What's Your One Word for the New Year?

Here we sit at the start of another New Year. 365 blank days staring us in the face waiting to be written. What story will those 365 days tell at the end of this year?

That is kind of a daunting question to ask yourself. And yet most people do ask it.  It is why we make resolutions and set goals.  We desire the year before us to tell a GOOD story.

Finding Focus with One Word

I have written blogs on how to motivate yourself to keep your resolutions and tips for keeping your resolutions.  I believe there is real value in setting goals for the year.

But today I want to talk about a different idea to consider as you start a new year. I’ve heard it referred to as One Word for the New Year or One-Word Resolutions.  Essentially – you pick one word that encompasses how you want to approach the New Year.

For example, maybe your word for the year is Discipline. This is your focus for the year. You are saying that you want to approach your work, your relationships, your spiritual life, etc. with discipline.  You are committing to giving a full effort to areas of your life this year and not just giving a laid-back, half-effort to the important things in your life. You want to be disciplined and stay on task.

On the flip side, maybe your word for the year is Relax.  Perhaps you have had several stressful years in a row, and this is not the year for you to be disciplined, but a year for you to give yourself a break. Your focus is on finding balance and learning to relax.

Whatever your word – it is something personal that you select based on this point in your life. It gives you a focus on how you approach all aspects of your life for this one year. It helps you determine the kind of person you want to become. Rachel Olsen, co-author of “My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word” says,

"A word can’t be broken.  It serves as a reminder, a filter. It’s who you want to be instead of what you regret."

For me, I like the word, Grace. It is a good reminder on how to approach everyone in my life…from my family and co-workers to the teens and young adults that call my radio show to strangers that I meet. I want to show everyone grace. We all have “stuff” in our lives and the more grace I can extend each person letting them know that I understand life isn’t easy and I’ll love them anyway…the less uptight I will be from holding everyone to such a high standard and hopefully those around me will be blessed as well.

How Do You Go About Selecting Your Word for the Year?

Begin by taking some time to decide what kind of person you want to be. Then identify the characteristics of that person and write them down. You might have a lot of words on your list now. Now pick JUST ONE WORD. Resist the temptation to pick more than one. With just one word, you can view all situations that come up over the next year through your WORD.

Don’t pick your word quickly or randomly. Think it over for a while.  Pray about it and ask God to give you clear direction on your word for the year and then ask Him to help you stay focused.

To help inspire you here are some words to get you thinking:

Joy - Serve - Contentment - Connect - Detach - Purpose - Listen - Pray - Integrity - Still - Breath - Persevere - Advance - Care - Aware - Release - forgive - Dare - Bold - Focus - Gratitude - Forgiveness - Hope - Intentional - Authentic

I hope you will give this a try. It’s not necessarily easy to stay focused on your word for an entire year, but hopefully you will see small successes in becoming the person you want to be, and that God wants you to be.

Picking a word and doing something, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction and that one step could lead to the next step.

Don’t get discouraged if you lose focus from time to time. Any change you make with your One Word in mind is significant.
What do you think? Do you think picking a word for the year might help motivate you? Do you have a word that you want to strive for this year? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Maybe you will inspire someone else.

Finding more meaning in your life is not only possible, but it can also be done in simple, inspiring ways. Click here to gain unexpected inspiration with 5 simple ways to find meaning in your life! 

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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3 comments on “What's Your One Word for the New Year?”

  1. My 2021 word was ‘stretch’. I tried to push past my limits in many things, caring, tolerance, forgiveness, confidence, courage, positivity, relationships, and even things like exercise, and hobbies like playing the piano, reading, and painting.

    1. Celeste, We thank you for your kind words and will pass them along to Dawson! Peace is a beautiful word for 2020. May you have a blessed year full of hope and peace!

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