A focus word. . .a theme word. . .a guiding word?

Only one word. . .for a whole year?


Being intentional about just one word featured on HeartWingsBlog.com

As an alternative to the ubiquitous New Year’s Resolutions many have accepted the challenge to select just one specific word and make it their focus for the entire year.

Why should anyone try this alternative?  According to the writers of the book (and website) My One Word, Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen:

“My One Word” is . . . simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.”

Or from Alece Ronzino, the founder of OneWord365, here is another perspective:

“Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Scrap that long list of goals you won’t remember a few weeks from now anyway!

Choose just one word.

One word you can focus on every day, all year long… One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.

It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps.

Discover the big impact one word can make.

Certainly, there are many ways to select your particular word of the year, but the first step is to pray for God’s guidance and listen to what He suggests.  This is a process of prayer and listening.

I’ve been blessed by the one word process for the past few years and it’s been a life-changer for me. To start the annual process, I keep a running list of words that come to mind and pray over each one. The elimination process is fairly simple as I intentionally pray through each word.  I’ve discovered that it is best not to rush this initial process.  I’ve tried to give myself the month of December to narrow it down.

Once the specific word has been decided for the year, it’s time to find Bible verses that contain and correlate to this word. It is important to search for several definitions of this word, too. Be sure to create daily visual reminders of this word (and verses).  Other visual reminders could include engraving it onto a piece of jewelry to wear daily, 3×5 note cards, as a desktop or phone wallpaper, hand-crafted signs, sticky notes posted strategically, coloring pages, daily journal prompts, etc.  There are unlimited ways to keep your word front and center.

Hebrews 12:1 focusing on just one word featured on HeartWingsBlog.comFor example, in 2016 my word was PERSEVERE and my main verse was Hebrews 12:1. My other focus verses included Romans 5:3, 1 Corinthians 13:7Hebrews 10:36.  Whenever I saw or heard the word PERSEVERE, I was immediately reminded that God was allowing it to become an integral part of my character.

The authors of MyOneWord  suggest this process:


The first step is to simply take some time and decide what kind of person you want to be at the end of this year. This goes beyond simply being healthier and wealthier, but it must drive deep into your soul. What about the condition of your heart? What about the person that God Himself has created you to be?


Get a picture of that person and then simply identify their major characteristics. Is that person gentle? Is that person generous? What are the qualities of the person you want to become?

Step 3:   PICK A WORD

Once you have a list of the characteristics, simply pick a word. There might be fifteen things that you want to change, but you must resist the temptation to promise you will do them all. Instead, simply commit to ONE WORD.”


I encourage you to consider trying this one word approach for 2018.  Who knows what positive things could come from it?!?!  Please check back here in January, I’ll share my word and verse and look forward to seeing yours, too!

For further ideas and suggestions about the one-word process consider checking out the sites listed above!

Will you decide to skip the resolutions and go for just one word in 2018?  If so, what might be your word? Please share in the comments, I promise to follow up with you!

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Jennifer Bunderle

Jennifer has spent the most recent five years living/serving in the coastal and northern sierra regions of Ecuador. Looongtime wife of Brad, fondly referred to as “mominator” by her two awesome now-adult-kidlets, Heather & Evan and new-daughter-in-love, Ann. Companion and therapy dog assistant to her beloved Bichon Frise, Coquette. AKA teacher, writer, reviewer of Christian lit and fitful blogger. Passion project = Carpe Diem (make the most of your day. . .every day!). Life verse = Phil. 4:13 – I KNOW I can do all things through Christ (undoubtedly He empowers my Carpe Diem) because HE is my strength/my all-in-all.

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