Season 2 of the Creative Productive Podcast out now!

Hi! I’m Sarah aka Stationery Magpie.

I’m a creativity and productivity mentor who is passionate about helping you gain control over your life through effective realistic productivity methods so that you have the time energy and space to explore the things you love that light you up and make life worth living!


2020 is drawing to a close and I know a lot of us are READY for the new year and that fresh start feeling that comes with it. It’s been a strange year for a lot of us and I know that a lot of our goals might have had to be pushed to the wayside. Of course one way to turn it around for 2021 is to set yourself goals but an even easier and more natural way to get to where you want to be and set your focus for the year is by choosing a word of the year. In this blog post I’m sharing my own previous words of the year and some tips for you to help you choose your own for 2021.

What is a ‘Word of the Year’?

A word of the year or a focus word is essentially just something to describe the direction you want to take in the year to come. It’s something that holds some meaning for you and will steer you towards the life that you want to be living. It can seem quite vague to others and each word you choose will have special significance to you and something particular that’s happening in your life that you want to work on.

My Previous Words of the Year and Why I Chose Them

2018 ‘Confidence’

The first time I used a word of the year was back in 2018 at a time when I had actually lost quite a lot of confidence in my appearance and generally in myself. I’d put on a bit of weight, wasn’t really doing a lot of things to push me out of my comfort zone and I was generally just feeling like I needed to get it back.

So I set confidence as my word of the year. There were no real hard and fast goals to ‘lose weight’ or get started with any particular exercise routine or give myself a makeover but there was a general idea behind me that I needed to do things that would give me a confidence boost both in my appearance and in my abilities. It allowed for more flexibility to pursue that overall goal of becoming more confident without restrictions of something too specific.

I don’t really remember too many specific things that I did to boost my confidence but it was probably a lot of little things like getting out and doing things and making healthier choices. Although I did end up moving to Mexico towards the end of the year… which is no small feat!

2019 ‘Growth’

2019 was a new year when I was still newly single after quite a big intense break up. I was also still in Mexico and I’d started to try and rebuild my identity as a single person. I’d taken up yoga and was eating healthy, learning a new language and exploring a new city and culture. I wanted to make sure that I carried on pursuing that personal growth.

Another thing I really wanted to grow in 2019 was Stationery Magpie! I was starting to tire of doing the same thing over and over so this growth mindset led me to investing in a coach – Jen Carrington – in order to help me figure out what I wanted from my business and to help me grow it into something that would also help me grow into the person I wanted to be!

2020 ‘Independence’

It seems strange not that in a year when we have relied on each other so much my word of the year was independence! But there we go, gotta love a bit of irony. I chose independence at the beginning of the year after a wonderful (pre covid) trip to New Zealand with my family. We had the best time and I loved spending the time with them but it also made me crave a bit of my independence back after moving home from Mexico. The plan for the year was to become financially independent and move out of my mum’s house… but then Covid happened.

So of course I had to spend a good few months sitting tight and just waiting out the worst of the pandemic but in Summer a friend asked me if I wanted to move in with her and even though it wasn’t the original plan of moving out to a big city it felt like the right thing to do and I’m actually so happy I stayed around here. I got a part time job which I love and my business is starting to make enough to actually pay me so I can be financially independent!

independence word of the year

How to choose your own word of the year

Choosing your own word of the year can be a bit of a process and it isn’t always clear what exactly you want to focus on until you sit down and have a think about it.

I always recommend just choosing one word. If you spread your focus too thin then you’re not focussing as much on one thing. I definitely feel that focussing on one thing will allow you to put more energy and effort into it. There’s nothing stopping you from having a whole list of goals but the word of the year will underpin a lot of your actions.

There are a few ways you can find your own word of the year but for me the right one to choose is the one that ‘feels’ right and it might take some experimentation and looking at other people’s choices to give you an idea that fits. Another way is to write down a list of your goals for the year and see if there’s one word that can encompass what kind of progress you want to make.

3 Ways to find your Word of 2021:

  1. Visualise where you want to be at the end of 2021. Is there something specific you want to achieve that can translate into just one word? e.g. independence, joy, security
  2. Get inspiration from other people – sometimes it’s hard to describe what you want until you see it and it feels right. So get inspiration, search Pinterest, do some google searches and then write down your favourites. Choose the one that resonates.
  3. Look at your goals for the next year – is there a common thread you can pick out? E.g. are your goals career driven, health driven, spiritual etc.

Have you already chosen your Word of 2021? Share it in the comments!