How Do I Find My One Word? 3 Steps to Choose the Right Word

[Revised for ONE WORD 2023]

Resolutions or One Word?

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Studies say that 39.5% of Americans make at least one resolution each year. But of those, only 9% are successful in keeping their resolution. 

If you’d like an alternative to yearly resolutions, many people (myself included) choose One Word for the year. 

But choosing One Word isn’t for everyone either. It’s a personal choice that might be helpful for some people and not other people. Or helpful some years and not other years. 

However, if you would like to try having One Word for 2023, but need some guidance in picking the right word, here are 3 steps to choose the word for you, along with a list of suggested words

And if you’d like to join a group for accountability and ideas, read more here

3 Steps to Choose the Right Word

As I’ve shared in the past (and since revised), try the acronym LAP to narrow down your word as we prepare for another lap around the globe.

L—LISTEN

Pay attention.

Your word need not be something you sweat about digging up, but rather something you notice and receive.

  • Are you hearing repetitive messages with similar themes?
  • Is a particular song or scripture touching you deeply?
  • Is there a struggle you want to overcome?

Your word can show up through any avenue. Listen for a word through circumstances, relationships, or inner dialogue. 

You don’t have to overthink it. Accept what comes without having to understand it fully. More will be revealed when the time is right.

A—ABBREVIATE

Narrow your focus.

After you hone in on a general direction, break it down into two or three words that stand out. It’s better to draw your full attention to one main concept than be distracted by a hundred little resolutions.

Be attentive to one word at a time. Does it feel small enough to manage? Does it feel big enough to inspire you?

Your One Word choice doesn’t have to be profound or complex. It doesn’t have to be the key to solving all problems for all time.

Keep it simple and relevant to this season of your life.

Your One Word is a step for now, not the complete journey for all time.

P—PURPOSE

To further identify your word, decide why you want to choose One Word.

Maybe you want something you can take action on, like REBUILD. Or something to pray about through the year, like PEACE. Maybe you want to work on a weak area (TRANSFORM), or celebrate a strength (THANKFUL).

Identifying your purpose can help narrow down your word, and even help you decide whether you want to frame it as a noun or a verb.

Once you know your purpose, you can then move forward to create a working plan for ways you want to live out your word and practice it throughout the coming year.

  • Some people create four mini-goals with their word, one for each quarter of the year.
  • Or put them on a sticky note where they’ll see them every day.
  • I gather a stack of books about my word to read throughout the year.

Hold It Loosely

Yet at the same time, release expectations of where your One Word will take you.

Let go of specific outcomes. Your word will show up in your life in ways you can’t predict.

Just know this: As you set your intention to grow through your word, trust God’s grace to come alongside you, whichever word you choose.

Then embed your word into one situation at a time, one day at a time, one relationship at a time.

One is enough. 


Have you chosen One Word in the past? Do you have One Word yet for 2023? Do you repeat words?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

If you’d like company on your One Word journey, find details here about joining a group.

If you’re ready to sign up now, join our One Word 2022 community here. (Already in our 2022 group? No need to sign up again).

 

Need some suggestions for choosing your One Word? Here’s the list of past One Words from our One Word community

One Word Suggestions

I’m linking at these blog parties

35 thoughts on “How Do I Find My One Word? 3 Steps to Choose the Right Word

  1. Martha J Orlando

    I needed your reminder here, Lisa, of how to choose a word for the year once again. The key, I believe, is to listen, to prayerfully allow God to move our hearts and minds. No word has popped up yet for me, so this exercise will be all important as the weeks unfold.
    I look forward to hearing about your one word for 2022!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree with you, Martha. Listening for God’s nudge in the right direction is key for me too. Last year he kept giving me UNCERTAINTY but I kept giving it back until finally I took the hint and kept it. 🙂 I don’t think 2022’s word is going to be as much of a battle. I’ll look forward to hearing about your word too!

  2. Joanne

    I may try again to pick a WOTY; I think I did okay with my word this year but I did forget about it 1/2 way through or so. Thanks to your occasional reminders I never forgot about it completely but noticed I really did lose my focus with it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      But even remembering your word at least 1/2 way through is quite an accomplishment, Joanne. It’s not an easy thing to do. It was helpful to me this year to have the community to remember with. If you do choose a word for 2022, I hope you’ll let us know!

  3. Linda Stoll

    Lisa, hi! It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since your gentle prompting of our 2021 word. And while I might not be choosing a word for this coming year, I will not forget your encouragement to live out ‘serendipity’ for all it’s worth.

    This is the first time I haven’t lost track of my word. And it’s all because of your faithfulness in cheering us on.

    I’m sending my thanks with a hug this evening.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m receiving your hug and sending one back, Linda! Thank you so much for the encouragement. I’m glad our little experiment was helpful. I so much enjoyed your word serendipity myself. An unexpected blessing to me throughout the year was also getting to live through everyone else’s words.

  4. Denise Maryott

    I have received my word for 2022, seeing it several places IE: journal, devotional, t-shirt and on my social media. My One Word this year Gratitude/grateful.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Having that focus has really been helpful for me, too, Jerralea. It’s really been amazing to look backwards at how God worked through each word each year in such specific ways that I could never have predicted.

  5. Donna

    Lisa, love the tips here for choosing a word! I feel like God has been prompting me on a particular word, but was unsure how to define it. These tips will help me narrow down the Spirit’s leading!
    I am so excited about this One Word group, for the first time I did not lose track of my word throughout the year, and stayed on track with where God was leading me through my word JOY.
    I also enjoyed learning more words through other group members and benefitting from their journeys as well. Lisa I cannot thank you enough for leading us all through this fantastic group!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      No pun intended, but your word brought ME such joy this year too, Donna! I’m so grateful for your friendship to me, and also for your relationship with the Lord because we all benefit by that. I’m already looking forward to what each one will choose next year so we can walk through the words together again.

  6. Lisa Blair

    I’m seeking the Lord for my One Word 2022. I’m so appreciative of you leading us in our One Word 2021. I so enjoyed walking with the Lord as He led and guided me with my word, harvest. I’m looking forward to 2022’s word.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’ve had such rich nuance with HARVEST this year, Lisa. I’ve loved how you’ve broken it into several different fruit, etc. I’ll look forward to your 2022 word!

  7. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, I think I know my word for the coming year. I am not sure what word I was expecting, but this one sort of surprised me. So I am still holding it close until I feel certain. I so appreciate what you have done with this group. I have loved the community, the sharing, and learning from others. I was so happy you decided to continue on next year. I am looking forward to seeing what others have chosen, including you 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Joanne! It’s been such a blessing having you in the group. And how exciting that your word is surprising you (if that’s the one you stick with)! Can’t wait to hear. 🙂 I’m glad that there was interest to continue another year myself.

  8. Suzette Katopodes

    2021 was the first time I chose a word of the year and I believe God used it for my good. He brought me to a place of understanding in a year of confusion. So, I’ll choose a new word for 2022 and trust Him to do the same. I like your LAP method, too, it will help me get started. Thanks, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exciting that your word was used for your good this year, Suzette. I think we all needed that this year. 🙂 I’ll look forward to your 2022 journey too. I’m 95% sure I have my word for 2022.

  9. JeanWise

    working and listening to what is resonating today within my soul. needed to read again that one is enough – I am struggling with two words. Thanks for great insight and inspiration for me

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I understand the struggle between words, Jean. I kept doing that last year, going back and forth with all the nuances of UNCERTAINTY, until finally God told me enough already. ha. I have so loved how you and God have worked through GO this year!

  10. Tea With Jennifer

    Yes Lisa, since I have been blogging God has given me a word for each year. This year it has been Prayer & it has been an interesting journey.

    I’m not sure what the word for 2022 will be yet but I know God will highlight it to me before Jan 1.
    Thank you for sharing. ☺️
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

  11. Richella J Parham

    Thank you for this, Lisa. I love the idea of choosing one word for the new year, but it’s been awhile since I’ve done this. Thanks for the guidance–and the reminder to start by listening.

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for featuring our One Word group at Imparting Grace today! I have some years where my word is more centered in my thoughts than other years. But this year’s word (UNCERTAINTY) and last year’s word (LINGER) were spot on. 🙂

  12. Create With Joy

    Happy New Year Lisa!
    Congrats for being featured at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy this week!
    I know a lot of people want to pick a word but struggle (I think we’ve all been there). I’m sure your tips will help a lot. I love the community you’ve built and the great resources you’ve added this year! 🙂

  13. Martha J Orlando

    I’m so glad you reposted this, Lisa! No word has appeared to me yet, but I’m not worried, nor am I “pushing” for one to come to the fore. As you probably know, my word for this year was “breathe,” and it has served me perfectly through all the healing times and gratefulness felt for the breath of life. I will stay tuned and listen for my next word.
    Blessings!

  14. Tammy L Kennington

    Hi Lisa,
    I love your LAP acronym and am listening for the word He has for me this year. Over the last several years, I’ve felt as though my words are meant to build upon one another. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store.

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips! I may need to make a trip to the library. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Tammy

  15. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, I’m late to the party on this posting, but I really appreciate your encouragement, and will share this post w/ my online prayer group. I have written to them about chosing a word b/f (my own thoughts), but I love your post, and it will be satisfying and easy to share. I had told you of my discouragement over not living out my 2021 word: FINISH. I don’t even know if I had told you (but I don’t think so) that God had given me this word several years ago, and I did NOT finish what I felt Him directing. So it was a repeat, but years later, which made me feel a sense of failure. Part of this is me… my everlasting procrastination and my sense of being overwhelmed w/ what He is calling me to do (and has been for a very long time). But I have had the hardest 2 1/2 years of my life w/ a form of constant vertigo, and a HUGE SETBACK (back to worse than sq. one) on Thanksgiving night. Just a super attack, and now all the hard work of PT has been wiped out literally in seconds. I’m on a walker constantly and feel ancient. I don’t feel that way usually. While I have never been athletic, I was still active, enjoying long walks w/ Michael, going places, doing things, seeing others (though COVID interfered big time), and singing in a pro Bach chorus, and still doing occasional professional writing in Dr. Stanley’s In Touch Magazine (a gorgeous publication, till it was ended–w/ no word from them as to why). I digress! Sorry!!! So, I have wondered about repeating FINISH which felt so self-defeating, especially not even knowing if I can w/ this huge health complication. You encouraged me on FB that there is no shame in repeating FINISH. Another word that keeps edging its way into my consideration, one way or the other, is FLOURISH. I wonder if they are connected, as in FINISH to FLOURISH? Oh my. Then that is two words! 🙂 These are some thoughts caroming around in my dizzy head. But I really wanted to thank you for this group, your blog, your personal friendship. I’ve been a no show lately, and I assure you it has everything to do with my health, and nothing more. Sending you much love and wishes for a joyful Advent.
    xo
    Lynn

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