This year, don’t join a gym. Don’t decide to cut down on your expenses. Don’t make a long list of promises that will depress you in February. Instead, start the year by choosing a guiding word to lead your way through 2019.
We've all been there. That's why, instead of setting ourselves up for failure, it's so much more helpful to use a guiding word of the year for inspiration. Lots of people have begun this new tradition and ditched their resolutions in favor of a single word, and you can too! It's a simple process that takes a little introspection, a bit of prayer, and a pen and paper. By the end of this article, you'll have the right guiding word and a pretty printable that you can use to remind you of it. Let's get started!
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We’ve all set resolutions that were supposed to inspire us and experienced crushing defeat not too long after. In fact, 80% of us will fail to keep resolutions by February. Thank goodness someone figured this out and wrote a book about choosing a guiding word of the year, called One Word That Will Change Your Life.
“Instead of creating goals and resolutions, we found a single word that would be our driving force of the year. No goals. No resolutions. Just One Word! We simply developed a One Word theme for the year. It became a One Word vision for everything, and it changed our lives.” -Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, John Gordon
The concept has helped so many people aspire to a better life without creating impossible standards. When you find your personal word of the year, it's a powerful reminder to make better choices. And you’ll be about 80% happier come February.
How to Choose Your Guiding Word of the Year
A simple word can do what resolutions can’t. It can influence each area you’d like to make changes in without raising the bar impossibly high.
But choosing a guiding word isn’t as easy as it sounds. After all, it should be inspiring, guiding, helpful, and challenging. To take some of the pressure off, use this list of steps.
- Think about your past year. What challenges did you face? What did you learn? What mistakes did you make and what did you accomplish?
- Think about what’s coming up in the year ahead. What challenges are down the road? What are you looking forward to? How would you like to grow as a person?
- Write down a few inspirational words that come to mind when you think of your upcoming challenges, growth areas, and plans.
Define Your Spiritual Growth Goals with One Word
Most people look at the year ahead and make goals about their health, relationships, work, creative life, parenting, and more…but it gets so overwhelming. Take a minute and focus on the one area that’s more powerful than all the rest: your spiritual life.
Simply talk to God about the year ahead and ask how He’d like to grow you. If you want to make a spiritual growth list, you can, but avoid resolutions. The thoughts that God brings to mind in prayer are likely to inspire your word of the year.
By now, you should be able to choose between two or three words that you’ve thought about. Try to work with only a few options to avoid getting overwhelmed. Once you have your word of the year, you’re ready for the next steps!
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Choose an Inspiring Bible Verse
It’s really helpful to choose an inspiring Bible verse that corresponds with your personal word of the year. You can go to Bible Gateway, type your word in the search bar, and pick a verse that speaks to you. The number of results depends on how often it's found in scripture, but be patient as you sift through. You'll usually be able to find a great match or a verse that communicates the concept well even if it doesn't include your exact word.
Of course, this also works really well in reverse, by looking at some of your favorite verses and choosing the word that sums up the passage best. When your word of the year is grounded in God's word, it has an even bigger impact.
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One Word Examples
If you could really use some inspiration for choosing a guiding word and a verse, these examples might help!
- Courage – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
- Intentional – “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have learned, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.” – James 1:25 NIV
- Joy – “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:8 NIV
- Thankful – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” Hebrews 12:28 NIV
- Nurture – “Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.” Psalm144:12 NIV
- Worth – “So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31 NIV
Two Important Steps to Follow After Choosing a Guiding Word
Share it with friends
Let some of your close friends know what you’ve picked for your word of the year. Sharing it will help keep you accountable and it just might inspire them to choose their own guiding word.
Make it stand out
It’s really important that you place your word where you can see it. Subtle reminders throughout your daily life will keep it fresh as you get used to allowing your word to influence you.
Free Canva Template for Your Word of the Year
Get started on implementing your guiding word right away! This free Canva template will help you create your own cute printable featuring your guiding word and verse. If you're new to Canva, just sign up for free account to get started making your own graphics. Sign in, and make sure to follow all the steps below.
- Follow this link
- Go to File > Save A Copy
- Enter your word and verse reference in the graphic
- Download it as a PDF and print it out
- Other options: Download it as a .png or .jpg to use as your phone or computer wallpaper
The One Word That Will Change Your Life
Now that you’re an expert on choosing a guiding word, you’ve followed the process and created a graphic for yourself, you’re ready for a wonderful new year!
You’ll soon see how much easier it is to allow God to lead you through a single word than to fight to keep a resolution by your own strength. The irony is that your word could lead you to keep resolutions you didn’t even need to make.
Who knows? You might end up joining that gym anyway!
Be sure to also read our 15 Inspiring Bible Verses About Setting Goals for even more inspiration for choosing a guiding word and setting goals for 2019!
You might also want to read:
- Giving it to God: 5 Ways to Let Go and Let God
- Four Tips For Setting Spiritual Goals
- Searching for God in All the Wrong Places