The New Year is upon us, and many of us are busy making resolutions, creating goals and plans, and focusing on making this year better than the last.
WHY RESOLUTIONS DON'T WORK.
I used to make resolutions all the time. The most frequent were to lose "x" amount of weight in the year. Another was that "I must write in my journal every day." How about, "be kind", "read the Bible more", or "exercise every day"? Have you ever made those types of resolutions?
Resolutions are well-meaning, but they rarely last. To make anything last, there must be a change of heart, not just a change of season.
Most resolutions don't last because we make them a "to-do". We make them unrealistic. We make them unmanageable. Making resolutions is just something you do before January 1 of the New Year. But if the heart is not changed, the resolution will not last.
I would make these resolutions only to break the diet once the Super Bowl came, stop the exercise because the January days are too cold to be outside, and back away from reading the Word every day because that extra five minutes in the morning was too tempting to ignore.
There was never a change of heart.
I don't make resolutions any longer because I never kept them, my heart was never in them, and I would feel like a failure three weeks into the New Year. Who wants to feel like a failure at the start of the New Year?
While I don't make resolutions, I do set some goals for myself that I desire to accomplish during the year. For example, instead of "losing x amount of weight" or "exercising more", my heart's desire to be healthier in my mind, body, and spirit and I set goals to accomplish that.
Goals are wonderful. They give us a vision. Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint". Goals help me keep a vision.
But the one thing that has revolutionized my New Year is ONE WORD.
WHAT IS ONE WORD?
The idea behind One Word is to pick one word a year that you can focus on throughout the year. I first heard about One Word from my childhood friend Alece. She is the founder of ONE WORD 365.
Their slogan is: "CHOOSE JUST ONE WORD. GO WHERE IT TAKES YOU. BE WHO IT MAKES YOU." You can visit the site at HERE. One Word says,
"Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Scrap that long list of goals you won’t remember a few weeks from now anyway! Choose just one word. One word you can focus on every day, all year long… One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps." - from the website ONE WORD 365
I began this practice a few years ago, and you guys, I have seen God move! Last year my word was PERFECT, and the Scripture I used as my cornerstone was Matthew 5:48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." I prayed that The Lord would cause anything that isn't Him to depart from my life. I prayed that He would make my way perfect.
My friends, God moved in ways I never expected. Some of the ways were extraordinarily painful as He removed anything that was not HIM. Choices I made that weren't His will were gone in the blink of an eye as He molded me and made me into His image. Some of the ways He moved were amazing and miraculous. I got through it all, and I continue to be perfected in Him.
Choosing ONE WORD has focused me, and changed me more than any resolution ever did. I encourage you to pick your word today. It is never too late to start.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR WORD
1. PRAY - I pray that God would speak to my heart a word that He wants me to follow. Prayer is the key to choosing the right word.
2. OPEN EARS. OPEN EYES. Keep your ears and eyes open for the word. This past December, I was watching a documentary on Netflix, and one of the people being interviewed said, "I would hate to waste my life using my gifts and talents for a purpose God never ordained." BAM! There was my word for the year . . . PURPOSE.
PURPOSE resonated in my spirit and I wasn't able to shake it. God can speak to you through anyone and anything . . . even Netflix! So keep your heart, eyes, and ears open for God to reveal your word.
3. BRAINSTORM. Set your timer to one minute, use the workbook I attached to this post below, and just write out words that come to you. After the minute is up, re-read the words. Do any stand out to you or touch your heart?
4. SCRIPTURE. Is there a verse you can't shake? Perhaps, like my 2016, God has given you a verse to pick your word from. I chose PERFECT in 2016 from Matthew 5:48. What verse has been the verse of the year for you? Pick a word from that.
5. PRAY AGAIN. You've chosen your word. Now, pray over it. Ask the Lord to stir that word in your heart and soul. Ask Him to make it clear how He wants to change you with that word. Ask Him to open your eyes to experiences where you can grow from your word.
KEEP FOCUSED ALL YEAR
It is so important to see God moving in your one word throughout the year. It is so important to stay focused on your word. Here are some things that you can do to help you keep focused all year on my ONE WORD.
- Write the word on the printable I included in the workbook below, and attach it to your fridge.
- Write the word in the front cover of your journal so that it is constantly with you.
- Write out every Scripture you can find relating to your word and keep that in your journal as well.
- Each week, notice how the Lord directed you through your word.
- Bookmark, or pin, any blog post or Bible Study that relates to your word.
I pray that this year, God moves mightily in your life through your ONE WORD. I pray that He makes Himself crystal clear through the steps of choosing your word, living your word, and growing from your word.
You have the potential to change your life this year through ONE WORD. Just ONE WORD to becoming who God desires you to be.
To help you on your journey to ONE WORD, click below for a printable workbook to help you discover and stay focused on your word.