Your 'word of the year' could be the key to an amazing 2020

Christie Griffin, CNN Underscored
Thu January 9, 2020

Need some extra motivation to stick to your New Year's resolutions this year? Whether you're trying to exercise more, eat healthier, or just spend more time chilling out, there's a new trend that might help you get there.

The trend, currently on view in your Instagram feed (hashtag #wordoftheyear), involves choosing a single word that defines your goals for the year — such as "fearless" or "dream." The idea is that your word will help you stay focused on what's most important to you in the year ahead.

To learn more, we talked to five Instagram influencers about their "word of the year" and what's helping them to live by their words in 2020.

Shelley Jansen @letsliveandlearn

2020 word of the year: Simplify

What it means for her: "I want to simplify the routines, rhythms, and possessions in my home to create less on my to-do list — and more time for what matters most. I don't want to be a constantly-stressed-out mom or an always-frazzled wife. My goals for 2020 mostly revolved around decluttering, simplifying routines, and making more time for the people and activities that I love. The word 'simplify' really encompassed those goals for me."

How she's living it: "I've created a list of all the actionable ways that I could create more simplicity in my life. Each week, I am going to focus on completing one of these tasks. By working my way through this list, I will ensure that I did indeed simplify things in 2020."

What's helping: "I've been using a bullet journal for years, so that will be my main tool to help me manifest simplicity throughout the year. For example, I hand lettered the first page of my bullet journal with my word as a constant reminder of my yearly focus."

Bullet Grid Journal - Teal by Artfan ($9.29; amazon.com)

Reviewers love that this high-quality notebook can lie flat, has index pockets, and stays together with reliable stitching.

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More ways to stay focused:

Personalized Parker Jotter Gel Pen ($24.99; amazon.com)

You'll need something to write with while journaling your goals, right? Consider a subtle engraving of your word of the year on a special, refillable pen like this one.

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Pebble Grain Journals ($0.99-$40; thingsremembered.com)

This lined, pebble-grained journal is simple but comes in a variety of sizes and colors and allows you to engrave your word on the modest front plate.

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Amy Tangerine @amytangerine

Artist, author of "Craft a Life You Love" and workshop leader in Los Angeles

2020 word of the year: Bright

What it means for her: "I want to intentionally make 2020 my brightest year yet. I no longer want to carry heaviness into the new decade. I understand that there will be inevitable dark times, but looking on the bright side of life is a choice that you will not regret."

How she's living it: "I recommend making it visible — and having fun with your word! You can seek out ways to add it to your life for the better."

What's helping: "In the past, I've worn a Giving Keys necklace with my word stamped on it. And having the word visible on paper, on a journal, or in a notebook that I use regularly is also effective for me. This year I am using my planner collaboration with Archer and Olive, and the last line on the cover says, 'Shine bright.'"

Classic Ball Chain Key Necklace ($36; thegivingkeys.com)

The keys aren't just cute — this social impact company has employed more than 100 people transitioning out of homelessness. Now that's a good intention.

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Another way to stay focused:

Make It Yours Monthly Planner ($8.99, originally $14.99; shutterfly.com)

You can add up to three photos when you customize this basic, 5-by-8-inch ringed planner.

Erin Clarke @wellplated

Food blogger and cookbook author in Milwaukee

2020 word of the year: Breathe

What it means for her: "I'm a planner by nature, so I'm often wrapped up in thoughts about the future. But I have one of the most exciting years ahead of me, and I want to truly soak in the joys that this year holds. I visualized how happy and whole I would feel if I were able to live more in the present moment, be less hard on myself, and worry less often. 'Breathe' encapsulates that sentiment for me."

How she's living it: "For me, envisioning the way I most wanted to grow by the end of the year was key to choosing my word of the year. As for following through, I believe accountability is so important. In addition to sharing my word publicly, I discussed it with a close friend. She and I plan to check in with each other about it periodically, and I asked her to remind me about my word if she catches me drifting from it."

What's helping: "By sharing my word with the world on Instagram, I'm holding myself accountable and giving my followers the permission to hold me accountable, too."

Ways to stay focused:

Tiana Frame ($16.50, originally $22; anthropologie.com)

Frame your word and place it in an easy-to-see spot in your home. Bonus: You can start a tradition by updating the word inside in the years ahead.

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Family Established Personalized Puzzle Piece Cutting Board ($29.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)

If you're in the kitchen a lot, like Erin, consider giving your word of the year a prominent position there — like on this personalized 10-by-14 cutting board.

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Custom Tote Bag ($10.19, originally $16.99; shutterfly.com)

Design your own tote with photos and your 2020 word — or choose a design that embodies the spirit of your intention.

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Ann Shoket @annshoket

Next generation expert, speaker, and author of "The Big Life" in New York

2020 word of the year: Squad

What it means for her: "No one gets anywhere alone. When I think about my squad, I think about how crucial they've been to unlocking opportunities, offering support during tough times, and helping me celebrate wins ... and I show up for them in all ways, too. And when you look to the next generation, you see them leading a new power dynamic that is collaborative and diverse. Instead of cutthroat competition or a win-at-all-costs mentality, they are bonded together in warm groups."

How she's living it: "For me, the word of the year isn't my goal — it's the thing I need to remember to achieve my goals. Choose the feeling you want to create for yourself this year and make that your mantra to keep you on track. Some words I love: Impact, worthy, possibility, strength, and bliss."

What's helping: "I wear a bracelet with my word of the year to keep me focused — and this year I'm gifting 'Squad' bracelets to my inner circle!"

Ways to stay focused:

Engraved Silver CZ Circle Open Cuff Bangle ($32; ThingsRemembered.com)

You can actually fit up to three lines of eight characters each — just in case you have more than one word or want to help celebrate your squad's words, too!

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Personalized Family Love Ring ($70; uncommongoods.com)

Instead of a name or nickname, customize your word (up to 10 characters) on a sterling silver ring accented with a cute brass heart.

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Mantraband Believe Bracelet ($58; thepaperstore.com)

Mantraband is another popular brand for wearing your intentions. To skip the wait time for a custom order, you can shop premade items like this pretty cuff.

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Dominee Calderon @blessingmanifesting

Self-care blogger and mental health advocate in Norman, Oklahoma

2020 word of the year: Sacred

What it means for her: "The older I get, the more I realize how precious our energy is. 'Sacred' means not only recognizing my time and energy as important, but also making sure that I'm spending that time and energy on things that are equally important to me."

How she's living it: "My advice for choosing a word of the year is to examine your goals for the year and the traits you want to encourage within yourself. See if they have a common theme that can be summed up in one word. To follow through, check in with yourself each month and write down three ways you can honor your word — and your goals — for the month."

What's helping: "I manifest my word by doing monthly check-ins when I'm writing in my journal. I also do something a little odd: I have a few houseplants in my living room and I like to write my word of the year on one of the containers. Not only is it a visual reminder, but each time I provide the plant with water, sun, or plant food, it's a reminder to nourish that word in myself as well."

Oval Washtub Planter ($22.50; amazon.com)

This well-reviewed, vintage-inspired tub is waterproof and won't rust — and is perfect for mentally nourishing your own word of the year, too.

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More ways to stay focused:

Simple Modern Personalized Custom Wave Water Bottle ($25.99; amazon.com)

Keep the spirit of Dominee's nourishing reminder front and center with a water bottle personalized with your word. This option has more than 6,000 reviews averaging 5 stars, and comes in a range of colors and sizes.

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Foliage Mason Jar ($9.99, was $19.98; shutterfly.com)

Etch your intention into this dishwasher-safe, 16-ounce mason jar that can be used for smoothies or as a vase.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.