How To Change This Year With Just One Word


How to Change This Year with Just One Word_ 5 Tips for choosing your one word focus for the year.

Hey Friends,

I don’t know if you realize this but… words are extremely powerful.

I didn’t quite realize this myself until I discovered one of my favorite books… My One Word.  This book introduced me to the idea of choosing just one word to be the overarching theme of one whole year.

Immediately I fell in love with this idea and the sheer simplicity of making one word my theme of the year… I hopped right on board.  My one word for that year (2014) was Conquer. I wanted to conquer my fears, stretch myself in new ways, and become a whole new person by the end of that year. It was going to be an amazing year. *So I thought*

Well…. I grew a little bit that year, and it was a good year but I never really “conquered” all those things I set out to conquer. However, that didn’t make me change my mind about the “one word” idea. I’ve had a one word focus every year since… some years with varying degrees of success.

The very next year – 2015 I chose the word Joy.  Little did I know how God would use that little three letter word in my life! I was 18 years old at the time and three months into that year I went through a very tough trial. There were lots of un-answered questions, tears, and heavy days. But through that trial I experience a peace and joy that was God-given and absolutely amazing. It wasn’t the word Joy that got me through that trial – it was the God who gives peace and joy that helped me through it. But I learned some amazing things that year that I will never forget. Oh and best of all? I met Adam that very summer, just months later. ♥ Looking back it ended up being one of the most joyful years I ever experienced!

In 2016 I chose the word Pray… because I seriously struggled with prayer. I wish I could say that I was disciplined and learned how to pray for long periods of time, enjoying wonderful times of communion with the Lord. But sadly, that year I didn’t really “stick” with my word. It was a busy year – a lot happened, and I certainly learned new things about prayer. Especially since this was the year my mom and I spend many days walking, talking, and praying together. I saw answered prayers and learned to pray when making tough, life changing decisions. I only wish I had been more disciplined to learn how to enjoy daily times of prayer.

In 2017 (last year) I chose the word Faith. I was tired of being fearful about the future, and I wanted my faith to grow. I didn’t get to study out the word like I wanted to, but I can clearly see many lessons that God taught me about having faith in Him. This was the year I got engaged and got married, and there were a lot of things that we had to trust the Lord to provide – such as a house, a job, and a new car, and even details regarding wedding plans too. It’s amazing to see how God answered those prayers and how he provided all those things for us in ways we could not have imagined! Last year He did exceedingly, abundantly in our lives!

This year, I’ve chosen the word Flourish. I feel (almost) fully transitioned into this wonderful new stage in my life as a wife and home-maker. It’s so much fun and I absolutely love my new role! However, some things about our “new life” has been a bit hard. Leaving my former church being one of the hardest. I supposed I didn’t realize my roots were so deep “back home”. But I am slowly learning to love the new place where God has temporarily “planted” us. And I fully intend to grow and flourish here.

Flourish. How to change your year with just one word.

So that’s my personal journey with “my one word(s)”. It’s something I love and something God has used in my life to help me grow and change.

So how can you use one word to change your year? I’m glad you asked. 🙂 Now that I’ve been choosing a new word every year for the 5th year in a row, I’ve learned a few things along they way!

How to Change This Year with Just One Word

  1. Choose a  Word You Love

If you are going to spend a whole year focusing on one word, it needs to be a word you really like. All the words I’ve chosen in the past have had special meaning to me (and believe me, that word always becomes more special and meaningful as the year progresses!). Usually, when I find my word – it just clicks, it feels right and know I found my word!

Even if it takes you a month, don’t give up until you find a word you love. Use a dictionary, a thesaurus, or even a favorite book to find your word. I found my current word, Flourish, by reading Psalm 92!

>> >Already have a word for 2018? Tell me about it in the comments!

2. Study Your Word

Once you have your word… study it! Learn the definition, learn what it means to live. it. out. Get to know your word inside and out. Here are some simple ways to do that:

  • Copy down a dictionary definition.
  • Read a book on the subject of your word.
  • Do a Bible study on your word if it’s found in the Bible.
  • Look up other related words and definitions of your word.
  • Make a list of ways to live out your chosen word.

Study it out – get to know your word. If you do, it will be so much easier to learn how to live it out!

3. Keep It Where You Can See It

Okay, I will be the first to admit, it’s super easy to forget about your word halfway through the year – or even sooner! That’s why you need to keep your word right where you can see it. For my first word, Conquer, I cut out each letter in large pieces of paper and stapled them to the top of my bulletin board. For the word, Joy, I bought big wooden letters that spelled Joy, and I painted them to match my bedroom. Each year I’ve found a new way to display my word where I can see it. Get creative! Here are some ideas for you-

  • Buy a notebook with your word on it – journal your thoughts and the things you learn with your word.
  • Create a pretty background featuring your word. Use this background on your computer, phone, tablet, etc.
  • Buy or make a decoration featuring your word – such as wooden letters, a painted sign, or even a small framed picture.
  • Purchase a magnet with your word and add it to your refrigerator door.

Get creative – find a way to feature your word and keep it in your daily focus!

4. Let God Use Your Word

The best way to change your year with a single word, is to let God use that word to work in your life! I never would have learned much about Joy if I hadn’t let God use the circumstances in my life to show me that true joy can come only from Him.

Use a journal to record the things that you learn. You will be amazed how God can use a single word to teach you things you never imagined.

5. Read the Book

I wouldn’t recommend this book so highly if I didn’t love it so much. My One Word explains so much more than I can… and it contains tons of helpful tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your one word.

The Scripture used in this book is not KJV, and the authors hold to more contemporary Christian standards/ways of living. In spite of that, I believe you will find this book, funny, informative and extremely helpful in your own one word journey.

I purchased my copy on Amazon, where I was able to get a good price on a brand new copy. (If you haven’t already noticed, Amazon is one of my favorite places to buy new books!)

Final Thoughts

I hope this post will inspire you to choose your own one word focus for the year. It’s never too late to start! If you do choose a word for the year, I would love to hear about it! Please share in the comments or contact me via the contact page on this blog. I can’t wait to hear all about your words and how God uses them to teach you new things this year and in the years to come!

As this year goes on, I will be sharing more about my journey with the word Flourish. I’m super excited to see how God will use this word in my life this year. In the meantime, keep walking with the Lord.

See you next week!


Rebekah Joy (2)

13 thoughts on “How To Change This Year With Just One Word

  1. I actually had already chosen a “word for the year” before I read this post, and I found it fun that you had used the same word in a previous year (or at least a variant of it)- joyful. I want to be joyful in my walk with Christ, and not be discouraged. Thank you for the post! It was encouraging to read about the different words that you had picked in previous years. 🙂

    In Christ,
    Leona Ruth <3

    1. Thanks for sharing Leona! Joy was the best word I ever used – and it’s one that I still love. It’s also my middle name 🙂 I hope God teaches you much with your word this year!

  2. I’ve chosen the word “Focus” for the year – both to remind me to focus more on some things (my relationship with God, my student debt, my boys), and to let go of my focus on things that aren’t important (like finding a relationship). It’s a reminder to keep my heart and mind on the things I can change / improve / work on, and to let God do the rest.

    1. Hi Hannah, Focus is a great word!! It can be really hard to focus on the important things since we live in a world that is so full of distractions! I hope God teaches you a lot this year with your word!

  3. Hello;
    I’m new to this blog, but I find it very encouraging and fun to read! Thank you for your inspiring words.
    Is there a way to subscribe and receive emails?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Grace! Glad to have you here. You can sign up for emails at the top of my website. You should see a small header where you can enter your email address. I haven’t been able to send out any emails for a few months, but you can sign up now so you’re on the list when I can start up the emails again! 😊

  4. I think I just found my word: CONFIDENCE. Confidence in who I am, confidence in where I am, confidence in what I do, and most of all confidence in Jesus Christ! What a cool idea; thank you!

  5. I love this idea! After reading this I spent a few days praying and looking through the Bible for my “word of the year.” I decided on obedience. Obedience to me is a big thing, especially because I have done alot of displeasing things in God’s eyes. I have been slowly overcoming them this past year, but this year I really want to do what is pleasing in God’s eye, and not only that but think of what will please God. This blog has been a really big encouragement, to me in my journey. Thank you so much for spending your time making these articles and helping sisters in Christ with their journey.

    1. Hi Joy,
      Thank you for such a sweet and encouraging comment! I praise the Lord that this blog has been a help to you – I hope that will continue in the future! You picked a great word for 2018 – I hope the Lord teaches you a lot this year with your word. Obedience is something that is so vital in the Christian life, but it can also be very difficult. But if we truly love the Lord, obeying Him will be a joyful and wonderful privilege (easy said than done – I realize that!) 🙂 Keep striving to follow the Lord. He will bless you for it!

  6. A great word for the year, Rebekah! I chose “holiness” for the year. Days before 2018, I got really nervous about this word…mainly because I realized what it would all mean to focus on it. But the Lord has been opening my eyes to so many things this month. It’s just remembering that the Lord is the one who will guide my steps this year…never my own effort! 🙂

    1. Great word – I can completely understand why you would feel nervous. Holiness is a high calling, but it is possible because God is there to help us! Remember: God does not expect you to be perfect, just GROWING (Jim Berg says that a lot!) and it is so true! Don’t get too focused on the unattainable goal – focus on the baby steps that will help you grow! I am sure God will teach you a lot this year with your word… best wishes! And thanks for sharing 🙂

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