What Is A Word Of The Year?

For the last several years (4, I believe) I have chosen a word of the year. I can’t remember where this idea first came from, but I’m positive that I didn’t make it up. However, I loved it so much I ran with it making it my own. If the concept rings true to you I hope you do the same.

So, what is a Word Of The Year?

I use the Word Of The Year to set my intention for the year. I use it instead of goals or in combination with my goals. I find it helpful to have a solid intention behind my goals so that I know why I am doing them and to reevaluate my goals or create new ones throughout the year. My Word Of The Year helps me make sure that my goals will actually make me happy rather than simply reflect what society wants me to achieve. Often times when my goals have been accomplished or forgotten the Word Of The Year sticks with me to guide me to the year’s end.

Reflecting On 2017’s Word Of The Year

At the end of the year, I like to reflect on how the previous year’s word served me in order to help me choose a new Word Of The Year. After a chaotic couple of years, I chose structure as the Word Of The Year for 2017. For me, the concept of structure encompassed many words including routine, foundation, and growth. I would say that looking back the word foundation really stuck out for me as I struggled to keep a routine, but truly feel that I created a solid foundation in my home and business that will allow me to grow in 2018.

My word in 2017 permeated all areas of my life. It affected my relationship with my husband by forcing me to go back to the foundations of our relationship, focusing on just the two of us, on communication, and on supporting each other. Structure showed up in my home in the feeling that we have something semi-permanent after years of moving. Even though we have been living here for two years, it only started feeling permanent about 6 months ago. I think this is due to the influence my word had on how I treated my home. Having the word structure guide me through the year helped me to realize that in some ways my life had more structure than I thought and one of those areas was in my home. It only still felt chaotic because I hadn’t let go of my feelings (and fear) from the unstable moments in my life.

My Word Of The Year was harder to find in my work and self-care routines. In work I changed jobs… twice. The first time to find more structure, the second because I realized that I could create a better foundation following my vision on my own. I am now back at a small Pilates studio as an independent contractor. This makes me happy and at ease and also excited and nervous, which means I must be doing something right 🙂

My self-care routine was anything but, structured this past year as I struggled to find my personal routine in the chaos of my work. After filming videos, teaching IRL, and trying to stay on top of the hardcore workouts at my old job (a classic training center), I didn’t have time for my favorite forms of laid back, restorative self-care and movement.

My Word Of The Year For 2018

After reflecting on the positives and the negatives, as well as how my word changed over the year I came up with my Word Of The Year for 2018. This year my word is more about how I want to feel then what I want to accomplish. It is also directly related to the stress and anxiety I am feeling from current events. My Word Of The Year for 2018 is PEACE.

I chose the word “peace” because I want more peace in the world, more peace of mind, more peace in my marriage, and more peace with what I accomplish and what I don’t. I want to follow my peace this year. Peace comes with several support words including, vulnerability, self-love, understanding, calm, and acceptance.

I am not making any specific goals this year, but I did spend some time brainstorming and visualizing how peace can show up in my life this year (mostly in the shower, if I am being honest).

I will allow peace to show up in my relationships, including my marriage. I feel that last year I let many of my relationships fall to the wayside in order to find structure and financial success. This has been nagging at me. This year I am going to find peace in my relationships by showing up for them from my heart, not a place of obligation. In my marriage, I will strive to keep peace through communication, understanding, and the art of compromise.

I will allow peace to show up in my work by following my heart and my vision, by accepting (and preparing for) the ebb and flow that is my work, and by keeping my eye on my own mat… er biz. I will work on being more vulnerable on social media, showing more of my true, raw, self.

I will allow peace into my heart through gentle self-care, self-love, and by turning off the negative voice in my head. I will not stress over my intentions but, use them as a tool for peace. In 2018 I intend to add more journaling, more reading, more spirituality, and more creativity into my self-care… and Pilates, of course.

I will bring peace into the world by taking action for what I believe in by volunteering, donating, and speaking up. I will strive to share love through open communication and understanding.

I will allow peace into my life by not overwhelming myself and remembering to ask myself, “will this bring me and/or others peace?”

How To Choose A Word Of The Year

I don’t have a specific set of steps for finding your Word Of The Year as I feel that the process is a little different for everyone. Honestly my word just kinda comes to me after some reflection on the past year and some time spent thinking about how I want to feel or accomplish in the year to come. This being said here are some journaling questions that you might be able to use to guide you. Don’t rush through these questions. It won’t help. I recommend reading through them once and ruminating on them for at least few hours (maybe during your shower 🙂 and then actually taking pen to paper to write down your thoughts. I’ve included these questions in a downloadable worksheet to make it easy for you to print and partake.


What were the highlights of the past year?

How did you Word Of The Year show up for you last year?

What was the vibe of 2017?

Was there anything that you would have changed about 2017?

What do you want to take with you from 2018?


What do you want the vibe of 2018 to be?

What do you want to accomplish?

How do you want to feel?

What was missing from your life in 2017? What would you like more of in 2018?

How will your word show up in different areas of your life (home, work, relationships, etc)?

It’s a long year, write your word somewhere where it will inspire you daily.

Also don’t be afraid to change your word if it doesn’t serve you. Some change quarterly some at the 6-month mark. The only constant is change, don’t fight it.

I hope that this new year welcomes you with open arms and that your Word Of The Year guides you like a shining light.

Peace and Pilates,

Sarah Clark