4 Tips for Choosing the Right One Word for Your Life
New year, new start, right? Do you have new year’s resolutions or did you stop that madness years ago? There was a time I had a list of things I intended to change every new year. I thought long and hard about what things I wanted to change about myself. The standards made the list every year; lose weight, exercise, spend more time relaxing instead of working to the point of exhaustion, eat healthy, yada, yada, yada. I started off so good, choosing the right meals to eat, losing a couple of pounds, joining a gym. You get the idea. Then it’s February and my list has gotten lost in the life shuffle.
Last year, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about their one word for the year. She explained the trouble with resolutions that I understood all too well. Resolutions tend to fall by the wayside, but one word chosen strategically and prayerfully had changed the trajectory of her life in years past. Really?! I was jumping for joy on the inside. I thought, “I want the trajectory of my life to change!” I set out on a plight to choose my one word.
I had trouble figuring out the best one for me. After days of thought and prayer, I realized what I needed more of and went with that one. Last year I chose “focus” as my one word. I knew I needed more of that in my life so that one was it. I typed up my word on a piece of paper and hung it on my office wall. I leaned back in my chair with my arms folded behind my head and waited for the magic to happen. You can probably guess what happened next. Yep, you got it. Nothing.
I’ve determined the reason my chosen word didn’t truly change the trajectory of my life is all because of my mindset. You see, just having one word for the year doesn’t magically change my life. I have to live it, breathe it, be it, know it, and pray it. Here’s the deal, a word is just a word unless there is meaning for you behind it. Another friend of mine let me know about a great website, My One Word. I used it to help come up with key questions I asked myself and how I chose my one word differently for 2018.
1. What is God calling me to do or feel differently about?
I have found resolutions don’t work because I am focusing on a negative behavior or issue that I want to change or improve. While that is not all bad in and of itself, focusing on negative instead of positive sets us up for failure. Once we relapse, we feel guilty and immediately throw our hands up in the air and just give up. By asking “What is God calling me to do or feel differently about?” I can prayerfully find how God wants me to be instead of how I want me to be. For example, through prayer, I could readily see God wants me to know I am worthy of love despite my past circumstances. At the same time, He wants me to show His love to others despite their past.
2. What are the characteristics of what God is calling me to do or feel differently about?
Once I have determined what God is calling me to do or feel differently about, now I need to map out what that looks like. In the example above, I used Scripture to map out what God’s love for me looked like. I use a mind map quite a bit, so this is the method I chose to record the characteristics of God’s love for me despite my past. You can write them in your prayer journal or make a list. Whatever works best for you.
3. Choose your one word to focus on for the year.
You have your list or mind map of the one thing God is calling you to do or feel differently about, now go through your list and pray about the one word to focus on for the year. Take the word and post it everywhere you can. Make a cellphone lock screen, write in on a post-it note and put it on your bathroom mirror, tape a note to your steering wheel. Put it everywhere you can so you see it all the time.
4. Live out your one word.
When I say live it out, I mean incorporate it into your everyday life. Pray over it each day, include it in a daily mantra to say out loud to yourself, look up Scripture and memorize it, put it into practice in your daily interactions. By living, breathing, being, knowing, and praying your one word, it will be ingrained in you in no time.
Gong through these steps helped me chose “grace” as my one word for 2018. Because of the patterns of sin, I have repeated in my life because I am an adult child of an alcoholic, God wants me to know I am loved despite my past. Over the past two years, God has worked hard in my life to help me overcome my past, find serenity in my present, and He will transform my future as a result. I no longer fall back into my patterns of codependency, control, and excessive shopping and stay there because my empty spaces are being met by a God who loves me. This year I will live, breath, be, know, and pray my one word—GRACE.
I have Ephesians 1:7 as a reminder of God’s love for me despite my past:
“In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”
Talk it over!
After going through these steps, what is your one word? I’d love to hear from you! Do me a favor and send me a quick email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
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