Welcome to the Positively Living Podcast. I’m your host Lisa, and although words may not be sufficient to express how much I appreciate you, they can do some amazing things for us to guide us to our goals. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

At the end of last year, I shared episode #136 “Reflections Instead of Resolutions,” and explained why I believe there are better options for goal setting than resolutions. Setting goals and addressing habits are key to achieving what you want, but somewhere in-between is one of the biggest challenges we face: choosing the right thing each day…the right tasks and projects, the right opportunities. It’s asking yourself will this action take me closer to or further away from my goals? 

One of the easiest and most effective ways to help with that is to have a guiding word to use for these choices.

Yes, ONE word. I realize you might have a “word” in mind for the last couple of years, but I don’t mean THAT ONE. 🤣 I mean one that describes an *intention* for how you want to show up each day going forward.

Your WORD of the year becomes a filter to help you decide what action to take that aligns you with your values and goals. 

The other benefit is that it helps you focus on one thing at a time instead of trying to do too much, and that is a brilliant self-imposed limit for you, my multi-passionate overachiever!

A Word of the Year is a bit like having a “theme” for the year. You can do whatever you want throughout the year, but when life is swirling around — distracting and discouraging — that word reminds you of your path.

As a creative, you may want to think of it as a throughline for your story, connecting your theme or plot as your year unfolds. Just as a character arc occurs in a story, how you relate to your word of the year will change as the year progresses, but the simplicity of one word allows for your growth and revised perspective without having to change the word.

However you look at it, it’s a technique that is grounding and guiding.

Before we dig into how to choose one, allow me to address the challenge on behalf of multi-passionates everywhere.

How do you choose one word?

Ok, well…you don’t technically have to choose ONE if that doesn’t work. Maybe it’s a set of words or a mantra or phrase? If that suits you, I promise not to call the Word of the Year police on you. I would advise that you select words that complement each other to have a set that guides you in the same direction.

What you might find, though, is as you consider your options and put them into practice, one word may become the highlight or the one you start with, and that’s wise because it’s a simpler approach. As I describe how to choose the one, you’ll see how you can work it to have many options with only one word. 

Sometimes it’s a matter of trying it out and not being afraid to change it if it doesn’t work. I started off 2018 with three words, but a little over a week into January, I found one of them worked best and kept going with just that one. I’ll share my words with you that date back to 2015 confirmed as well as some bonus ones for prior years, but first, let’s go over how you can come up with your own.

To choose one, ask yourself:

❓What could I use more of (or less of) in my life?

❓What characteristics would I like to have?

❓How do I want to help others?

❓How do I want to show up?

Find words that inspire you and check definitions – they might surprise you. Use the thesaurus for alternatives until you find one that feels right.

You may find other options and connotations and multiple meanings that inspire you. Having those as a reference can help you select the best word and extend how you use it throughout the year. I’m also a sucker for a good double entendre or at least a good double meaning because it gives you options and perspectives despite being a single word.

Once you choose your word, keep it near you. Repeat it, share it, display it. In the last episodes, we talked about vision boards. Your vision board is an ideal place for your word of the year and corresponding images. 

Word of the Year

Lisa’s WORDS

Before 2015, I focused on words like health, balance, acceptance, and gratitude

In 2015, I began selecting a specific word, and since then, these are my words:




2018: PURPOSE⁣ ⁣(originally considered 3–honor, presence, and purpose)

2019: BEYOND

2020: REACH⁣ ⁣

2021: REVIVE

My word of the year for 2022 was FIT.

I had a set of words to choose from, which is how I start out, and this one jumped out because I was really feeling how “selective” I wanted and needed to be with everything. But I also found that the word offered so much more. Here are the notes I wrote to give you a sense of why I chose it:

I don’t mean “having a FIT,” though that does indicate laughter, and that is on brand for me! 🤣 I mean FIT like you think of clothes or being strong. FIT means I’ll be selective with what I choose for my family and business to ensure what I do truly aligns. It means focusing on my health and focusing on strength in all aspects of my life, but not just to be strong…to be strong in the right ways. 

And my word for 2023? EASE

The first definition is the absence of difficulty or effort, and I’m down for that!

But consider this description that isn’t adjectival but is a verb showing the kind of action:

“to free from anything that pains, disquiets, or oppresses; to relieve from toil or care; to give rest, repose, or tranquility to; — to ease of pain; ease the body or mind to release from pressure or restraint; to move gently; to lift slightly; to shift a little;”

Can you see how that fits my goal as a stress management and habits coach helping clients reduce pressure and take small steps? And how it fits my values as someone who wants to protect others and to help them heal? 

Of course, this also works for me to select things for my family and for me that is inherently less difficult or complex. It reminds me to find the paths of least resistance and do so willingly and excitedly instead of thinking about how they might not be valuable. There is value for me in ease. I value ease. The word is in the Positively Productive mantra “Do Less, Live More, Breathe Easier” and I am excited to embrace it for myself and my family as well.

What about you? What do you want to see more of in 2023? And will you try a word of the year to do it?

Remember, you can always change it up as necessary. Some people choose a word each quarter. Some choose a set of words. Do what works for you. It’s meant to be a guide for a season in your life to keep you grounded and on track, but where you go is always your choice. 

If you’d like help choosing a word and would like some guidance to start your year off right, let’s talk about a coaching option for you. You can do a single session like Speed coaching, which is like speed dating but without the awkward small talk, or a Strategy Session, which includes a longer session where we take inventory of your values and todos and create an action plan for you to implement, or you can opt for the Signature Coaching Package–the most popular package–which includes strategy and accountability in a month-to-month contract so you can start when you need to and end when you’re ready. I welcome you to book a free discovery call with me so we can figure out your best next steps. Go to http://www.positivelyproductive.com/call