Focus Words for the New Year

Do you have your focus word for 2021? Or maybe you are asking yourself what one is, how you get one…and why bother?

What Is a Focus Word

Think of a focus word as an overarching theme for the coming year. It is a word that will focus your thoughts and guide your actions. It can be a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb. Small business owners often select a word that has meaning in both their personal and business lives. Or you can select two or even three words, for your personal and business lives, and have them work in concert and play off each other. Beware, though, that some people believe you should only select one word and put all your energy into that word. Or your focus word can morph into a phrase.

So there are very few rules here! What matters that your focus word or phrase makes sense to you and positively impacts your thoughts and actions in a way that is meaningful to you. It is a very personal process, from start to finish.

How Do You Select Your Focus Word?

There is no one way! Some people begin pondering their focus word in December. Others will pick out their word quickly. Here are some methods to try:

  • Meditation – what word or phrase becomes clear?
  • Look at a favorite quote or phrase – is there one particular word that has meaning for you?
  • As you are reading a new book or article, does a word or phrase sort of kick you in the gut? If so, that might be your clue.
  • Journaling
  • Take a word you love, say “steps,” and try adding an adjective: small steps? large steps? quick steps? meaningful steps? what else?
  • Check out a focus word list. I have one below…just some examples. As you look at those words, do they suggest other words to you that have more meaning?

Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious  * Health * Prosper * Discipline * Wisdom * Empower * Embrace * Complete * Compassion * Truth * God * Courage * Wisdom * Action * Adventure * Inspire * Joy * Purpose * Mindfulness * Friends * Family * Love * Dream * Persist * Steps *Commit * Grow * Build * Be * Trust * Heal * Forgive * Kindness * Start * Limitless * Possibilities * Empathy * Try * Learn * Lead * Patience * Enthusiasm * Fame Service * International * Engage * Journey * Flourish * Bloom * Shift * Forgiveness * Vulnerable * Strength * Beauty * Nature * Consistent * Bridge Light * Bold * Teach * Compromise * Belong * Humble * Survive * Curiosity Travel * Fun * Time * Live * Full

How Do You Keep Your Focus Word Top Of Mind?

Now that you have your word, it is time to put it to us. You an do several things, such as:

  • Make it into artwork, such as painting, calligraphy, or jewelry
  • Journal about your word
  • Include it in an affirmation
  • Do a daily meditation about your word
  • Keep a reminder by your desk and in your living space
  • Tell friends about your word


Focus words can be vey powerful, like resolutions. Also, like resolutions, they can fall by the wayside. The key is to believe in your focus word, nurture it, keep it top of mind, and let it help you focus your thoughts and guide your actions in the new year. Good luck!


Robin Suomi, MBA, is an experienced small business expert and founder of Startup to Growth. She has worked with thousands of small business owners through coaching, mastermind groups, education and training.  Robin believes success is rarely accidental and her passion is to help her clients set and reach their goals. Working with clients remotely through video platforms, she helps clients answer their technical business planning and execution questions as well as supporting them while they explore their potential. She encourages clients to dig deeper, dream bigger, and works with them to create their tangible Success Steps. Check out the website for ongoing virtual Small Business CoachingSmall Business Blueprint CoachingMEG (My Entrepreneurial Group) Connect andMEG Startup mastermind groups. Email with your questions or to set up a free 1-1 consultation.