'Word of the year' is replacing the New Year's resolution. Here's why you should make the switch.

It’s that time of the year when everyone on Instagram crafts up a carefully curated post sharing their highlights from the year prior. Weddings, babies, Europe trips and engagement photos flood feeds around January 1, serving as a reminder of just how little you did in 2023.

It's easy to fall victim to comparison, especially if, like most of us, you weren’t able to stick to your New Year’s resolutions past the first week of January. Add all the challenges you were forced to face, watching other people’s best moments can be… rough.

Luckily, the start of 2024 symbolises new beginnings and gives everyone the opportunity for a fresh start. This year, however, we’re changing things up, and instead of setting a long list of resolutions that won’t make it past the first month, we’re picking out a word of the year.

Hear me out. 

We live in the age of instant gratification, resulting in us wanting to reach our goals quickly. But switching up your lifestyle isn’t something that can be achieved overnight, in fact, it may even take longer than a year for lifelong habits to change.

It's why resolutions set us up for failure, because there’s no quick fix for creating lasting change, rather, we should focus on a more holistic approach by picking out a guiding word instead.

Usually when we create resolutions, we write vague intentions such as, “eat healthier” or “workout more”, but when choosing a word, one needs to think about how they want to feel this year instead.


It’s a positive way to anchor your intentions and far less pressure than a resolution.

Picking out a word of the year is a much more practical alternative to the New Year's resolution. Image: Getty.

How to pick out a word of the year.


The first thing you need to do is to find yourself a calm spot and reflect on the year that has just passed - the good, the bad and the ugly. Do this by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What made you feel stressed?
  • What habits do you want to change?
  • Did you get enough sleep?
  • What did you accomplish?
  • What were the highlights?
  • What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think about 2023?

Think deeply about your goals, intentions and values for 2024.

Before starting this exercise, it’s important to know that goals, intentions and values are all different to one another. Your goals are proof of an achievement, your values are what you consider to be important and your intentions are what you hope to execute. 

So, let’s say you believe in a healthier lifestyle, your intention could be to eat more fulfilling foods and your goal might be to go to the gym at least twice a week.

When thinking about these three things, it’s not necessary to set rigid goals, rather, think about where you want to sit in these areas of your life:

  • Your relationships
  • Your career
  • Your health - both physical and mental
  • Your lifestyle

Pick out a word.

At this point you might feel overwhelmed because of the pressure of picking out one word for the entire year, but you don’t need to settle on one immediately. You can even create a shortlist of words and try each of them out until you find one that fits.

Once you’ve chosen your word, try to incorporate it in everything that you do by:

  • Having it visibly displayed somewhere in your house.
  • Find a quote about that word to help motivate and inspire you.
  • Use it to make decisions, for example, if your word is “joy” then ask yourself questions like, “Is spending time with toxic friends bringing me joy?”

To help you out, we’ve written some of our favourite words we believe would make a great word of the year. Check them out and feel free to use them in your day-to-day life.

  • Thrive
  • Joy
  • Growth
  • Strength
  • Peace
  • Connect
  • Breathe
  • Engage
  • Pause
  • Gratitude
  • Optimism
  • Reset
  • Renew
  • Nourish
  • Energise
  • Bloom
  • Adventure
  • Reconnect
  • Experience
  • Balance
  • Cherish
  • Comfort
  • Listen

Feature image: Getty.

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