One Word for One Year for a Transformed Forever

Do you get overwhelmed with the idea of new year resolutions and trying to follow through? Here's a little activity that packs a big punch making it worthy for a beginning-of-a-new-year kind of venture, but one that is also so user-friendly and unassuming that it's easy to continue to do it, and it is fun to tell others about it as well. This 3-step process if super easy and super meaningful. It will impact your life in new and different ways. Bring focus and intention to your life today!

In just a few days, the new year will be upon us.

While I confess that there is a {teensy, little} part of me that thrills over the fresh beginning, the opportunity for imaginative goal-setting and the possibility for ambitious planning — there is a much bigger fraction of my soul that loathes it.

Don’t get me wrong… I love a good genesis, a rebirth, a new start.

But a WHOLE NEW YEAR?? It’s just too much! Give me a “Monday” or a “tomorrow” — those are manageable starting points. The dawning of a new year is too grandiose and glorious, too inspiring and impressive.

Frankly, it is Too. Much. Pressure.

And yet…

I do hate to welcome a new year with no direction, no focus, no aim, no intention.

So what’s a person to do?

My answer? A little activity that packs a big punch making it worthy for a beginning-of-a-new-year kind of venture, but one that is also so user-friendly and unassuming that I not only continue to do it, but I love to tell others about it as well. I call it:

One Word for One Year for a Transformed Forever

Step 1: Buy a journal. I fork over fifty cents to buy one of these *:

Step 1: Buy a  {cheap} journal

* I suggest that you buy a cheap journal because if you’re anything like me, you won’t want to sully up an expensive leathery or frilly one. Plus, the fifty-cent notebook bears coffee stains and toddler scribbles so much better.

Step 2: Pick a word. I {prayerfully} select one word on which to focus for the entire year. Two years ago, my word was “tongue.” This past year, my word was “humility.” This year, my word will be “discipline.” ** I write the word on the cover of the fifty-cent journal like so:

Step 2: {Prayerfully} Pick a Word

** The possibilities are endless, but here are a few other words to get you thinking: joy, peace, prayer, love, patience, generosity, discernment, wisdom, gentleness, faith, trust, simplicity…

Step 3: Collate your findings. I pray often***, asking God to show me what He has to teach me about the word in my life, and then I collect quotes, Bible verses, sermon notes, conversation tidbits, impressions, etc. by jotting them down in my journal, one thought to a page, like this:

Step 3: Collate your Findings

*** I almost said that I pray “every day.” While that is a good goal, don’t set yourself up for failure by using such intense internal coercion. Instead, just vow to stay mindful of God’s whisperings on the topic as you read scripture, talk with friends & family, listen to sermons, etc.

That’s it.

This process has been super-easy, completely uncomplicated, and crazy-simple but also superbly significant, eloquently meaningful and life-impacting.

This is a good place to mention that this idea isn’t mine.  It has been around for a while; this is just how I have chosen to adapt it to work for my life.

If you choose to give it a whirl, I’d love to hear how it goes for you! Or maybe you do something similar?  If yes, please share your experience!

Blessings to each of you for beautiful new beginnings this week,


What simple ideas do you have for bringing focus and intention to the new year?

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  1. I love this idea! My word for this year is going to be discipline too. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for all of us this year!

    1. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to the END of the year already… the part AFTER God has refined me in this area. Haha! 🙂

  2. I agree amazing idea. And I think I shall use the same word too. It is one God has been bring up a lot lately.

    1. Samantha… I don’t really WANT my word, haha! But I will be obedient and focus on it anyway! 🙂

  3. Love the journaling idea! I have been picking one word for my year for a couple of years now, but never thought about taking it further with the Scripture reading, etc.

    1. Yay, Tami! Be sure to share your word choice once you’ve selected it. I love to see the words God lays on everyone’s hearts!

  4. I super love this idea! My word is going to be “patience”. I feel that is something I really need to concentrate on. I’m a new mommy to an almost 10 month old and I thought I was a patient person. Ha! Sure found out the opposite. So I will be concentrating on patience this year.

    1. Yeah… I thought I was patient, too… until I had kids! God really knows how to hone us, doesn’t He?? I think you’ll find that by year’s end, you’ll grow exponentially in patience, Salina… and THAT is awesome!

  5. I’ve done and blogged about this for many years – it’s a great idea and really does work! I’m still mulling over my list for 2014. There’s always a list and one never fails to stand out! 🙂

    1. That’s awesome, Lisa! What’s the address of your blog? I’d love to read about your process!

  6. Wow! This is really something that I think I can do LOL! This spoke straight to my heart! I’m going with “discipline”…Thank you for posting this!

    1. Heather… if *I* can do it, then trust me… YOU can do it! I’m not really all that excited about what God has to teach me about discipline, though… can I just be HONEST about that?? Hahaha!

  7. Great ideas here. My word for 2014 is Dream. Looking forward to the dreams God reveals and performs in my life.

    1. Good word! I haven’t seen that come through on any discussion yet. I just love how God meets each and every one of us individually and speaks exactly to where we need His touch.

  8. I love this idea! I find it wonderful that just last week God laid the word “INTENTIONAL” on my heart! Now after reading your post, I think I understand why!!! I can’t wait to start!

  9. I love this idea!!! My word is respect! I think I will focus on a new area each month… Husband, body, others, children, etc…. Thank you!!

  10. Have you read the book, My One Word by Mike Ashcraft? He is the pastor of the church I attend and we have been doing this for years!

    1. No, Laurie… but at your suggestion I just went to Amazon to check it out. It looks AMAZING! I’m absolutely going to pick that up for a read this year. Thanks!

  11. This past Summer my husband had an accident. I served him with all I could (through The Lord), and I have never felt more peace and purpose. However, as he has gotten better and life has moved on…my servant’s heart has honestly diminished. I find myself frustrated, more often than not, to just be patient and serve. We have three boys and one on the way. I want them to see a servant’s heart in me, so my word will be service!

    1. Love your word, Jennifer! I’m sorry about your husband’s accident, but isn’t it amazing what good things we can learn even through tough times? I’m sure God will help you recall your amazing heart of service as you ponder the word this year.

  12. I started with the “one year” idea before I even knew it was trendy, mostly just noticing patterns of themes God seemed to be teaching me each year, reflected in my blogging. A few years ago, I stumbled across a bunch of articles like this and became more intentional in themed, year-long word pursuits. I’m still praying about my word for next year, but think God gave me the direction today.

  13. Love this idea and am totally jumping in! I have a few in mind, not sure yet what I am going with. Discipline, Faith, Patience or Grace. Leaning towards discipline as it has popped up in various conversations, scripture, and readings lately. A lot. Way too often to be a coincidence.

  14. My word is “focus” – I plan to add focus to all parts of my life. Thank you for this fantastic idea.

  15. I have found that for the last several years, I have become apathetic about my church attendance, ministry participation and my overall time with God. I know God is speaking to me regarding my “lukewarm” relationship with Him and wants me to go “all in” with Him. All or nothing at all! My word for this year is “COMMITMENT”. God spoke to me so loudly when I was cruising through the Psalms and lighted on this verse:
    “Commit your way to the Lord,
    Trust also in Him,
    And He shall bring it to pass.”
    Psalm 37:5
    Thanks for the great idea that is more about focus than activity. 🙂

    1. Great word, Jessica! And what a wonderful verse with which to begin your journal (if, indeed, you choose to do a journal!)

  16. I have read the Bible through many times ( which is a good thing to do), but it is too much to digest. This idea you have shared has had a major impact on my spiritual growth, and for that, I am so thankful. Thank you for sharing.

  17. The word “Be” came to my heart as I was sitting here after reading your suggestion. I believe that is what my focus will be on. “Be”

  18. I too have used this method for the past few years. 2015 was a very bumpy year for me both physically and spiritually. After Few weeks of prayer my word I have chosen for this year is hope. I think it will help heal some of the residual wounds of 2015.


  19. I enjoy the process and look forward to my word each year, though it is daunting too. Ha! I’ve done diligence and trust the past two years. This year is confidence.

  20. I found this idea in a short devotional I had downloaded, then my friend link this site to me in Facebook. I have been challenge in every area in 2015, but have come closer to God through it all. My one word is going to be “Renew”. Psalms 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

    Beth Ann

  21. I first got the idea for one word from a devotion on you version. I was intrigued by the thought and liked the idea of using one word as a New Years resolution. I prayed and gave much thought to what my word would be. The word joy kept showing up everywhere. I thought it cannot be joy. That is too easy but that is what I believe God is showing me. I even walked into a thrift store and saw a plate with the word joy stamped in gold! So as I contemplate my word I am sure there is much to be revealed in this little three letter word. My prayer is I will feel plenty of joy as I head through 2016!

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