new word! I know that I want to focus on being intentional and proactive in everything this year, but I’ve already used that first word, and I just don’t love the second one.

I feel a strong need to avoid being reactive in all things moving forward – with business decisions, situations that arise with my kids, unpleasant events that inevitably hit us in the face… Reactive responses from me never seem to be what is best.

Woman trying to decide on her Word of the year.

Here’s to making 2023 a year where I live in a solid awareness of PURPOSE.

I want to filter everything through God’s purpose for my life.

I want to be mindful of the purpose behind everything I offer through Merciful Mornings.

There should be a clear purpose behind the guidelines, rewards, and consequences we put in place for our kids.

I pray we steward the resources God has given us with holy purpose to bless others and glorify Him.

How does choosing a Word of the Year feel for you?

I hope these examples have provided some inspiration as you look towards the approaching new year. Remember that every season is different, and it’s ok if this season requires a word like Rest or Survive for you! The 2018 version of me could never have predicted that the future would hold words like Elevate or Purpose. We take it one year at a time, and sometimes it’s just one day at a time. 

Choose the word that resonates best for you in this season of life. I would love to hear from you when you’ve chosen one for yourself, so drop it in the comments or share with me via email or DM!


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Hi I’m Rachel!

I’m a lifelong teacher, writer, and speaker. I’m passionate about serving women who are overwhelmed with All The Things so they feel empowered to create some breathing room and live a more intentional life. 

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