One Word for 2019: Why I'm still sold on choosing one word for your year

If you’ve been reading here for a while, the concept of choosing one word to focus on for the next year is not new to you. If you’re new around here, you may need a little explanation. The concept is simple. Skip the resolutions set on December 31st and that are forgotten by Valentines Day. Instead, trade them for one word to focus on for your year.


My own one word journey

I bet you’re wondering how I stumbled across this concept. Funny story. I was asked to speak on a new way to look at New Year’s resolutions one year. The only problem? I did not have any idea what a new way would be.


Until I stumbled across this recently published book co-written by a pastor and a speaker/life coach. In the book, the authors talked about the frustration so many of us feel year after year. We set our resolutions. We’re going to lose 50 pounds, go to the gym 4 times a week, be more compassionate, and watch less TV. And resolutions work for a while.


Until we forget about our resolutions. We lose track. Or motivation. Or the will to live (I’m a little dramatic).

Because all this had been true in my life, I was all in.

I read the book from cover to cover and their solution was setting an intention by choosing one word that would be a theme for my year.

Getting started with one word


I started slow. And to be honest, it took me a while to come up with my first one word. I finally settled on ENOUGH.

ENOUGH. Because God is enough.

ENOUGH. Because in Christ, I am enough.

ENOUGH. Because I have enough with everything God provides.

The first year was a success! I checked in on my word monthly. I thought about things that would help me learn and live out how God is enough. And in the end, it helped me live with purpose and meaning in the everyday rhythms of my life. I was sold.

True confession. Choosing my word every year is a challenge. I mean, it’s not a word for a week, but for 365 days. And some us, like to get it just right.

Since that first ENOUGH year, I’ve chosen words that have been meaningful and impactful and other words that got lost with my resolutions from the last time I played with those. SAVOR. OPENHEARTED. WOVEN. The point isn’t that we execute perfectly, but that we create an intentional space for God to work as we choose to live with intention.

So how do you get started?

Start with prayer

The advice from the book was to start with prayer. And on that first one word year, I started with prayer. Prayer because we invite God into the process. Prayer because we want to be led by the Spirit. Prayer because it’s less about the word you choose than about allowing God to speak through your word.

So we pray. We pray for God’s wisdom. We pray for a word to come to mind. We pray for what the word that comes to mind can mean in our everyday lives.

Review your 2018


One of the best things that have helped me is to press pause and review the last year.

  • What did I love about last year?

  • What would I change about the last year?

  • What do I want more of in the next year?

Answering these simple questions may help you pinpoint the word God is leading you to.

Envision 2019

One last thing. Envisioning who you want to be and become can help. I encourage my coaching clients to visually picture what their life will be like. You can do this by drawing a picture (try it - it’s fun) or using pictures from magazines to create a vision board. And for those of us who are linear thinkers, you can make a list. What do you want to do? How do you want to feel? Who do you want to be?

Here’s a word of warning. Choosing your word for the year is not an equation. If you pray + review 2018 + envision 2019, it will not necessarily mean you find the perfect word. But trusting the process and being intentional with your transition from last year to next can help you connect with God and be brave with 2019.

Struggling with how to get started with your word for 2019? Not to worry. I’ve got you covered with my Choosing Your Word Coaching Guide.

Hey friends! Do you choose a word each year? I’d love to hear your word for 2019 when you get there!