2024 Career Tip: Pick a Word of the Year Instead of a New Year’s Resolution 

2024 Career Tip: Pick a Word of the Year Instead of a New Year's Resolution 

Setting New Year’s resolutions is a common yearly activity for many people as the calendar rolls over. Whether it’s vowing to practice mindfulness regularly, learning a new skill, or striving for that elusive work-life balance, resolutions tend to fizzle out as the year progresses. According to a survey by Sundried, 43 percent of individuals expect to give up on their New Year resolutions after one month due to a lack of motivation, resources, or the overwhelming feeling of setting high expectations.¹ 

So, instead of making New Year’s resolutions that are hard to keep, you can pick just one word that represents the primary goal or feeling you want to focus on. Let’s dive further to find out what choosing a Word of the Year means. 

The Power of a Single Word 

Choosing a Word of the Year is like picking a theme or central idea you want to focus on for the whole year. It’s a simple way to remind yourself of what’s important and what you want to achieve or change in your life—like having a personal motto or slogan. This one word can inspire you, help you make decisions, and keep you on track with what you want out of the year. It’s a simple, flexible way to bring focus and direction to your life. 

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has also mentioned that she chooses a word each year to guide her actions and thoughts instead of making New Year’s resolutions. In 2018, “grace” was her chosen word.² This word helped her navigate tough conversations, long workdays, and personal challenges. It encouraged empathy, especially in her work against poverty and inequality. 

Related article: The Path of Self-Awareness in the Workplace: Embracing Your Authentic Self 

Why Choose a Word for the Year? 

Selecting a word for the year offers many benefits that can positively impact your life. 

1. Cultivate Intentionality 

Choosing a personal word for the year encourages you to step back and reflect on the overarching theme or essence you want to infuse into your life. This leads to a more purposeful and mindful existence as you align your actions and decisions with the meaning represented by your chosen word. 

2. Provide Guidance 

Having a personal word provides clarity and direction when facing difficult challenges or decisions, constantly reminding you of the qualities you want to embody and your chosen path.

3. Encourage Personal Growth 

A Word of the Year can help motivate and propel you forward. It’s a commitment to your evolution and a reminder that growth is an ongoing, intentional process. 

4. Reduce Complications 

Having a personal word simplifies the approach to personal development. It fosters focus, making channeling your energy and efforts toward meaningful pursuits easier. 

5. Promote Consistency 

Unlike traditional resolutions that may be abandoned or forgotten by February, a singular guiding word serves as a constant companion. It remains relevant in different contexts and promotes a sense of continuity in self-improvement. 

6. Navigate Change 

A personal word is a practical guide, offering adaptability to changing circumstances. Whether facing opportunities or challenges, it gives a versatile perspective to navigate an ever-evolving landscape with skill and resilience. 

Related reading: Beyond Rewards and Perks: Igniting the Power of Intrinsic Motivation 

How to Choose a Word of the Year 

Selecting a meaningful Word of the Year requires thoughtful reflection and introspection. Consider the following steps to help guide you in choosing a word that resonates with your aspirations for the coming year: 

1. Reflect on Your Priorities 

What matters most to you? What areas of your life do you want to focus on in the coming year? By aligning your word with your core values, you ensure it becomes a genuine and motivating force in your life. 

2. Define Your Intentions 

What kind of energy do you want to bring into your life? Are you seeking balance, growth, joy, or resilience? Your guiding word should encapsulate these intentions and serve as a source of inspiration and motivation as you navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. 

3. Consider Your Goals 

What do you aspire for in your life—in your career, relationships, personal development, and health? While a guiding word is not about setting specific goals, it can complement and enhance your aspirations, providing a unifying theme that ties them together. 

4. Brainstorm Words 

List down words that resonate with you. These can be abstract concepts, emotions, or qualities you want to embody. Write down anything that comes to mind and allow your intuition to guide you. 

5. Keep It Simple 

Avoid selecting complex or ambiguous words. Opt for words you can use daily, making it easy to recall and apply in various situations. 

6. Expand Options 

If you run out of words, explore synonyms and related words of what you listed. For example, if “resilience” is on your list, you will discover associated words like “strength,” “perseverance,” or “fortitude.” 

7. Narrow Down Your List 

Review and reflect on each word and consider its nuances. Do they align with your values, intentions, and goals? Select a few words that resonate the most. 

8. Trust Your Instincts 

As you refine your list, consider your emotional response to each word. Your guiding word should align with yourself. Choose a word that feels right on a deep, intuitive level. 

Motivational Word Choices for 2024 

To help you get started in choosing your Word of the Year, here are words that convey different themes, each carrying its own set of connotations and inspirations: 

1. Growth: This inspires a commitment to continuous learning, adaptability, and embracing new challenges and is ideal for those seeking personal or professional development. 

2. Joy: Perfect for anyone wanting to focus on happiness, positivity, and finding pleasure in the small things. It cultivates a mindset that values and seeks out joyful moments, fostering a more fulfilling and contented life. 

3. Balance: Whether it’s maintaining work-life balance, emotional stability, or harmonizing relationships and personal needs, this word emphasizes a more centered and well-rounded existence. This is great for those striving for equilibrium in their lives. 

4. Courage: This word instills the willingness to confront fears and face significant changes or challenges with bravery and provides the strength to step out of comfort zones, fostering personal growth and resilience. 

5. Mindfulness: This word promotes a sense of calm and focused attention, offering the benefits of improved mental well-being and a more intentional, purposeful life. It emphasizes the importance of being present, aware, and conscious of one’s actions and thoughts.  

6. Resilience: This embodies the ability to recover from difficulties and bounce back stronger. This word is a valuable companion during tough times, providing the mental fortitude needed to overcome challenges and emerge more resilient. 

7. Empathy: This word enriches your relationships and encourages a more compassionate approach to life and work, ultimately contributing to a more connected and empathetic community.  

8. Innovation: Ideal for those in creative or changing industries, this word inspires new ideas, creative thinking, and the courage to try new approaches. 

9. Serenity: This directs focus towards inner peace, calmness, and a tranquil state of mind. Especially useful in high-stress environments or during times of change, this word promotes mental well-being and emotional balance. 

10. Adventure: Perfect for those seeking new experiences, personal growth through exploration, and the courage to step into the unknown. It fosters a spirit of curiosity and discovery. 

11. Discipline: Ideal for those looking to build new habits or achieve demanding objectives. It promotes consistency, dedication, and self-control in pursuing goals.  

12. Optimism: Fosters a positive outlook on life, encouraging hopefulness and confidence about the future, especially in the face of adversity.  This word is a beacon of positivity, providing resilience to navigate challenges with a constructive mindset. 

13. Harmony: Focuses on creating a sense of balance and congruence in life, relationships, and within oneself, promoting peace and understanding. This provides guidance toward a more harmonious and fulfilling existence. 

14. Integrity: Encourages living in alignment with one’s values and beliefs, promoting honesty, ethics, and authenticity in all aspects of life. 

15. Gratitude: Choosing “gratitude” encourages a mindset of thankfulness. It prompts you to regularly reflect on and appreciate the blessings in your life, fostering a positive outlook and resilience in the face of challenges.  


At GALT FOUNDATION, we understand that everyone has unique strengths and capabilities, and we are committed to helping you find a career path that aligns with your personal and professional goals. Let this year be about discovering new opportunities and achieving success in a role that values and embraces your abilities. 

Our dedicated team is here to support you in finding the perfect job match that meets your needs and helps you thrive. Reach out to us today, and let’s work together to make this year a milestone in your career! 


1 Sundried.” Research Shows 43% Of People Expect To Give Up Their New Year’s Resolutions By February.” Sundried, Accessed 30 Nov 2023, www.sundried.com/blogs/training/research-shows-43-of-people-expect-to-give-up-their-new-year-s-resolutions-by-february

2 Newburger, Emma. “Melinda Gates Doesn’t Make New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s What She Does Instead.” CNBC, 2 Jan. 2019, www.cnbc.com/2019/01/02/melinda-gates-doesnt-make-new-years-resolutions-heres-what-she-does-instead.html

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Let’s start a conversation! Are you a person with disabilities searching for a job or an organization with temporary or long-term employment needs? We look forward to helping you realize your potential.