New Year’s Resolution: One Word

The beginning of a new calendar year is always a great time to start fresh. As a result, many of us will find ourselves making New Year’s Resolutions. Some of us promise to lose weight. Others may pledge to stop procrastinating and tackle that long put-off house project. Educators often use the New Year to resolve to do better by themselves, family, students, and profession.

Perhaps you have resolved to make some adjustments to your classroom instruction come the return of school in January. Maybe you have a desire to implement more engagement strategies or ways to continue to build your classroom community.  It is possible that you are just seeking more opportunities to build lasting relationships with your kids— the kinds of bonds that will have them remembering your class as the best time they ever had in school.

In the end we create endless goals, resolutions, wish lists, and vision boards (not to say I still won’t create one), to become our best and live a life of impact.  Instead of creating lists this year, let’s think about making our lists more intentionally centered around one word. Just think one word. One word that can help us be intentional in all or certain aspects of our lives for the next 365 days of the year.

Over the past two years I have gotten bitten by the #oneword movement bug. I have always had good intentions-the “I wills, and the “I won’ts-faded so quickly, and I always misplaced my list of resolutions before January was over.  Instead I choose One Word to focus on for the next 365 days.  Doing so has changed my perspective, my heart, and my actions. The purpose of choosing one word is to choose one word that will inspire you to make things in your life and work simple by focusing on one word for the year.  It sums up who we are becoming and/or how we want to live our lives. Having one word makes us become intentional in our actions and impacts all areas of our lives (the mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial).

Below are my one words from the past two years.

2017: Believe- The previous year, I was in period in my life were I was doubting my abilities as an educator and just things all around in life in general.  I choose to believe to be able to trust the process and believe in my abilities. Even though it was set with the intention for career, it turned up in all aspects of my life.  I slow jogged/walked and completed seven 5k races. Those who know me, know I hate distance running, but I believed and mentally completed the races. It also became the year where I started dabbling in presenting at educational conferences.

2018: FaithThis was a year of change for me in my job and other areas of my life. Initially it was more work related however setting this word intentionally drew me back to the spiritual side of my life.  I began reading more about the word and reconnecting with God. Still a work in progress but my faith is becoming stronger than ever. In addition, that faith continued with me continuing to build upon presenting at conferences and taken a leap to start a blog…eek!

As the entrance of 2019 is bearing down upon us I will admit that I’m still pondering my one word. It can be easy, but sometimes it is not as easy as you think, because you want that one word to keep you focused, be transformational, and act as guide throughout 2019. It can be be overwhelming with a variety of thoughts going through your mind. Below are some possible tips when considering your one word.

  1. Unplug/Brainstorm: Find a space to unplug. No TV, kids, phone,  social media…just you. Wherever you decide to go make sure you will not be interrupted. Unplugging helps you hear your own thoughts clearly.  Have a pen and paper ready to start brainstorming your thoughts/words.
  2. Ask yourself questions: Asking yourself questions will help you get to what is essential to what you need versus what you want.
    • Should I focus on my work or home life? What do I need (not want, but need.)
    • Do I want my word to to just focus on one aspect of me or encompass all (spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and/or financial).
    • How will this word sum up my 2019?
    • What’s in my way?
    • What has to go?
  3. Make a List of Words: Write down words or phrases that come to your mind as you open your heart to reflect upon the questions you are asking yourself.
  4. Define Your Top 3 Words: From your list go through the questions again and narrow down your choice to three.  Unplug again for another day or two if needed to narrow down to one. In my case, I continually pray and reflect until I am brought to it.
  5. Select Your Word: Once you have gone through the above process and have selected your word keep it someplace where you can see it everyday.  For example, each year I make it as part of my facebook cover, my computer and phone screensaver. This year I might consider making a bracelet.

I have to admit that I have gone through this process and it can be overwhelming as I am the type to get in my head and put pressure upon myself. For example, as previously stated, the selection of my 2019 one word is still up for grabs.  I have narrowed it down to three. I am in the process of reevaluating my top three with asking myself some of questions mentioned above. Heck I have even phoned a friend and googled to see if there was a word that can encompass all three.  However in the end, I know that it all boils down to: What do I need?  What will guide me?  How will it be transformational for my life?

If you are considering having one word to live by in 2019 be kind to yourself if you can’t make a decision by January 1.  It’s A-okay. You don’t want to force yourself into choosing a word that does not fit your needs. Give yourself time and reflection.  It will come to you at the right time.

The bottom line is not to forget that you want the word you select to be transformational and guide you as you continue to move forward with this crazy thing we call life.  It’s all about building and enhancing on the person who you are becoming. If you care to share leave a comment with your one word for 2019 and your experience. Cheers to a new year! #oneword365

PS: This post was inspired by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page’s book One Word That Will Change Your Life. In addition, thank you to my family, friends, and co-workers who have helped me live out my #oneword365 over the past two years. If your interested in learning more about the one word movement check out the following site: One Word 365