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How to Choose Your Word of the Year

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Written by Daz Burns

What is your driver for the year? Daz talks us through her steps for picking a word for the year to help drive you through this year!


My Words

2019 = Connect

2020 = Hustle

2021 = Brave


If we looked at the last two years from a global perspective – it has felt like a drawn out punch in the face… 

For me, I have done a lot of work to not look at a day as good or bad. 

I have also tried to do the same from a wider lens of a year… because if we wrote 2020 and 2021 off as an absolute shit show, we have wasted 730 days of our lives – and none of us can afford that.

James Clear talks about this when he discusses goal setting and how we often delay our happiness ‘until’ we reach our goal – instead of enjoying the process of trying to get there.

So in my hikoi through the minefield of the last two years, I have actively looked for the good moments and also paid incredibly close attention to momentum shifts. 

And I make sure those moments shine in my mind.



So, 2022, regardless of what you decide to deliver. 

I have rigorously worked through my process and landed on a word that I stumbled on when watching “The Holiday” back in 2006 with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz (not to mention Jude Law😍). Arthur (Eli Wallach) tells Iris (Kate Winslet) to watch some movies with leading ladies who have ‘GUMPTION’


Turns out gumption is:

  • Enterprising
  • Spunk
  • Resourcefulness
  • Spirited 
  • Drives initiative
  • Courageous
  • Steady; and
  • Powerful   


Gumption is everything I need to bring to my 2022. 

It sets the tone. 

It sets the standard. 

It sets trajectory.


Now, Your Turn

So, now it’s your turn to choose your word of the year. 

It needs to align with who you are, where you are, who you want to be and how you are going to get there. 


Here are eight easy steps to follow:

  1. Reflect – This is about your 2021, what went well, what didn’t go so well, what did you learn?
  2. Look forward to your 2022 – What possibilities and opportunities are out there? Who do you want to be? Feel and visualise what these will be like.
  3. Brainstorm a list of words – Brené has a great list of values to get you started, but look widely, have conversations, investigate. Look for patterns and themes in the words you are choosing – what are you noticing?
  4. Look at their definitions and synonyms – some words you think you understand but the definition can sink it quickly if it doesn’t align! 
  5. Review and refine to 3 words – Get your list to three and then test them out, say them out loud, share them with your whānau, how do they feel to say, do your actions back it up? Does it feel natural and comfortable to say?
  6. Pick your word – For my fence sitters out there, only one word (not two, or three or four!). When you land on the right one, you’ll know. It will fit with you, with what you want to do, with how you want to feel and it will stir something inside of you. Most importantly, it will align with you. Look for quotes that include your word, if you like them, write them down to refer to. 
  7. Commit – You need to be 100% committed to your word – share it, say it, print it, keep it front of mind so that it can help you make decisions and drive your behaviour towards who you want to be. 
  8. Review – Make a plan to check in with how you are going. Your word’s purpose is to be constant throughout the year, to keep you on track and be a quick reminder of where you are trying to go! 


Please Share

If you don’t know us well enough by now, trust that we care about you thriving and succeeding, so please, take the time to pick your word of the year and please, share it with us, let us know how you are going and if we can help. 🙂


As an added bonus, here are some quotes on gumption:

“A person filled with gumption doesn’t sit around dissipating and stewing about things. He’s at the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what’s up the track and meeting it when it comes. That’s gumption.” – Robert Pirsig

“Maybe making something of yourself is as simple as having the gumption to do something bigger than you could have ever imagined.”

― Tanya Lee Stone, The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War

Our souls may all be equal in the sight of the Lord, but our gumption and ingenuity ain’t. So the results of man’s labor will never be equal. – Author: Bess Streeter Aldrich

They’re threatened by you,’ she said. ‘You chose to do something they’d never have the gumption to choose for themselves. Being their own person. – Author: Diane Chamberlain

A life without challenge, a life without hardship, a life without purpose, seems pale and pointless. With challenge comes perseverance and gumption. With hardship comes resilience and resolve. With purpose comes strength and understanding. – Author: Terry Fallis


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