A Fresh Approach to the New Year with One Word

love, one word, coffee

Do you like to set New Year Resolutions?

If your answer is no, then you’re like many who find them frustrating, unfulfilling, and even frightening.

Would you like a fresh approach to developing yourself this year?

In my coaching practice, and the Wholistic Woman Community, I use a theme word for the year to guide personal and professional growth. I highly recommend the One Word process if you’re looking for new perspectives about your work, or life overall.

The three-step process outlined in the book One Word to Change Your Life tells us how to receive a word that God, Spirit, The Universe (or whatever you call that which is bigger than us) intends for our development this year. The process is simple, yet important to follow because this is not about picking any old good word. It’s about receiving the word that is meant to guide and teach you. Here’s how it works:

  1. Look within. Set aside time to be quiet and ask yourself these powerful questions:
    What do I need…not what do I want, but what do I truly need?
    What’s in my way…what’s blocking me?
    What needs to go…what do I need to release to move forward?
  2. Look up. Prayerfully ask, what do you (God/Spirit/Universe) want to do in me and through me? Be open and pay attention for the answer. The word that surfaces may not be what you expect. In fact, your mind may at first reject the word provided, but if your heart and soul know that it is your word, then stick with it. Even if the word doesn’t make sense initially, trust the process and be curious to see what lessons it may teach you.
  3. Look out. Live with your word for the entire year. It’s important to stick with it because there will be insights for you through both the high and low points of your year. It helps to share your word with others who will support you as you stretch and grow.

Over the past five years, each of my theme words have taught me surprising lessons.

My first word was BELIEVE. Initially, it very easy to identify all that I believed in…faith, love, honesty, kindness…the list went on and on. Midway through the year, however, I started to see when belief was missing; times when I felt weak, vulnerable, and insecure. It was uncomfortable to realize the person I didn’t fully believe in was me. My word helped me recognize how limiting self-doubt can be. I searched for an antidote and found it in faith. When I feel weak and unable to go on, I have seen God provide exactly the people and resources that I need. I learned that the more I look for divine provision, the more often I see it. This theme word helped me to better understand my surface, as well as my deeper, beliefs.

The next year my word was FOUND. This word helped me identify the actions, solutions, thoughts, and approaches that work best for me, and to release those that do not. I learned how to more consistently rely on what I find to be true. I trust my intuition more, spend less time comparing myself to others and feeling lost. I know where the source of my inner strength lies and encourage others to find their own resilience through my coaching and book, Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith. FOUND was an especially relevant word for me as I published the book in 2014.

In 2015 my word was HEAR. Initially I thought this word was a bit odd and uninspiring. Nonetheless, I trusted the process, stuck with it, and learned from it. I paid more attention to the messages that I allow myself to hear from others…and from my own self-talk. I started to consciously block harmful or negative messages and tried to open my ears to listen for positive and/or divine messages. Interestingly, I heard many of those messages from family, friends, clients, and other people who may or may not have known they were a conduit…giving me exactly what I needed to hear on any given day.

In 2016 my word was ASK. I’m a recovering independent woman who is learning the value of being interdependent. Having been a single mom for many years I developed the tendency to be self-sufficient and ‘just do it myself.’ It’s hard for me to ask for help. This one word reminded me to practice asking for what I need. In addition to improving that skill, I surprisingly discovered related benefits in learning how to wait and receive.

This past year my word has been JOY. You might think that with the name Carol, which means song of joy, that this word would be easy. It’s a feel-good word but I must admit that I’ve had challenges with it. Initially, I felt nervous about it because of an internal expectation to always be joyful. I knew that would be impossible and felt that this word was lofty and beyond my reach. However, it has taught me many lessons.

As I helped my 87-year-old mother downsize for a move, we used the powerful question, does it bring you joy? from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to help us decide what to keep and what to bless and release. After 8 weeks of asking that question with Mom I noticed myself asking it in other areas of my life as well. I started to pay more attention to what brings me joy. This focus helped to deepen my personal understanding of the difference between happiness and joy.

For me, joy often slips into my heart unexpectedly and it radiates a unique, glowing, energy. It rises to my face in a smile or perhaps an outright laugh. It’s a byproduct of what I’m doing; one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). In other words, it flourishes when I am grounded. As I suspected at the start of the year, I can’t make joy happen on cue. However, I’ve learned that it appears more frequently when I’m in healthy relationships…with God, myself, and others. Joy occurs when I connect deeply with those I care about whether it’s through burst-out-loud laughter or in quiet moments of the heart.  I’m learning to recognize and savor it more. Like many others, I’ve experienced unexpected challenges this year. A frightening prognosis for a beloved brother-in-law has sent my extended family reeling. Even on this hard, unwanted, journey I search for, and find, joy-filled moments of deep connection and love and for that I am grateful.

As the new year begins, I often resist letting go of the word from the previous year. I need to remind myself that each word I’ve had becomes a part of who I am. The habit of using them to gain perspective and a sense of direction continues long after the year is over. Each word continues to build within me and contributes to my on-going development.

As 2018 begins, I have moved through the process to discover my next theme word. This year I know that God has given me the word BELOVED and I’m curious to see what I will learn from it.

If you would like to learn more about The One Word Process, I suggest that you read the short book One Word to Change Your Life by Gordon, Britton, and Page. Once you’ve received your Word, be sure to share it with others to form your stretch team which will support you with this tool throughout the year.

Would you like to be part of a larger Stretch Team?

If so, I warmly invite you to join the Wholistic Woman One Word Evening Retreat on January 31st from 5:30-7:30 pm. We will kick off the 2018 Evening Retreat program series with a launch Party where you will learn about the One Word process and hear inspiring stories of the impact this powerful tool has had on other women.

If you’re familiar with this tool and already have a Word for 2018 be sure to bring it with you…or bring whatever words you may be considering.

If this is a new process to you I invite you to simply attend and learn more about it.

In addition, you will learn a bit about the evening retreat programs for 2018. We hope that you will join us for all our evening retreats to learn, grow, and stay connected with your One Word Stretch Team throughout the year.

In this community of women-on-the-grow know that you are accepted for who you are now while we provide you with tools and strategies to improve…and be more fully you! We believe that we are each unique and a wonderful work-in-progress. The Wholistic Coaches and I are honored to support you in becoming more you in this fresh new year full of possibilities.

May this be a great year to Be MORE You!


P.S. If you plan to attend many of the Wholistic Woman Evening Retreats this year, we suggest that you become a member to receive discounts on every event. Click here to learn more and become a member.