39 Intentional Words To Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet

Words are powerful! They can inspire or challenge, encourage or damage. When we speak, we can build people up or we can tear them down. And we gradually start to believe the things we are told – those phrases and attitudes become our beliefs and part of our inner dialogue. This is why I believe it is so important to speak respectfully to our children – the way that we talk to them teaches them how they should talk to themselves.

“A child’s inner monologue does not just happen; it is born out of what they hear from other people… When kids hear words of praise and encouragement, they learn to respect themselves.”

– L, Ashar, 2012, Who Do You Think You’re Kidding? –

But, it’s not just children who are moulded by words. All humans are designed to learn and evolve and so we need to be careful how we speak to fellow adults too, and, crucially, ourselves.  With the start of a new year just around the corner, I have decided to be more intentional about what I say to myself so I have created the Intentional Words Challenge…

York Minster Large Stained Glass Windows Intentional Words

Positive words

As someone who has had a very negative internal dialogue in the past (“You idiot! What did you do that for? I can’t believe you’re so stupid!”), I am trying really hard to fill my girls up with positivity. I want them to be confident in their abilities and believe that they have worth. I want them to be kind to themselves.

I  don’t mean telling them they’re great at something when they’re not. I mean actively looking out for reasons to praise them; trying to catch them being good or doing something well, and highlighting it.

  • When they’re kind, I tell them so
  • When they’ve coped well with a difficult situation, I tell them so
  • When they’ve worked hard on a picture, I tell them so

This leads them to think, “I’m a kind person” or “I’m resilient” or “I’m a hard worker.” The more positive feedback they can get, the stronger they will feel and the greater belief they will have in themselves.

I’ve also started getting my girls to say positive things to themselves out loud so that they can get used to talking to themselves in an encouraging way.

Siblings sisters holding hands Intentional Words

The Intentional Words Challenge

Last year, Stephanie, from Life At 139, posted a New Years Resolution post on her blog. But she had this ingenious idea of selecting a single intentional word as her resolution, rather than a specific goal. I thought it was brilliant! 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. Stephanie’s word of intention was:


I love this! I think there is an implication 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 in 2018? 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

I’m always rubbish at sticking to New Years Resolutions. 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.

So yes resolutions aren’t really my thing.

But I think if I listed some intentional words and chose one to be my mantra for the year, that might be more attainable. It would be something to push towards. It would be a message of positivity that I sprinkle over my head.

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, which can be a good thing, but it can also make me feel permanently inadequate.

“Be” is a call to live in the moment, to be content, to stop worrying. It tells me to take things as they come and deal with what is happening now rather than worrying about the future. To “be” is to be mindful of the present and to gently bob up and down on the waves of life rather than fighting against the tide or racing the waves.

North Wales Conwy Harbour Intentional Words


Over to you

I’ve made a list of other intentional words to inspire you to take up this challenge too. What would you choose?

  • 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 one-word resolution? Is there a word on the list that you could work with for 2018? 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

Linked to:


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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

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