How does one choose one word to focus on for each year? Many years ago, a friend turned me on to the concept of choosing One Word rather than setting New Year’s resolutions. 

Why bring this up right now? Thanksgiving is barely in our rearview mirror and Christmas looms ever larger in our windshield. 

And then there’s next year. I know, some are thinking, “Just let me get through Christmas, then I’ll consider next year.”

I get it. I do. 

Is it terrible to begin thinking about what will guide our 2023? For years, I’ve been a “choose one word” gal. Now is a good time to think about this because we still have a few weeks before Christmas, and hopefully, the crazy hasn’t dictated our every minute yet.

I’ve begun praying about my One Word for next year. Some years, God reveals it in October. Other years (ahem, 2022), He didn’t show me my word until January 1st.

6 Inspiring Ways to Choose One Word—I’ve been praying about what my One Word will be for next year #tellhisstory #intentional #oneword Click To Tweet

People have various ways they land on their one word. Here are a few ideas to begin preparing our hearts to choose one word for 2023. 

Image of a bracelet with the word, "Enough" a word the author chose for one year

How to choose one word for the coming year

One thing I do is begin praying in September for my next word. 

Ask questions

Here are questions I ask to help narrow in on my next word:

  • I consider my current word and the lessons God’s been teaching me. Is there a similar word that seems to go in the direction God’s already showing me?
  • What have I struggled with over recent months? Last year, I dealt with a lot of fear based on things going on in my life. As I prayed, God brought words and concepts to mind. What I landed on was, “Cling.” As in, Cling to Jesus. This has been my visual and my focus through this year. 
  • How do I want to grow character-wise? Having hope? Focus? Joy?

Observe

Look for words that make continued appearances in our Bible reading, conversations, and in situations we face. If a word shows up unexpectedly a few times, start a list of possibilities for next year’s One Word focus.

Consider

What others do to choose one word for the year

Lisa at Lisa Notes has three great suggestions for honing in on your one word:

Listen—to songs, Scriptures, and messages that keep cropping up in our lives

Abbreviate—Narrow our focus to one main word or concept that fits with this season in our lives

Purpose—Decide why we want to choose one word. 

Read her great post (linked above) to go more in-depth on these three steps.

Another helpful post is found at Mountain Modern Life.

Some people contemplate changes they want to make in their lives and choose one word that gives them focus toward that end. 

Others consider goals they desire to meet and decide on a word that moves them toward those goals. 

I want to be directed by God in the selection of my One Word. He knows what my next year holds. He’s aware of the coming struggles, changes, sorrows, and joys I’ll face. And, He knows better than I what I’ll need to walk through them. I lean on Him for direction as I choose one word.

6 Inspiring Ways to Choose One Word—He knows the struggles, changes, sorrows, and joys I’ll face. And, He knows better than I what I’ll need to walk through them #tellhisstory #oneword #trustgod Click To Tweet
Image of a journal entry that shows how the author studies and focuses on her one word for the year

Ways to be intentional about living in our One Word

Once we have chosen our One Word, what should we do with it? 

My initial quiet times in the new year are focused on helping me understand my one word in various contexts. In my One Word Journal, I write:

  • definitions of the word
  • List synonyms
  • List antonyms
  • Bible verses that use this word in the ways I feel God is showing me to focus on. 
  • I pray, asking God for my key verse/passage for the year. And I study that verse or passage in-depth.
  • I journal about why I think this word is the one for me for that year.

I create a visual to help me remember what God is teaching me. Some years, I’ve purchased a bracelet with my one word on it. Most years, I find a pretty photograph and add my key Bible verse to it. Then I frame it and keep it on my desk as a reminder.

Throughout the year, I journal about what God teaches me regarding my One Word. It’s always interesting to look back and re-read what God has shown me through the year.

Image of rocks with words on them—a visual for options when we choose one word for the year

CONCLUSION:

To say I love choosing one word and focusing on it for the year is an understatement. This discipline has opened my heart to the Lord in ways I never expected. Though choosing One Word takes time and intentional effort, this practice has brought me to a more honest place with my Father. And that’s where I need to be. 

What about you? How do you prepare for the beginning of a new year? If you are a One Word person, do you know (and are you willing to share) your 2023 One Word?

*****Next week, we’ll meet back here for the first post of December. 😊

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