Create a Watchword for the New Year

We’ve talked about New Year’s resolutions (and how to stay accountable with them) in the past. Something you can use to complement those resolutions is a watchword.

What’s a Watchword?

A watchword is a word or phrase that expresses a core aim or belief. When considering what to choose for yourself, some questions you can ask include:

  • What principles do I want to use to focus my life and work in the coming year?
  • What one or two words will help me choose what to do and what to avoid?
  • What can I use more of in my life?
  • What can I use less of?
  • At the end of the day, how do I want to feel?

As you answer these questions, you’re going to come up with a lot of different words and phrases, but you’ll probably see some overlap. That overlap can help you create some finalists.

Types of Watchwords


Maybe you are looking to establish or improve a habit. Words could include: routine, fitness, minimize.


Maybe you’re hoping to deepen a value that matters to you. Examples include: love, discipline, trust.

The Obvious

Sometimes Gents might be interested in using an all-purpose, obvious word that can be applied across their businesses, workplaces, families, and communities. Such words might be: focus, accountability, leverage.

Tell Those Close to You

When you’ve decided on a watchword, tell those close to you that it’s what you’ve chosen for the year. If they care about you not only will they support you, but they may end up going through the exercise and choosing a watchword for themselves.

While it’s helpful to have accountability, you’ll need to track the progress of your watchword yourself. This can be done daily, if you use a journal, or monthly or quarterly, if you don’t. In these reviews, audit your thoughts, words, and actions. Have you lived up to your watchword in given situations? If not, why not?

Be Committed

If used effectively, a watchword can be a prelude to an outstanding year, in which a particular aspect of your life is immeasurably improved. But that can only happen if it’s a serious effort, not just something amusing or interesting you might do for a month or a season.

42250cookie-checkCreate a Watchword for the New Year

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