How do you pick a word of the year?

Word of the Year Cheerfully Given

Using a word of the year to look forward into 2024 and evaluate 2023

As we started the new year it was really natural to take time to reflect on how the last year went. We take stock of our wins and loses. How our relationships were and were our priorities were.

If you’re a goal setter you’ll have been looking at how you did with those goals and celebrating if you hit them. You are also hopefully giving yourself grace if you didn’t hit them and celebrating the progress you did make.

I am a word for the year setter. Each year I stop and ask God for a word for the year. A focus for the year. Some years I find it really easy to settle on my word but this year I went through about 5 or 6 words before God made it clear they were all wrong and gave me a completely different.

Cheerfully Given Conference | Creative Christianity Summit 2022

Why have a word for the year?!

But why does setting goals or words for the year matter? The Bible makes it really clear that what we think about matters.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

(Philippians 4:8)

When we ask God for goals or words to explore throughout the year, we allow Him to keep pulling our thoughts back to Him and all He can do in our lives.

Last year my word for the year was ‘celebrate’. I spent the year trying to understand celebration and learning how important it is to celebrate INSIDE the circumstances and not waiting til the end to celebrate.

That word kept pulling me back to what wanted to speak into my life about. It encouraged me to think about things that are right, pure, lovely etc. That word meant that I was more able to hear His voice. I learned more because I was looking for it and I grew more quickly in that topic than I likely would have done without it.

What kind of word do people have?

Maybe you’re reading this and having a word for the year is a new idea. You are wondering what kind of words people use. Words I’ve heard people having as their word for the year include: intentional, focus, celebrate, abide, equip, live, breathe, vulnerability, liturgy, discipline, deeper, calling, vision, authentic, purpose, pursue, prioritise, rest.

When you pause and ask God you will often see themes and patterns where God is speaking to you.

Some people chose to have a verse for the year instead of word. Maybe a verse like the one above from Philippians as an encouragement, a verse to challenge or even a verse to bring peace.

The year may be moving quickly but it’s not too late to ask God for a word to focus on. Any month of any year is worth pausing and asking God for that word. He is interested in our lives every moment of every day.

Rainbow Print | Philippians 4:8 Scripture Art Print | Frog and Gnome | Cheerfully Given - Christian Wall Art UK

How can you keep that word in your mind?

I try to display the word around my working and resting spaces. I searched Cheerfully Given for a verse on a wall print to put on my wall to make the reminder pretty!

I also write it in my planner each week when I plan for the week ahead. It keeps it high in my working memory and then when I look at my planner I am reminded. I had a friend who created a wall paper for her phone with her word so that every time she picked up her phone it would be the first thing she saw.

Maybe you could create an image to display by cutting letters out of a magazine to write the word and surround it with images that inspire you. Perhaps some of the Bible Journalling kits on Cheerfully Given could give some inspiration as you explore your word.

Whether you chose to have a word for the year, a verse for the year, set goals for the year or are working towards New Year's Resolutions we would encourage you to have a focus for the months and years ahead that might help you to become more Christ like in your everyday life by giving Him space in your mind, because he is surely sure, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy and SO MUCH more.

With love in Christ,

Sarah & the Cheerfully Given Team