Choosing a Guiding Word for 2020

Choosing A Guiding Word for 2020

Have you thought about choosing a guiding word for 2020? I started this annual practice many years ago in the church we were attending and have continued the practice. Every year, in January, we would do a corporate fast and seek God for a word for the year. It was a wonderful way to start the year. You could also add your resolutions or whatever you chose to do, but that one word was your foundation for the year. So, I have already chosen my word for 2020.

Of course, the first thing to do in choosing a guiding word for the year is to follow the admonition in Proverbs 16:3, TPT

“Before you do anything, put your trust totally in God and not in yourself. Then every plan you make will succeed.”

Step 1 – Seek God

In other words, pray and ask God to help you determine a guiding word for 2020. He might not tell you right at that moment. Sometimes, God has us go on a treasure hunt with Him. Rather than being frustrated, you just need to keep looking and listening! Don’t make the process hard. This is just the first step and, if you really want to hear from Him, He is not that easily discouraged. He will help you.

Choosing A Guiding Word

In other words, pray and ask God to show you a guiding word for 2020. He might not tell you right at that moment. Sometimes, God has us go on a treasure hunt with Him. Rather than being frustrated, you just need to keep looking and… Click To Tweet

Step 2 – review 2019

You can start by reviewing 2019. What have been some predominant lessons or words from God this year? Perhaps, there are one or more words that come to mind. Or, maybe there has been something in your heart that you were not sure about. What is it? It might help if you started writing some things down as they come to mind and as you are praying. Don’t be careful – just write and you can sort through all of it later. Search deep inside your hopes and dreams, perhaps there is a word there. 

Step 3 – Look at the Word

Here is some scripture to consider as you pray and meditate:

  • Within your heart you can make plans for your future, but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there.” Proverbs 16:9 TPT
  • “But a person of honor has honorable plans, and his integrity gives him security.” Isaiah 32:8 TPT
  • “Write down this vision. Write it clearly on tablets, so that anyone who reads it may run.” Habakuk 2:2 The Voice

Jesus Believed in Planning

  • “Just imagine that you want to build a tower. Wouldn’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to be sure you have enough to finish what you start?”Luke 14:28 The Voice
  • “Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.”Romans 12:2 The Voice
  • “Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” Philippians 4:8 The Voice
  • “May He grant the dreams of your heart and see your plans through to the end.” Psalm 20:4 The Voice

A Life-Building Word

God wants to work with you. After all, this word can help you but it can be changed and is only meant to be a help to you in the coming year. The wrong word is not going to destroy your life. This is a life-building exercise, and, while you want to seek and follow God’s will, if He doesn’t speak anything in particular to you, then it’s quite possible that He’s fine with whatever you choose! This is meant to be a source of joy, not pressure or worry. So, relax, have fun and find a word.

Step 4 – use the word to create vision

Whatever your plans are for the coming year, you need to be able to put them into words and create a readable vision. When God gives vision it is meant to bring clarity and direction to our lives. Here is what happens without a clear vision:

Where there is no vision from God, the people run wild, but those who adhere to God’s instruction know genuine happiness.” Proverbs 29:18 The Voice

As you pray, write. As you write, commit it all to God. Don’t wait for flashing lights or words written on the wall. Oftentimes we become paralyzed waiting for God to speak, thinking we can’t move if He doesn’t. A man once taught our church this. Just one word for 2020 can set a foundation for you.

The Lesson of the Guided Missile

A guided missile is directed by a system far away from it. If the missile is on course, a green light constantly shines. No one has to do anything if the light is green. If the missile begins to wander off course, a red light appears and corrections are made. Most of the time we have a green light from God.

If we get off course He has many ways of speaking (flashing the red light) and getting us back where we belong if we are willing. He uses our conscience and the voice of the Holy Spirit along with His Word, circumstances and other people. Remember that He is big enough to get us back on track as long as our heart is set on being there. So, if you have prayed and waited and He is silent, don’t be paralyzed. He knows you don’t want to do the wrong thing and, again, He’s so big that you can’t stop Him from taking care of you unless you reject Him! So, relax and move forward with your word and plans.

Here is Proverbs 16:9 again: “People do their best making plans for their lives, but the Eternal guides each step.”

You can make your plans. You have submitted yourself to Him to do His will and He has promised to guide you and keep you, never leaving you! So, start writing out your plans based on your word for the year.

Step 6 – Turn your word and vision into goals


In order for your word to bear fruit in your life, it needs to be made into an action. Goals require actions to achieve. Goals need to have at least two parts – specific and measurable. For instance, let’s say your word is prayer. Then you specify daily prayer for 5 minutes or pray 5 days a week for 5 minutes. Maybe you want to combine it with Bible journaling. One goal would be to purchase a journaling Bible before January 1, get colored pencils or pens if you want. Your second goal is to read 1 scripture per day, journal and pray for 10 minutes. 

You just turned your word into a goal and an action. Instead of just thinking about prayer for 365 days, you have a specific plan of action for your word.


What is your vision for how this will change your life? What will it do for you? Why does it matter? Write out the answers to those questions and you will have the beginning of a vision.

This year, I started this blog for women who are ministering and serving the body of Christ, sharing God’s love. In November, I began doing my planning for 2020 because, without a plan, I write without a clear vision of what I’m trying to accomplish and that isn’t productive in relation to the people I want to reach. So, I purchased the Goal Planner pictured below. It is very beautiful, well-made, and filled with tools and ways to not only set out my goal and vision for WM, but also for myself. Both are important. 

This is the 2020 Powersheets Goal Planner. The Powersheets are the foundation of the Planner. If you are interested, follow this link to Cultivate What Matters and look it over in more detail. It costs $60, which I realize can be rather expensive, but, at least for me, it has been worth every penny. It guides you through step-by-step and includes your personal needs along with whatever other goals and vision you need to define. There are also videos to guide you through each step. This may not be the Planner for you but it is an example and you can start here to find the one that works best for you. I am an affiliate for Cultivate What Matters so please read the Affiliate Disclosure at the bottom of the blog. 

Write Out the Vision

While you can type or do whatever works for you, I believe that taking up pen and paper does something very beneficial for us in regard to goal setting, planning, creating a clear vision for ourselves in many areas of our lives. As you write your word, your thoughts, God’s thoughts, scripture, your vision and dreams, the goals you have for yourself, family, work, church, spiritual needs, physical needs, or any other area of life, you will begin to clarify your vision.

Choosing A Guiding Word for 2020 Q5

I am also an author. When you write a book, the first thing you do is a rough-draft. The process has been referred to as throwing up on paper! Not a lovely picture but it gives you the idea. You don’t worry about form or style. Just start writing and keep writing. The first paragraphs you put out will probably be thrown away. But, as you continue to write, your true message will evolve. You then go back and begin the long process of editing and re-writing – refining the message.

Be S.M.A.R.T.

While the process of choosing a word for 2020 is not that intensive, the concept is the same. Just start writing. Then write some more. Cross out things and try again. Eventually, the true vision, need, dream, goals, and desires of your heart will emerge along with that guiding word for 2020. Once they do, turn them into measurable actions!

There is a concept called SMART goals that helps you create goals which are truly beneficial rather than just frustrating. Here is what it means:

  • S – Specific (or Significant).
  • M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
  • A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
  • R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
  • T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

Use the SMART method to create your goals as you expand on what your word will mean to you and how it will be implemented in your life in 2020. The word is not worth much if you are not going to create a plan of action to make it part of your daily life.

Step 7 – Let your guiding word protect you from diversions

The Tyranny of the Urgent

One of our greatest enemies can be the tyranny of the urgent. Someone calls you and they are in crisis. They need you and they need you now. While that is true at times, it isn’t always true. It may seem that way to the other person, but, truthfully, you also have a life you must protect and care for. There are just some people who are constantly needy. No matter how often you help, it is never enough and their life never really changes. The tyranny of the urgent causes you to put aside other plans and personal needs or subvert the goals and visions God gave you. It isn’t just people, it is also activities, jobs, desires, shiny things, and ‘good’ things that can draw us away from where we should be. 

Don’t Enable Others By Following Diversions

I am not advocating selfishness or saying that we should put everyone off. However, we are not to live in everyone else’s crisis. So, we must learn to set boundaries and times. Of course, some emergencies require immediate attention, but I think you understand what I’m getting at. We do not do a favor to a person who is chronically in crisis by enabling them to continue using us. Sometimes, it is necessary to put time restrictions on those people no matter how loudly they protest or what spiritual language they use to induce guilt within us.

Let Your Vision Guide You and Keep You On God’s Path for You

A clear word, vision, and goals will allow you to say no to certain situations that are going to divert you unnecessarily. We need a structure that allows us to say no – including to ourselves! When someone comes to you begging you to lead a group or lead an area because of some crisis, you need to let them know you will pray and get back to them. Don’t allow their urgency to push you from the path God has shown you. Of course, if God says to do it, you do it. But, be careful and utilize your word, vision, goals, plans, and dreams to keep you on track and strengthen you in avoiding the diversion. 

This applies to our everyday lives as well. Urgency is everywhere and the enemy uses it to derail you. Again, if God says to turn right when the map said to go left, you turn right. However, don’t let someone or something else use spiritual terms to convince you that they are God’s new voice for your life! Guilt can cause us to do things we should never have gotten involved in. Remember, you prayed for a ‘guiding’ word. 

Let the word, goals, and vision be an active and guiding part of your life every day. Constantly submit it back to God. Make adjustments where necessary. Our life circumstances may take over for a time. Don’t let that discourage you. Look at your word and goals and figure out how to re-implement them in this new situation. 

I pray that these 7 steps to choosing a guiding word for 2020 are helpful and set you on a course for new success in every area of your life next year. By the way – my word for 2020 is “NEW” and I am already putting it into action.

**We use verses from different Bible translations.
To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our
Scripture Citations.

You might also enjoy – What is Christmas Really About? or Renewed in the Spirit of Your Mind

Choosing A Guiding Word for Your Life

7 thoughts on “Choosing A Guiding Word for 2020”

  1. I started chuckling when you wrote, “Don’t make the process hard!” Boy do we ever have a tendency to do that, don’t we lol???
    The past few years, my words were strong like ‘fearless’ and ‘intentional’. And then all of a sudden one year God gave me ‘delight’. And I realized He wanted me to switch from words that insist I work harder to delight, which focuses on me abiding and making it all about Him.
    I’m not sure yet what my word for 2020 will be. I want to say ‘vision’ but I am waiting on the Lord.

    1. Donna – “don’t make it hard” was in there because that’s what I do with most things! Delight is a great word. I’m sure God has something positive for you this year as well. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. I have never done this before, and have been curious as to what choosing a word involves, and what it “does” for you. You answered every question and more Fleda! I will definitely start with prayer and see where God leads! I love the 7 steps and they gave me much to think about!

    1. That’s great AnnMarie. I have found it to be a great thing to do. When life gets muddy, it is one more small thing to help find clarity. Thank you for reading and commenting. I love all your videos by the way! I didn’t want to do them and now I enjoy them. They are one of the “new” things I’m incorporating for the new year.

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