Setting Your Word Of The Year

New Year often brings about resolutions for weight loss, radical change, financial gain, and big life goals.  In fact, according to 2 in every 3 Brits will make a resolution for 2024. A lot of the time the goals we set are unplanned, unrealistic, and unachievable and so it is no wonder that research shows 80% have ditched their goals by February.

I am quite anti new years resolutions as I feel they set you up to fail and I always want people to succeed.  So why not consider trying something new? Have you ever thought of having a “word of the year” instead?  It is something I’ve done for the last 3 years and it really works!

What is a word of the year?

A word of the year (WOTY) is about having an umbrella term that summarises everything you want to do (and feels).  It should inspire you rather than punish you.  I think that it is kinder to be expressing an intention for the year rather than setting an unrealistic and often body image target. Do you agree?

How does it work?

One of the real benefits of setting a WOTY is that there is no right or wrong.  It is more around feelings and inspiring you to make better choices than a way to beat yourself up over a missed gym session or having a biscuit!

Let me give you an example with wanting to lose weight.  A new year’s resolution might be to cut out carbs and go to the gym 3 times a week.  All totally unsustainable and likely to make you feel miserable and guilty when you deviate from such a harsh plan.  But if your WOTY was “consistency” then each day you might make a better choices. You may just have a little less carb rich food or go out for a short daily walk.  These two elements, done consistently, are more sustainable and more likely to help your weight loss in the longer term.  There is no winning or losing, it’s much more an ongoing progress and more likely to make you feel good too.

How to pick your word?

You may instinctively know which word you want to choose and that is great.  If you don’t then it may feel a bit daunting but it can be an easy process.

One great way is to

  1. Make a list of all the things you would like to achieve over the next year as a bit of a wish list e.g. save money, improve energy, lose weight, gain a promotion etc.
  2. Review your list and look at what is needed to achieve these things. Consider your feelings about them too and come up with some words that might work to inspire and summarise. Examples are compassion, focus, dedication, acceptance, honesty, balance, planning, creativity, love, nurture, connect, adventure, resilience, growth etc
  3. Review which word feels like the one that encompasses most of what you wish to achieve and that is your word of the year.

write a list word of the year


Do not get too caught up with the process – it is okay to have a word that feels 80% right.  Better that than not try at all because you cannot come up with the perfect word!

How to use your chosen word?

How you incorporate your WOTY is up to you.  You can print it out and stick it all over your home, you can exchange words with friends and review each month or you can even just know your word in your own mind.  Do what works for you. I like to reflect regularly with mine in a journal and then watch at it evolves each year.

reflect on your word of the year

My experience with a WOTY

Back in 2022 my word was “focus”.  I wanted to focus on my business and my health and I started well with getting out for runs with the dog, making some great eating choices and setting better boundaries with work.  It was clear by the April/May that my daughter had an eating disorder and my focus shifted.  She was my focus and my WOTY helped me to feel fine with taking time off work.  As our daughter slowly recovered, I knew I needed to focus back on the business and on my health and it felt hard work and not that inspiring.  In 2023 I chose “balance” as my WOTY because I need a word that had more emotional connection.  This felt right with trying to balance both my health and the business and has worked well for me over the last 12 months.  This year, I have been greedy and have two words.  I’ve chosen “consistency” and “acceptance” and I am excited about how I am going to use these to inspire me across the year.  I have a planned operation and a child going to university and I know I will need to be accepting of things outside my control.  With my health and my work I need to keep consistent to gain the results I aspire to.  So I go into 2024 with excitement and with my words ready to inspire.

I would love to hear your word of the year.  What is it going to be?

Janet x

PS Don't forget that I can help you to achieve your health goals. To book in a free call to discuss how I can do this or to find out how to work with me please click here




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Janet Padfield


  1. Emma Forward on January 3, 2024 at 6:16 pm

    What a brilliant piece of advice! My word is care and it’s really helping me already. No new year’s resolutions to struggle with just a watchword for the year to be guided by. Thank you 😊

    • Janet Padfield on January 3, 2024 at 6:47 pm

      You’re very welcome – care sounds like a brilliant word to choose! x

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