Choosing Your Word for 2017 - Part 1

Have you picked your word for 2017 yet?  Do you even know what I'm talking about?  I had no idea what this meant until....

Until one of my adult Sunday school classes asked me to teach their class late one December.  They suggested I focus on the topic of a new way of looking at New Year's Resolutions.  I chuckled and quite possibly rolled my eyes.  Is there a new way to look at resolutions? 


I don't know about you, but my past experience with resolutions was not all that successful.  I would set a resolution.  And then promptly forget about it by the end of January.  Sound familiar?  

Enter in that one year.  The year my dad suggested I teach about some philosopher he loved.  That one year when I shook my head and told my dad that wouldn't cut it for a church Sunday school class.  That one year when I downloaded a little book called My One Word.  That one year when being intentional about the upcoming year moved from theory to practice. 

The book, My One Word, lays it all out.  Down with resolutions.  Up with being intentional about one area of focus for your upcoming year.  Down with giving up by the end of January.  Up with being conscious of your word all year long.  

What is this one word all about, you may be asking?  Since trying it at least 6 years ago, I haven't looked back.  You see, the practice of choosing one word I want to instill in my life in the coming year has changed the way I do my life.  It's changed my outlook.  It's help me be intentional about learning something new or embracing something different.  And that has made all the difference in my life.  And I believe it can make a difference in yours. 


So, how do you get started?  After all, there are a lot of words out there and not all of you are a lover of words like us writer types.  

Brainstorm a list

My first suggestion is to set aside some time.  Depending on the speed of thought, this could take 20 minutes or it could take a couple of hours.  Feel free to spread this over several days.  But sit down and write out a list of the things you would like to see in your life in 2017.  

Love.  Grace. Prayer. Friendship. Worship. Courage. Growth.  Whatever it is, write it down.  A couple things that have helped my clients. 

  1. Do a review of 2016.  What did you love about 2016 and what did you want more of?  I do this with my coaching groups and have them cut out pictures and words in magazines and make them a collage.  I know what you're thinking - they hated the idea at first too.  But now, my regulars, they love it!  Trust the process - all I'm saying. 
  2. Imagine what your best life looks like.  Draw a picture of your best life in 2017. (Yes, all my clients groan when I make them draw).  But drawing uses a different part of our brain and helps us visualize what we hope to see in our lives.  So get out the crayons and draw a picture.  I promise I won't make you show the finished product to anyone. 

Use Some Tools

There's a lot of great tools for coming up with your word.  Here are a few ideas for some inspiration...

  1. Go to the My One Word website.  In addition to some step-by-step tips, they have some great suggestions for words on the site and other great resources for living an intentional life in the year to come. 
  2. Your Bible concordance (you know that thing in the back) is a great resource.  Are you wanting to choose a word straight from Scripture? Take 30 minutes and peruse your concordance and see if any word pops right off the page at you. 
  3. Pinterest.  I know, if you're anything like me, you have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with the Pinterest.  So many good ideas and articles that you'll never read or act on!  But Pinterest has a search category for words and inspirational thoughts.  Try searching through their selection to see if anything works for you. 


I probably should have put this one first.  Feel free to rearrange my tips in any order you see fit. From my own experience, I typically find my words through a combination of praying, getting intentional about my upcoming year, and searching tools to remind me of all the great options for words out there. 

Stick with it!  I know the process can be frustrating.  But I've seen for myself the results and love them so much I've made choosing my word a bit of a ritual each year.  

Stay tuned for part 2 where we'll discuss now that you picked your word, what do you even do with it?  More tips and tricks for keeping your word front & center in 2017. 

I don't have mine picked out yet, but would love to hear your word when you do!  Simply comment here - I'd love to be praying for you as you live out your word in 2017!