We’ve all done it. At one time or another, usually around this time of year, we decide to change some things in our life. And we’re serious about it. So serious that we commit it to paper. We make lists or even step-by-step plans. We publicly share it with others. We make an earnest commitment to change and truly believe we will be victorious.
We have a name for this phenomenon. It’s called the New Year’s Resolution. We resolve to make vital changes we think will enhance our life.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 45% of us play the New Year’s Resolution game. But after only one month, 25% of us drop out. The drop-out rate increases as the months slip by. In fact, they go on to suggest that only 8% of us are successful in keeping our resolutions.
That’s millions of New Year’s Resolution drop-outs! And …. I am one of them.
So what happens? Why don’t resolutions work? We start out fully committed, resolute, and all-in. We pledge that this is the year we are going to be successful.
But something goes wrong between our pledge and our performance.
And right around late February, possibly early March, our New Year’s Resolution is nothing but an unspoken thing of the past. Some of the top reasons resolutions aren’t successful are that they are too big in scope, too vague in detail, or we just have too many of them.
I read a study on YouVersion Bible App called One Word That Will Change Your Life (derived from a book of the same name). And it delivered! It provided a game changing alternative to resolutions. You simply select one word that you want to focus on for the entire year.
Not a phrase, not a statement – one word.
When you begin to do the same old thing you used to, the thing you want to change, your One Word will step into the limelight. Reminding you of your commitment to do things differently.
So how do you get your word?
Start by thinking and praying about your One Word. It may take a while so don’t be discouraged. Last year I settled on my One Word after three weeks of prayer and wrestling! It will come to you. And then it will come to you all year long.
Your One Word can be anything. It might be an area you feel God is calling you to grow in. It might be a fruit of the spirit or a character trait you’d like to improve upon. It could even be an attribute you admire in Jesus or another follower.
Words are powerful. Proverbs 18:21a tells us they are “life and death” powerful. Our words can elevate or deflate others. Likewise, the words we speak to ourselves have power to impact our hearts and thus our actions.
Last year my One Word was PATIENCE. Something I’m typically in very short supply of!
Let me share what this past year and my first One Word experience taught me:
My triggers: I know exactly what triggers my impatience. Slow drivers, slow people, and slow processes. Prior to having my One Word, I thought impatience was just who I was. But the reality is my impatience shows up when my fast pace is slowed down by someone else.
Impatience with myself: This habit of impatience would also show up when I felt like I didn’t perform as well as I think I could or should have. I wasn’t tapping into the love and grace God wanted to extend to me when I needed it the most.
If there is no awareness, there is no change. God used my One Word to reveal I was selfishly imposing my speed and my agenda onto those around me. My impatience was keeping me from extending love and grace towards others when things outside my control slowed me down. He made me acutely aware I was moving way too fast.
Skills needed to undo impatience in my life: I learned to turn to God in my times of impatience. And isn’t that what He really wants … for us to turn to Him for everything? Had I not been focused on my One Word, I would have missed countless opportunities to commune with God. And countless opportunities to extend love and grace to others. And bonus … I learned that even during my times of perceived failures, He is not at all impatient with me.
Now, have I mastered this? Oh, heck no! But, I know my awareness and growth in this area will continue.
Your One Word has the ability to span across every area of your life. It can impact you spiritually, financially, emotionally, relationship wise and even physically. Assigning a One Word theme for the year can speak life and newness into our hearts and mind.
I crossed over this learning into my business life as well. I’ve used it with employees and other leaders who want to develop their skills. I know this works. I promise you, this is a game changer you can use on your journey and it won’t fizzle out by March!
What do you want to change this year? What one word could be your theme for the year? Please share in the comments below. FREEBIE: For a free resource from the authors of One Word That Will Change Your Life, go to their site and you will find a free, downloadable Action Plan that you can use and share.
A Truth: “The ear tests the words it hears just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.” Job:33:1
A Song: Words By Hawk Nelson (click here to listen)
A Read: One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordan and Dan Britton
A Prayer: God, thank you for the gift of words. For the power they hold. I ask that you put one word on my heart that you want me to focus on this year. Help others reading this to pray and ponder on the word that is best for them. I ask that you use this word to work in our hearts and our lives. To build us up. To grow us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.