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22 Motivational Words To Propel You Into 2022

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When a new year rolls around, many people mark the occasion by making resolutions for all the things they’d like to accomplish in the 365 days ahead. Unfortunately, that may not be the best approach. About 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail, according to U.S. News & World Report, and that’s likely because the “new year, new me” philosophy is really difficult to master.

Want a different approach to self-improvement in the new year? That’s where words come in. It’s no secret that we love words. Words have the power to move, change, and inspire, and that’s why choosing a word to use as a theme or intention for the new year is such a great idea. Choosing a word like passion or courage to carry with you in the months ahead can help encourage you to make choices, set goals, and live each day committed to a solid mantra. Here are 22 motivational words perfect to live by in 2022.

Curious to see how well you know these words? Take our quiz! It may be all the motivation you need.

1. determined

Determined means “to give direction or tendency to; impel.” As a theme for the year, it can indicate your intention to approach everything you do with excitement, drive, and a sense of purpose.

2. focus

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus,” as is commonly attributed to Bruce Lee. Maybe you aren’t heading into battle in the new year, but the point is that anyone can accomplish great things if they set the intention of maintaining focus on what’s important to them.

3. clarity

Maybe you aren’t sure about what you want out of the new year yet. That’s okay! This could be a year dedicated to seeking clarity about what you value, what you need, and what steps you want to take next.

4. presence

We live in a world full of distractions, and that can make it difficult to feel fully present. Presence is a great theme for the year because it sets the intention of showing up for yourself and for others in all the big and small moments of your life.

5. accomplish

Is this the year you put in the work learning that new hobby or throw your name in the hat for the big promotion? If so, accomplish may be the word for you. Remember: accomplish doesn’t mean coming out on top everytime. It means “to bring to its goal or conclusion; carry out; perform; finish.”

6. balance

If your life was a pie, how big are the pieces devoted to work, family, friends, and self-care? If one piece of the pie is taking too much of your energy away from the others, this may be the perfect year to seek balance.

7. courage

Making courage a theme for the year doesn’t mean diving in with no fear. As author Mark Twain once wrote, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.” Committing to courage is about committing to taking steps forward, even when it’s new and uncomfortable.

8. belief

Belief means “confidence; faith; trust.” Making 2022 a year focused on belief could include expanding your ability to believe in yourself, exploring and challenging your own long held beliefs, or inspiring others to believe in a movement or cause.

Discover 10 more words that can inspire great change and creativity.

9. gratitude

It’s easy to take opportunities, comforts, and even people we care about for granted. Practicing gratitude throughout the year is an effort to combat that. Showing gratitude may take the form of offering more words of affirmation, journaling, meditating, or even literally saying “thank you” more often.

10. joy

If joy is your intention, then you may find yourself naturally looking for more opportunities to laugh, play, be happy, and love others. Spreading joy by being more giving, open, honest, and vulnerable may also be a goal.

11. imagination

One way to make the most of a new year is to approach it with imagination. Maybe you could adopt a new creativity practice, redecorate your office space, try a new approach to connecting with friends and loved ones, or even do something totally unexpected, like booking a surprise trip or trying a new activity.

12. curiosity

What can you learn about and explore this year? Curiosity is “a desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness.” See what else there is to learn about yourself, your work, the people you love, and the place you live.

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13. priority

Sometimes life gets busy, and it’s easy to lose sight of what matters most. Making priority the intention for the year means thinking about what’s important to you and being intentional about devoting more time to those things.

14. honesty

Be honest: what do you really want out of this year? Practicing honesty might include making the commitment to being more vulnerable, letting go of excuses, or pursuing your true passions.

15. mindfulness

Did the past year go by in a blur? That might be a sign that you could benefit from practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being present, and techniques might include deep breathing, meditation, or even just paying attention to your senses as you move through the world.

16. challenge

If you want to change your habits, try new things, or strive for major goals, the theme for you this year might be challenge. A challenge doesn’t have to be exceptionally difficult. It just has to be “something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort.”

17. passion

What makes you tick? Pursuing passion is about pursuing the things that drive your interests, inspire deep concern, make you sublimely happy, or encourage you to act. If this is your intention for the year, commit to giving time each day to the things that truly move you.

Are you passionate about music and learning new things? Then take a look at these Italian music terms that will strike a chord with you.

18. value

Choosing value as a theme for the year means focusing on what has “relative worth, merit, or importance” to you. That could be a specific goal or even devoting more time to developing your relationships with the special people in your life.

19. commitment

Commitment as a yearly theme may look different for each person. It might mean keeping promises to others, being more responsible about meeting obligations, or even committing to giving yourself more love and care.

20. nurture

Nurture means “to feed and protect.” That doesn’t have to be literal. It could mean feeding your soul, protecting your time, feeding your relationships, or protecting your own wellbeing. Ultimately, nurture is a synonym of care.

21. explore

Take the opportunity to explore this year. That could be accomplished by visiting a new place, but it could also include learning something new, becoming more of a part of your community, or making new friends.

22. zeal

Whatever you do this year, do it with zeal. Zeal means “fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.” Get excited about the days ahead, and make the most of them, no matter what.

Find these words and their enlivening definitions at our word list with flashcard and quiz functions: Words To Empower You In The New Year.


Ashley Austrew is a freelance journalist and writer from Omaha, Nebraska. Her work has been published at CosmopolitanScary MommyScholastic, and other outlets. For more by Ashley, read: 10 New Dating Slang Words To Know In 2021 | Make The “Write” Plans For The Year With 10 New Year’s Resolutions For Writers | “Teacher” vs. “Tutor”: Why Most Kids Need Both | Show Your Appreciation With 25 Other Ways To Say “Thank You”

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