Have you picked one word to focus on in the new year? Now is the time!
Not Another Resolution
A lot of people don’t like New Year resolutions. I get that.
- Resolutions are often too hard (or we would have done them already, right?).
- Resolutions are often too vague or unrealistic.
- And resolutions are easy to forget about and drop altogether.
That’s why I like choosing one word instead. (Well . . . letting one word choose me—that’s often how it works.)
- One word is simple.
- One word is easy to remember.
- And one word is flexible in the directions it can take you.
Only God knows what the year ahead holds for us. So at our invitation, he’ll guide us to a word custom-designed for our year to come.
That’s a good thing.
And a faith-building thing.
For example, when I chose “Breathe” in 2010, I didn’t know it would be the year both my parents would take their last breaths. When I chose “Venture” in 2012, I had no idea I’d be leaving my old religious heritage that year to branch out into a new faith direction. When 2014 brought “Compassion,” it totally wrecked and expanded me at the same time.
And in 2019 when I chose “Hope” as my one word, I didn’t know that a dear friend would die or that I would be on the road much of the year or that God would stretch me in new ways.
Now it’s time to choose for next year.
3 Steps to Choose One Word
Using the acronym LAP, here are 3 steps that help me decide on one word. Maybe they can help you, too, as we all get ready to take another lap around the globe.
Pay attention. God is already at work 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 author?
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.
Now is time to 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 one day—accepting it as your reality and being with it (even if it’s something that needs to change in the next moment)—you stay most in the presence of God. Once you own it now, he’ll guide you what to do with it next.
Think of a few concrete things you can DO to help you live out your one word. For 2019 I chose 28 ways to practice “hope” (I wrote it in a series here). You don’t have to be that specific, but do come up with a few ideas of how you can use your word.
But 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. It’s about the process instead.
Plan for the future, but hold those plans loosely.
There’s no way you can predict how God will use your word. 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.
He knows what he’s doing.
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Have you chosen One Word in the past? Do you have One Word for this year? Please share in the comments.
You can join the OneWord365 community here. Get ideas for a word and connect with others who have chosen the same word as you.
updated from the archives
- Can You Be an Angel?
- Find Hope in the Darkest Day of the Year, Or, Why I Love Winter Solstice