what's your one word?
Let me preface by saying — I'm not one of those people who hates on resolutions. I always want to support people who are working towards a goal to better themselves. I get nostalgic around the New Year, and I think we all should. There's power in deep reflection.
However, I'm not ignorant to the fact that most people give up their resolutions pretty soon after popping champagne at midnight. Apparently,
80% of resolutions "fail" by the second week of February.
Now, that statistic might not represent the people that pick themselves up after failing and keep trucking along, but you get the gist — the odds are against us (generally speaking) when it comes to resolutions.
That's where the one word comes in.
So about 20 years ago, two smart dads started a new tradition around their dinner table. About six years go another smart dad came along and helped them publish it into a book.
Then, about three years ago, my smart dad brought it to our dinner table. And finally in 2019, I am starting to see the real value in this practice.
Basically, instead of a resolution, a person chooses one word to focus on for the entire year — choosing wisely, because this word should not change over the course of that year.
The reason this works better than a resolution is that it's simple, it's broad, and it sticks. It serves as a north star to which every success, every failure, and every goal can ladder into over the course of the year. It serves as a guide.
It does not focus on something a person wants to
or what they want to
but rather the kind of person they want to
Now if there's anything I know about myself, and maybe this is true for others, it's that choosing just one of something can be nearly impossible, especially if this one thing lasts for an entire year.
Here's an experiment to try if you suspect you or someone you love is one of these people —
Ask me what my favorite color is?
blue and pink.
Fall Out Boy and Paramore.
Chips and salsa.
See what I mean? Two answers for everything.
So the authors of this practice thought of a three-step process for those of us who are indecisive or have trouble narrowing things down:
decide the kind of person you want to be
identify key characteristics of that kind of person
pick your word from that list
So, what's my one word for 2019? Wow, thanks for asking! Let me tell you. After tossing around words like "music," "creativity," and "leadership" I landed on a word that I'm certain God placed in my mind. But to understand why that is, let me share with you the word that defined my 2018.
It wasn't a word I chose consciously, but as I reflect on the year behind me, I see that almost everything I did and thought about stemmed from it:
That word is "stress."
Stress at work, stress about what place I was at in life compared to others, stress about my physical appearance — stress so bad that I could no longer fall asleep or sleep through the night. Stress that took not only a mental toll, but physical. After acne, pain, exhaustion, blood in places where it shouldn't be, crippling hives and rashes, a kidney infection — a colonoscopy, endoscopy, and ultrasound all came up blank, but all the doctors and all the nurses would come back to me with the same question:
have you been under an unusual amount of stress lately?
"Define unusual?" I would ask, and they'd reply "a drastic life change, a death in the family, a break up?" — and that's when the guilt would set in. I was under an unusual amount of stress, but the thing that was missing was the extenuating circumstance. There hadn't been any big life changes: no death in the family, no breakup.
But so. much. stress.
Stress that I ultimately decided I was imposing on myself, by the unrealistic expectations I had set for my life.
So my word for 2019 is something I know that Jesus wants for my life, and it's something that I need. It's something He offers through a life in relationship with Him. It's a fruit of the spirit. Paul commands us to it as a follower of Christ.
This word is used in the bible 429 times.
It's not a word that anyone that knows me would use to describe me at this point in my life, but it's something that I want others to feel when they are with me. It's what I hope to have in the room during family gatherings. It's what I need in my mind to fall asleep and sleep through the night.
my word for 2019 is "peace."
A friend of mine asked me recently what worship song spoke to me the most this past year, and these lyrics from the Mosaic MSC song Tremble come to mind:
bring it all to peace.
the storm surrounding me,
let it break
at your name.
call the sea to still,
the rage in me to still.
at your name,
So, here's to peace in 2019.
Peace with myself and my limitations. Peace with decisions I have made and will have to make. Peace with my relationships. Peace about the future. Peace through Christ. This is the word I will think of and rest in through every decision, success, and failure this year.
Philippians 4 : 5-7 New International Version (NIV)
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
And with that, Happy New Year!
If you were inspired by the above to set your own word for 2019, share it with me and share it out on social media with the hashtag:
(Oh heck yes, I am signing every email with that for the rest of the year).