Do you like the concept of choosing a single word to guide your coming year? In theory, I love the concept, but in reality, it’s never really worked well for me. Between choosing words that were ill-fitting or ill-defined to having curve balls thrown our way, my word-of-the-year track record hasn’t been too stellar!
But something happened recently that gave me a completely different approach to choosing one word for the year, an approach which might work well for you, too, if you’ve also been struggling with the one-word concept.
You see, in January of last year, I chose the word “stewardship” for 2018. I wanted to improve on my time spent in the Word and on my money-management skills, so focusing on stewardship seemed perfect.
But then life happened (doesn’t it always?), and I stopped focusing on stewardship, eventually forgetting about my word altogether. In fact, I wouldn’t even have remembered that I’d ever chosen a word last year had a friend not reminded me about it this past December! How sad is that?
As I mulled over the word I’d completely abandoned, I wondered how I could do better at using the one word concept. I thought about how stewardship was a good word choice, but also how life events had rather derailed me from focusing on it.
In fact, as I reflected over my year, I thought about how the word I should have chosen was “obedience.” The Lord asked us to take some leaps of faith in 2018, leaps that were scary but very definitely things He wanted us to do.
And suddenly, I discovered a completely different approach to choosing one word for the year: by looking back and reflecting instead of looking forward and projecting.
While I still think that choosing a guiding word at the beginning of the year can be a very good and helpful tool, choosing a concluding word once the year has played out might be just as beneficial. It may well end up that the concluding word is the same as the guiding word. Crystal Payne of Money Saving Mom does an excellent job of selecting and sticking to her one word throughout her year.
But I have a feeling that for others like me, our concluding word might not be in the same vein as our guiding word. While I do see similarities in “stewardship” and “obedience,” they definitely have their own meanings.
I still intend to choose a guiding word each year. But based on what I learned in 2018, I’ve changed my approach to selecting that guiding word. This year, my word is “faithfulness.” Jon and I anticipate many changes in 2019, specifically in regards to our startup, which we hope will eventually be able to sustain us full time. Because our year is a little nebulous, though, my goal is imply to remain faithful no matter what happens. I each and every endeavor, whether it’s spending time with the kids, growing our business, or making major life chances, I want to be all in.
To help keep my word of the year front and center, I hope to create a bookmark with “faithfulness” written on it that I can use in my Brilliant Life Planner where I’ll see it every day. This way, as I move through the year, my word will move with me and be a constant reminder!
I also fully intend on concluding word this December, too. I can’t wait to see how similar or different it will be from my guiding word of “faithfulness.”
Your turn: have you ever tried selecting a concluding word in addition to a guiding one? What are your best tips for choosing one word, whether you choose it at the beginning of the year or the end?