3 Steps to Choose One Word for 2021
—Take another lap around the globe


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Have you decided on One Word for 2021? Or do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Or neither?

I haven’t made a list of resolutions the past few years, but I have chosen One Word since 2010.

As much as I’ve been fighting it for 2021, God keeps sending me “Uncertainty” again and again. So I’m feeling more certain about it now (ironically). I’ll write more about it in the next few days.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve chosen a word, and how certain you are of it.

If you want help in choosing a word, below are three suggestions I’ve shared in the past.

If you want to join our One Word 2021 group to help each other stay accountable, sign up here to get a monthly email reminder and questions to engage with your word. We’ll meet here every 21st of the month and in our Facebook group.

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3 Steps to Choose One Word

Get ready for another lap around the globe.

Using the acronym LAP, here are 3 steps to help you decide on One Word for 2021.

1. L—Listen

Pay attention. God is already at work with the word in you, doing new things, preparing you for new things.

Are you hearing repetitive messages on a specific theme? Does a particular song touch you deeply? Have you been drawn to a certain book or scripture?

God can work through any of these avenues. Listen for his message. Stay present to his wisdom. It’s not something you sweat over, but something you notice and receive.

Accept what comes without having to understand it fully. God will reveal more when the time is right.

One word is simple, yet flexible in the directions God can move it through you.

2. A—Abbreviate

Narrow your focus. It’s better to give your full attention to one main word or concept than be distracted by a hundred little resolutions.

Be most attentive to one thing at a time. This thing. At this time. With this person.

Your One Word choice doesn’t have to be profound or complex. Keep it simple and relevant to this season of your life.

It’s a step, not the complete journey.

When you welcome whatever comes in this day—accepting it as your reality for now—you are present to the love of God. Once you accept this moment, he’ll guide you into what to do next.

3. P—Plan

Think of a few concrete things you can DO to help you live out your One Word. Are there ways you can practice it?

Come up with a few ideas for how to use your word.

Yet at the same time, also release expectations of where your One Word will take you. Let go of a specific outcome you may have in mind. God works through us along the journey.

Plan for the future, but hold your plans loosely.

We can’t predict how God will use our words. Just know this: God will honor your intentions to honor him through it. Trust that his grace will be enough.

Pray about receiving your word from God, then hand it right back to him.

Let him embed it into your life one relationship at a time, one day at a time, one situation at a time.

God alone knows what is ahead. And he knows how to lead us through it.

Do you make yearly resolutions? What’s your One Word for 2021? Share your thoughts in the comments.

24 thoughts on “3 Steps to Choose One Word for 2021
—Take another lap around the globe

  1. Martha Jane Orlando

    I like the concept of holding our plans loosely, and simply allow God to shine His revelation on the word we have chosen. My word is “hope,” and I’ll be posting about it this coming Tuesday. Your word is great, Lisa!

  2. Linda Stoll

    Ok, Lisa! I think I’ve decided on 6 words so far!!


    But the winner is serendipity.

    At least for this moment!

    Happy New Year, friend. I am so grateful for your sweet, wise, steady presence in my life.

    Bless you.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      This is going to be a fun word, Linda! I look forward to seeing how God is going to use “serendipity” in your life in 2021. I’m grateful to be heading into another year with you online beside me. 🙂

  3. Trudy

    I’m still doing a bit of swinging back and forth with two words, Lisa, but I think there is one that is sticking with me more because so often God is whispering to me, “Rest, My child.” At first, I thought it was “listen,” but it seems in order to listen more to God’s voice, I do need to rest more and lean into Him. Love and blessings in 2021!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I like your train of thought here, Trudy! To hear God, we have to get quiet. I think rest would be an excellent choice if you decide to go with that. Rest is sometimes a hard thing to do, but it’s something God really urges us to do (why do we fight him on it so often???). Hope you ring in the year with joy and wellness, my friend.

  4. Lauren Renee Sparks

    Thanks for the tips. Feeling a nudge to do this for the very first time. Still haven’t landed on a word. Both truth and trust keep coming to mind. I’ve been smacked over the head with both this year and both could use some attention.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, you could combine the words, like Trusting Truth. 🙂 One year I did Depend and Delight and it actually worked out well to have two different but connected words. Just a thought! Happy New Year’s, Lauren!

  5. Jean Wise

    You know I would love this post. Actually next Tuesday blog post I link to this article. Hopefully we can inspire more to try this practice. Happy New Year, Lisa

  6. ~linda

    Although I have a word for 2021, being attentive, planning on how to use the word, and abbreviating when in overwhelm are places I still need to be. May God guide us and use these words to grow us to be more Christlike.

  7. Laurie

    I do have a word for 2021 (as you might remember). You have been so helpful to those of us thinking about our word of the year. The tips you give to find a word work for most other situations too! Listen to God, pay attention to one thing at a time, welcome whatever comes this day… Wonderful advice!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m excited to watch how “empty” will play out for you, Laurie! I think it’s a brave choice. The year I chose “humility” (your word last year if I’m remembering correctly?) had some really hard moments in it. ha. But, at the same time, it was a year of growth as well, which is what I’m sure God had in mind. 😉

  8. Alice V Walters

    Dear Lisa, it’s sooo good to reconnect with you! Thank you for the One Word suggestions. My word for 2021 is “ENOUGH”. The Lord actually gave it to me a couple of months ago. In the past I’ve made and posted weekly digital postcards with verses including my One Word. This year I think I’ll have to go a little differently since there don’t seem to be as many scriptures with enough.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I thought about using ENOUGH myself! Maybe God will give it to me in another year; he kept giving me UNCERTAINTY every time I tried to change it to something else. 🙂 So I’ll enjoy watching how he uses Enough with you, Alice. Very nice to reconnect with you too!

  9. Laura Thomas

    My word for 2020 is LIGHT. I was drawn to it throughout Advent and really felt it was something God had in mind for me—not just for that season but to take into 2021. 🤗Happy New Year to you, friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Light is such a hopeful and critical word, Laura! It’s a beautiful word to take into 2021. We all need the Light to see us through this dark time, and it’s especially comforting to know that some like you are specifically focusing on light for the rest of us to see better.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I was just reading the summary on your blog of your 2020, Claire. Wow–you definitely had to deal with a lot of uncertain things last year! Hope that your new year will bring health and healing to deal with things revealed in 2020. That’s actually my prayer for all of us.

  10. Horace Williams Jr

    I am so excited that God has given me a word for 2021, Lisa. I had been praying for one last month. It is going to be exciting to watch God at work in the New Year. I’m glad to be a part of this group this year!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m so excited that you’re joining us in our One Word adventures with God, Horace! Your presence is a valuable asset to any group you join. I still have your new book in my reading queue; I look forward to picking up wisdom from it. And I have a hunch that it will also be helpful with my one word Uncertainty.

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