How to Choose an Inspiring Word of the Year for 2024

by Stephen Box  - January 9, 2024

If you haven’t yet chosen a word of the year for 2024, you’re in the right place.

I first learned about the concept at our church (Sugar Hill Church) when they had "Rock Sunday." Since then, it's become one of my favorite tools for personal growth and goal setting.

In this article, you'll find a breakdown of everything you need to pick a word that inspires you to have your best year ever.

Why Should You Choose a Word of the Year For 2024?

If you’re not familiar with the concept of a word of the year. This powerful practice involves selecting a single word that encapsulates your intentions and aspirations for the year ahead, offering a more meaningful and adaptable approach to personal development.

It acts as a beacon for your goals, similar to the way a lighthouse guides a ship.To quote Kenichi Ohmae, "rowing harder doesn't help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction."

As a Habit & Behavior Transformation Specialist, I've seen firsthand the profound impact a single, carefully chosen word can have. In a world that often feels complex and overwhelming, it's about finding simplicity and clarity.

I’m not just talking about theory here either. I’ve used this principle to lose 80lbs, earn over 10 certifications in the fields of health and behavior change, and launch a successful coaching business and podcast.

Word of the Year vs. New Year's Resolutions

A Word of the Year differs from a New Year's resolution in its flexibility and adaptability. It's not about rigid goals or specific outcomes, but about a guiding principle that can apply to various aspects of life. For instance, 'Resilience' could guide personal growth, career challenges, and relationship dynamics. This broad focus allows for a more holistic approach to your goals and aspirations.

Overcoming Past Challenges with a Word of the Year

If you've chosen a word in the past but didn't feel its impact, consider revisiting your approach. Maybe the word was too vague, not aligned with your true aspirations, or you lost sight of it as the year progressed. This year, we’ll help you select a word that deeply resonates with your current life situation and aspirations, and make a conscious effort to keep it integrated in your daily life.

How to Choose Your Word of the Year for 2024

Choosing a word of the year can be pretty simple and straightforward, but if you want to choose a word that will stick with you throughout the entire year, I suggest the following 5-step process.

Step 1: Reflect on the Past Year

Before deciding on where you want to go, it’s important that we take an inventory of where you are and how you got here. Start by reflecting on the past year. What worked well? What didn't? What lessons did you learn? Consider these reflections as a foundation for selecting your word.

Step 2: Assess Your Current Life

Take a moment to assess your current life situation and aspirations. What do you need more of, or less of, in your life? This introspection will help you choose a word for 2024 that accurately reflects your current state and future ambitions.

Step 3: Get Clear on Your Values and Beliefs

Your Word of the Year for 2024 should deeply resonate with your personal values and beliefs. This connection, known as Cognitive Resonance, ensures that your word is not just a superficial choice but a meaningful part of your daily life and decisions. 

Step 4: Create a Vision For Your Future Self

Imagine expecting your GPS to guide you without telling it where you want to go. That’s the purpose of a vision.

A word of caution: people often focus on outcomes such as “make a million dollars.” While there is nothing wrong with that type of goal, you’ll find much more success by focusing on the daily behaviors and mindset that it takes to earn that kind of money.

Step 5: Implement Your Word of the Year for 2024 into Your Daily Life

If you remember GI Joe, then you know that knowing is only half the battle. I’m a big believer that the other half is taking action.

And the best way to take action on your word is to integrate it into your daily habits to keep it active and relevant.

For example, I had a client who chose the word “engaged” as a reminder to be intentional about being ‘in the moment.’

Every night, he’d sit down and journal every time he was intentional about being in the moment that day.

He’d shared with me that this became so impactful that he lost weight that he’d never been able to lose, without even focusing on weight loss specifically.

When I asked why he thought that happened, he said because he was less stressed at work, which had a positive impact on his marriage and relationship with his kids. In turn, he wasn’t stress eating or depending on caffeine and high calorie, sugary treats to get through the day anymore.

That’s a lot of impact from a single word, but it wouldn’t have been possible with intentional daily action.

How to Set Yourself Up For Success with Your 2024 Word of the Year

It’s common to face challenges when embracing a new practice like a word of the year. The word you choose today may not truly resonate, or you may forget about your word as the year progresses.

The main reason this usually happens is that we choose a word based on the expectations that other people have for us instead of what we want. To help you choose the right word, we created this free e-book with 17 thought-provoking questions.

Consider setting monthly reminders on your phone or calendar to reflect on how your word is shaping your experiences and decision.

Use tools like accountability groups, habit-tracking apps, or mentorship to support your journey with your word of the year.' These resources can provide the motivation and guidance to stay on track.

You may also want to check out our podcast episodes "You're Not Too Busy! Crush Your Health Goals With These 3-Steps," and "Overcoming Setbacks: 5 Simple Strategies For Getting Back On Your Routine."

What’s Next?

I would love to hear your chosen word for 2024 and the story behind it. Share your 'Word of the Year' in the comments below or on any of these social media posts: Instagram, Facebook, X, Linkedin

By sharing, you not only commit to your word but also inspire others in our community to embark on their own journey of personal growth. Let's support and motivate each other throughout this year! 

For deeper insights and strategies, Download our comprehensive e-book, with thought-provoking questions that blend my professional and personal experiences. These questions specifically help you discover a word that resonates deeply with you and shapes your actions and decisions in every aspect - be it your career, personal health, relationships, or mindset.

I'm here to support you through this process and I can't wait to see the positive changes that your chosen word will bring. Here's to a year of meaningful growth and transformation.

Picture of The Power of One Word Ebook for choosing your word of the year displayed on a tablet

Free Guide: 17 Thought-Provoking questions to help you choose your word of the year

Stephen Box

Stephen Box, the driving force behind Unshakable Habits and its podcast, is a renowned habit and behavior transformation specialist. Inspired by his own 80lb weight loss journey, Stephen, a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, is dedicated to guiding his clients in reshaping their lives. He focuses on sustainable habits that improve health, enhance sleep and stress management, boost productivity, and positively impact relationships and mindset.

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