39 Intentional Words To Make This Year Your BEST YET!

I’m rubbish at New Years resolutions! I’m rubbish at making them, and I’m rubbish at keeping them. But a few years ago, I came across the idea of one-word goals – Intentional Words.

The idea is to inspire or challenge yourself with one word.

York Minster Large Stained Glass Windows Intentional Words

Positive words

This blog focusses a lot on building children up and speaking kindly to them. And so I wanted to use intentional words to encourage myself too.

As a gentle parenting mama, I speak a lot about treating my children with respect, but I don’t always treat myself respectfully. I think using positive intentional words is a great way to get better at this.

I might be rubbish at sticking to New Years resolutions, but perhaps if I had 1 single word, a positive mantra, to live by, I could start to make some small changes.

And if I mess up a bit, it doesn’t matter because a single word goal doesn’t have set rules. It’s not like saying “This year I will go to the gym every week” where there is a clear pass or fail. Intentional words are more about attitude and long term change.

Siblings sisters holding hands Intentional Words

The Intentional Words Challenge

I first came across Intentional Words when Stephanie, from Life At 139, posted a New Years Resolution post on her blog. Her word of intention was:


It’s not overly specific so it can be applied to lots of different scenarios. And yet it is still inspirational and something to work towards. Her word implies that she’s happy with the way things are going and that she wants to develop even further. There is the idea of growth and health and improvement and happiness.

Anyway, this got me thinking – what do I want to be intentional about? How do I want to develop? What do I need to work on? What intentional words should I gift myself? What could I empower myself with?

Sensitive heart rock on a wooden circle Intentional Words

My intentional words

As I said, New Years Resolutions, are not really my thing. Last year, after an epic fail at the church carol service, I decided I was going to practise my flute for 10 minutes everyday and get back the dexterity and stamina I had as a music student.

… Well, erm… this year’s carol service is just 3 days away and my flute has come out of its box ONCE all year! Hahaha.

But a single word is more manageable. It seems within my grasp; a quick encouragement that I can whisper under my breath when I’m floundering.

So I’ve had a think and the word I have chosen is:


As a perfectionist, I heap a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself. I am very driven and always have a long list of things to work on. This can be a good thing, but it can also make me feel permanently inadequate.

“Be” is a call to live in the moment. I need to learn to be content and stop worrying. It tells me to deal with what is happening now rather than angsting about the future.

North Wales Conwy Harbour Intentional Words


Over to you

So that’s where I’m at.

And I’d love you to join me in choosing a one word goal for this year. I’ve made a list of intentional words that you could maybe choose. What jumps out at you?

  • Give
  • Engage
  • Live
  • Laugh
  • Relish
  • Listen
  • Brandish
  • Flourish
  • Conquer
  • Strive
  • Nourish
  • Search
  • Astonish
  • Push
  • Think
  • Replenish
  • Believe
  • Dream
  • Cherish
  • Pursue
  • Embrace
  • Learn
  • Enjoy
  • Explore
  • Celebrate
  • Finish
  • Rest
  • Appreciate
  • Be
  • Delve
  • Polish
  • Relax
  • Vanquish
  • Imagine
  • Relaunch
  • Revive
  • Remember
  • Resolve
  • Accomplish

What do you think of my intentional words idea? Is there a word on the list that you could work with this year? Are you the sort of person to make New Years Resolutions or do you think they’re a waste of time? Please let me know in the comments section below.

39 Intentional Words To Inspire & Live By


Add yours
  1. 2
    Noleen Miller

    I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions but if I can take a word or even two as it is more or less the same it would be “rest” and “relax”. I think I need to do more of that in 2018. For my own goodwill. I think sometimes we are in such a rush and goal driven that we forget to just switch off and recharge again. It is difficult as there is simply just not enough time to do that. So for 2018 I hope that I can make time to “rest” or “relax” even if it just 1 day on a weekend.#Blogcrush

  2. 4
    Enda Sheppard

    If I can take one thing from this lovely post, it is to endeavour to be kinder to my young teenage daughter. She is moody, rude and all that, but she is also a good kid, and i have to try harder to get past the moods and encourage her. I must ENCOURAGE. Thanks for sharing

  3. 5
    Liberty Henwick

    There are so many lovely words there but the one that jumps at me is ‘Replenish’. I like how it is giving as well as receiving in its meaning. Good luck with the flute playing at your carol service!! Fortunately I don’t have to do anything at ours this year apart from bring in a plate of eats so I hope I don’t fail with that one! #BlogCrush

  4. 8

    You have chosen a very powerful and positive word. I too have suffered with perfectionism and negative self-talk all my life. I even say when people say I have an impressive CV, “Oh but that’s not me” when it clearly is and there are no lies on it. In the last year, I have made major changes and live in the moment more and more and I can highly recommend it. You will inspire so many people with this post too so all good and here’s to empowering girls and women #BlogCrushLinky

  5. 9
    Sara @ Magical Mama Blog

    Cherish is jumping out at me because my little girl just turned one and I’m trying to cherish every moment with her being snuggly before she starts running away from me to play and growing up before my eyes. This is a brilliant post! #BlogCrush

  6. 12
    Hayley@ Mission: Mindfulness

    OOOOOh I LOVE this post for so many reasons but especially for the fact that mindfulness is central to it with your choice of word :-). I will have to think about my choice – your list is brilliant and very helpful – celebrate is jumping out at me at the moment but I will reflect a little longer. Thanks for passing on this excellent idea. xx #blogcrush xx

  7. 13

    BE is a perfect word … I’m trying to pick one to add… my mantra is Live, Love, Laugh, I had planned to have it tattooed for my 50th but haven’t got round to it yet. I think i might add “Relax”. Merry Christmas blogcrush

  8. 15
    Alice | Letters to my Daughter

    This is a great idea – somehow more tangible than a specific goal because, as you say, it can be applied to so many things. I’m not sure what mine will be, those are some great suggestions, but I think I need something that means standing firm, not being pushed around, believing in myself… perhaps ‘worthy’… I’ll think about it! #BlogCrush

  9. 16
    Lisa Pomerantz

    I love this post and I am working so hard at being mindful – no easy task! At least I know where my internal voice volume button is and can get a grip on that one! Lovely post. I will find my word too! #BlogCrush xoxo Happiest of holidays Lucy! xoxo

  10. 17

    Lucy, I love using ‘intentional words’
    2017 my words were Focus, Aspire, Inspire.
    This year my plan is guided by Learn , Apply, Interact
    Those are my work lists
    My life list is Live, Laugh, love xx

  11. 18
    Modern Gypsy

    I don’t like setting resolutions either – they’re the fast track to failure, for me! I’ve been choosing a word of the year since the last 5 years (similar to your word of intention). I find that really helps me to shape my year in beautiful and often unexpected ways! #ablogginggoodtime

  12. 19
    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    I love ‘Be’. I’m often guilty of worrying about the future, or dwelling on the past, so I love that push to live in the moment – there’s something really freeing about it. I love just having one word, it’s a real focus, and such an easy way to keep reminding yourself. Best of luck with it this year Lucy! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  13. 21
    Mackenzie Glanville

    This is exactly what I have done this year too. Last year it was Living Fearlessly Authentic, which I am still staying with, but my one world this year is Sparkle! For me this means shining whatever light I can on those around me and whoever I can. Through kindness, smiles and my inner light I want to spread happiness, so that is why I chose Sparkle. I love your word, and I also love the list you have put together! I agree that as a child we take on beliefs about ourselves due to others harsh words. It is so important that we work on those words that we were told that held us back so that we can learn to be our true selves and flourish in life. Plus it is so important we do not do this to our children, that we are aware of the negative impact of words. Great read! Thank you for linking this up with us at #ablogginggoodtime

  14. 29
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    Be is such a positive word for your year and I love your list of intentional words. Last year, I focused on the word “kindness” as my word for the year and I did find it useful to have that key word to focus on. I haven’t consciously picked a word for this year although I quite like “relish” as a word for the year – to stop and consciously focus on the moment and fully enjoy it. Thank you for the inspiration and good luck with your focus for this year x #sharingthebloglove

  15. 33
    Raisie Bay (@RaisieBay)

    Embrace! I have already decided that this is going to be a fantastic year, we have so much to look forward to and I want to embrace it all. The problems/illnesses are not going anywhere soon, but I can still embrace the things that we have and will always have. Thank you for the encouragement. x

  16. 37

    I absolutely love this. I too often fail at keeping to my New Year resolutions as so many people do! The word that has stood out for me is BELIEVE. Thanks for sharing!! #blogcrush

  17. 38

    I don’t make resolutions as I tend to break them but I do like the one word challenge. The problem is I like all of those words! Perhaps I could try a few month! Or the one word that does speak to me is embrace -embrace the year/the month/the moment! #blogcrush

  18. 39

    I have commented on this one before but coming back via #BlogCrush and the ones that leap out to me for this year are Replenish and Learn but I still love Be too. #BlogCrush

  19. 41

    to simply ‘be’ is a wonderful state. I’m a great worrier about how a situation might evolve or how i might be misrepresented, misunderstood, accidently offend. I love your positive words list. I may just print it off and stick it on the wall…. along with BE in a giant font size xxx #blogcrush

  20. 43

    I think this is a great idea…I’m rubbish at resolutions too!! If I had to choose one from your list I’d go with ‘enjoy’. This year will be the first (with Eli) and last (with Stanley) that I have all three of my boys at home with me. Stanley will start school in Sept so I’m going to do my best to live in the moment and just ‘enjoy’ being with them. #BlogCrush

  21. 44
    Sigrid Chu

    Hello Lucy,

    I think my choice word would be Purposeful. I’m not one to do resolutions as well but focusing on an intentional word is a great idea!

    Happy New Year!


  22. 46
    Tracey Bowden

    I love this. I love that you picked ‘be’ it is a great thing to achieve to just be. As someone with anxiety, I do struggle with this. If I was to pick a word it would be achieve I think. There are so many small things you can achieve each day, they don’t necessarily have to be huge goals to achieve. #blogcrush

  23. 47
    Lisa Pomerantz

    I’m back, because you really hit me with this post, in a great way! Thank you Lucy. My word will be JOY. I think this lifetime is short and it can’t be filled with stress, tantrums and financial woes. I will find, create or admire the JOY in everyday life. #blogcrush

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