Every year I failed miserably at my New Year’s resolutions. That is until I decided to choose one word for the entire year.
It’s not like I didn’t have the best intentions, I genuinely wanted to learn Spanish, lose 20 pounds, and pay off my debt. Every year.
It just… I don’t know… never happened.
Life seemed to get in the way. I lost sight of the daily grind when it came to those things. It was a lot of drastic changes all at once.
Those resolutions were overwhelming. Especially if I was having a bad
day week, or if life threw me a curveball, and my plan didn’t go my way.
I think in all of my years of making goals, and then remaking those goals, in order to fit my ever-changing lifestyle, I may have fulfilled perhaps one year of total completion?
It was the fateful year of 2011. And sure enough, as I look back at my yearly goals, I had every single one of my ten resolutions checked off. What a proud year that was.
I don’t know what got into me. Maybe because it was the year after having my biggest breakup ever that I somehow found the supernatural urge to take better care and control of my life. But it’s not like I’m gonna go through a post-breakup “super me” phase every year.
But one year I decided to switch it up. I decided to live through the year on just one word.
I don’t really remember why I decided to do this. But I can assure you that it wasn’t a trending thing back then.
For me, personally, it was easier to simply focus on just one thing all year round rather than to adjust to a bunch of things.
Not only that but setting my focus on just one word is far less intimidating, which makes it doable.
There’s no demand on fulfilling something when you choose to focus on one word versus many resolutions.
And if you choose the right word, it could even help you accomplish your goals sooner and more effectively.
And I don’t know about you, and what you’re going through, but perhaps focusing on a lot of new stuff at once can feel like a bit much, you know? But I can guarantee if that if you decided to just go with one word, it would help you get through whatever it is you’re going through. Why? Because it will remind you to shift your mindset.
In a nutshell, by choosing one word to cover your year, you can use it to reflect on all of your goals, choices, and inspiration for that entire year. Despite what comes your way, and what you can and cannot do, you’ll be reminded all year round that your year is gonna be better because you’re purposely setting your mind to it.
It’s seriously that deep.
Let me break down how this works.
How to Pick a Word for the Year
You don’t wanna just pick any ol’ word here. It actually requires some focus on several places.
First and foremost, you’ll want to check-in with God. If you’ve been seeking God and really trying to strengthen your relationship with Him, then chances are, He’s already moving. Think back to some prayers, sermons, etc. where you may have felt very strongly about a word.
Or maybe you’re drawn to specific Bible verse. And that’s cool too. But what is the keyword in that verse? Yup. You found your word!
Another place you can think back to is your mood. What have you been feeling lately? Maybe you can just feel in your heart and spirit that something really big is getting ready to happen in your life. What word is popping up to help you prepare for that next season?
Or, how about your mindset. Perhaps you’ve been super zoned in on a particular project and it’s all you’ve been thinking about. What is the one word that comes to mind whenever you think about that project? Use that word to take you to the next level!
What to Do with your Word
After looking back in those three areas and reflecting on what you think your word could be for the New Year, now what? What happens next?
Great question. You wanna really own that word! Live with it! Meditate on it!
Do whatever you can to keep that word in the forefront of your mind and daily activities.
You can choose to write it down (everywhere!) so that it’s visible at all times.
Or, share it with others who are close to you and connect with you through social media. Because everyone knows that the more you share something, the more alive it becomes. It’s part of that verse in Romans, “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17, to be exact)! The more you hear something, the greater your faith in that thing becomes!
Another thing you can do is pray over it. Bring your word to God and allow Him to use it to direct you to the path and calling that He has for you as you walk into your New Year!
Believe me, once you pick a word, and decide to share that with God, the results of Him using that one tiny word throughout your year will surprise you. I’m dead serious. It’s a game changer.
As for me, I believe I started to apply the one-word theory over my life and goals a few years back.
Here are the words I’ve used in the past, and the one I will be using for my future:
My husband and I chose adventure, sort of as a reference to the movie, “The Hobbit“. It was the part of the movie where Bilbo (the Hobbit) was greeted in my peaceful home by a bunch of crazy, hungry, dwarfs, out of nowhere to discuss their plans to take back their homelands. They wanted Bilbo to go with them and of course, Bilbo was like “heck no”.
But then the next morning, he woke up and realized that he was about to miss out on this crazy adventure! So he rushed out to join them, and set sailed for a trilogy of movies, followed by another trilogy known as, “The Lord of the Rings“.
I know this is a bit much. I’m in no way telling you to pick your word based on Hobbits and trilogies. Unless that’s what you’re really feeling.
I say all this to say that my husband and I chose the word, “Adventure” because we were getting ready to have our first child. And we knew that we could either live out that year preventing any and all risk with this huge life change or… we can ride it out as one of the greatest adventures of our lives.
And it totally was.
With every good and bad thing that could’ve happened that year, we simply reminded each other, that we were in it for the adventure.
And we treated the year as exactly that.
This word affected every single area of my life. For starters, I decided to turn my word into an acronym. So the word, “focus” was actually me focusing on the following:
F-Family (we are praying if we should have another baby or not)
O- Occupation (I needed some major direction shifts with my blog and business)
C- Christ as the Center (because without Him, nothing would flow!)
U- Us (as in, my husband and I, so that we honored our marriage and relationship above everything else that was going on)
S- Self (cause man, did I need some self-love on a regular basis!)
Having these five focus points and having that one word to drawback to all year has helped me sort out what was important and what was not.
It also helped me push through some of the things that really mattered most, whereas, I would’ve overlooked them because of this, that, and the third.
And because I was so focused this year, we decided to have another baby (yay!). Also, I got closer to God and really incorporated Him into my business like never before. Going the gym became my “me time” and it felt awesome! And our marriage has been steadily getting stronger.
All because I decided to set my mind on ONE WORD.
Mind you, I did set goals for certain things in life within those areas of focus. But the goals were either met or they weren’t. No big deal. I still use planners to map out my quarters and day-to-day intentions. What helped me reached the majority of those goals was my reminder to focus on what was important.
So drumroll as I share my new word…
Next year, I envision myself simply growing. In many of my past years, I’ve been planting “seeds” in different areas of my life.
Seeds to cultivate godly friendships.
Planting strategies to help grow my business.
And seeds to grow our family (literally).
Now, just like any farmer, it’s time to wait and watch those seeds grow. In this new year, I plan to simply water and nurture what has already been planted.
And while that may require me to be still and rest a lot, I feel it is the direction that God is calling me in!
Because how else will you produce a mighty harvest if you do not allow your seeds to grow??
Expectant. I want to live expectantly.