Choosing One Word for the Year: Does it Work?

As for many people, new year resolutions do not work for me. Not only do I flub up in the first two weeks, but it seems to set me on a course of defeat as I stumble with goals for the rest of the year.  

In 2013, the One Word phenomenon happened, and everyone was choosing their “one word” for the year to live by and posting it all over social media. Some were the standard type words like patience, love, adventure, etc. but some were very thoughtful and interesting.

The latest self-help trends are not something I tend to follow, but this One Word activity seemed to have some merit. The exercise that was deemed to be most helpful was from, which still offers the free printable I used in 2013: a 3-step action plan that helps you to find the one word that will change your life, one that provides focus and discipline to accomplish great things in your life.  

I have been choosing one word to live through now for about seven years. Some years it worked well if I kept that word in areas where I’d see it often to remind me to concentrate on those characteristics of which I wanted to be more attuned. Other years, like this past year, I prepared my one word, only to be sidetracked (more like side-whacked) and neglecting it by June. However, it was all redeemed as I planned for 2020 because the reflection of my one word of 2019 was how the one word for 2020 came to be: Rebuild

Last year was a challenging year. My 90-year old mother came to live with us in June after a fall in her kitchen left her with severe back pain for a month, (thankfully no broken bones!) followed by two scares of stroke (which may have been from dehydration) and a 3-month period of rehab to build strength and balance. After that, we suggested that it was finally time for her to move in with us permanently. However, the transition continues to be trying as the full spectrum of personalities in the house cause stress and frustration more than rewards. Relationships are strained, and homeschooling has suffered.  

Ironically, my word for 2019 was Dwell.  My positive outlook at the start of the year was very different at the end of the year. The definition of  Dwell (remain for a time, to live, to exist; keep attention directed toward) seemed to be a goal where I could focus on “where I dwell, how I dwell and why I well that can bring glory to God” (as I wrote in my journal). Instead, it appeared that I failed miserably. Not only did our home not feel Christ-centered, but the laidback atmosphere instead became tense, and family disagreements became more frequent.  

Along with staying more Christ-centered and in Bible study, I am also determined to stay focused without getting off track as I did in 2019. In her devotional “Unshakeable,” Christine Caine says on January 1: “God wants us to be diligent in keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus – laser-focused. He wants us to stay the course, and where we focus is where we’ll go.” If I stay focused ahead on rebuilding – then that is the course I want to stay on.  

Do One Word goals work?  I believe they do, but only with a mindset of meeting that goal with the help of the Lord.  It is only with His intervention that we will be moved in the direction where He wants us.  

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: