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How to Make Your One Word Stick — Once and For All

| written by Marva Smith | 50 comments

Call me jaded. I’m OK with that because I have a feeling I’m not alone.

I always had good intentions.

Every year I’d make New Year’s resolutions, only to forget about them by the end of January. Or maybe I got past the first couple of months but then, wham! Life happened.

So I stopped. Completely.

No more resolutions for me.

And for a while I was ok with that.

But I needed something more.

Something to guide me. Something to focus on to bring structure and meaning to my year.

Enter One Word

No more complicated, well-meaning but poorly executed resolutions. Just. One. Word.

Simple, meaningful, profound.

And so, for the past few years I’ve used One Word as my guide. And it’s been going quite well.

But then I came to a startling realization. If I’m not careful, my One Word could end up having the same fate as my former New Year’s resolutions.

So here’s what I’m doing instead to make sure that my One Word sticks once and for all. And by the way, if any of these tips resonates with you, feel free to try them.

5 Tips to Make Your One Word Stick

Tired of making New Year's resolutions that don't last? Join the One Word 365 revolution and creating lasting change. These 5 tips show you how. From - One Word 365 by Marva | SunSparkleShine

1. Pray

As I make plans for the year the first thing I aim to do is seek God’s will. I approach Him in prayer fully expecting that He will lead and guide me – which includes leading me to my One Word.

2. Choose One Word

It is usually during one of my intentional goal-setting prayer times that God gives me focus. I love having a word for the year to meditate on and guide me throughout the year. This past year my word was ENOUGH and God showed up time and time again to remind me that He is more than enough for me.

Visit this page for inspiration to see what One Word others have chosen for 2017.

3. Set Goals

This is where your One Word really comes to life.

An ideal goal-setting resource is Grace Goals (affiliate link) which I’ll be using again this year. Grace Goals is the revolutionary way to set goals and approach change.

Keep reading to find out about a bonus offer exclusively for One Word 365 readers.

Grace Goals is a PDF download with 5 mini-workshops that will take you through the process of:

4. Envision it

Part of my goal-setting process involves creating a Vision Board. A vision board is a powerful tool to keep you inspired throughout the year.

I incorporate my One Word as well as images of my envisioned future on my Vision Board. One glance reminds me of the journey I’m on and motivates me to keep going.

Even if you don’t think you’re the creative type having a visual of your goals will help. Consider what goal-setting guru Michael Hyatt does. He keeps a typed list of his goals framed and displayed in a prominent place. He’s convinced that doing this one thing makes him more productive by far. And we have to admit, he’s one pretty productive guy.

5. Live it

With your One Word and goals in hand, it’s time to live them out.

To help keep me on track this year I developed my Goals Planner to document my goals and measure my progress month by month.

Tired of making New Year's resolutions that don't last? Join the One Word 365 revolution and creating lasting change. These 5 tips show you how. From - One Word 365 by Marva | SunSparkleShine

Bonus Offer

As a special offer for the One Word 365 community, when you purchase Grace Goals here  before 6 January 2017, you’ll get the Goals Planner absolutely free. Simply email your Grace Goals receipt to sunsparkleshine{@}gmail{dot}com to receive your bonus.

So, you see it’s ok to be a little jaded about New Year’s resolutions. Especially if it leads you to a better way to achieving lasting change.

Tired of making New Year's resolutions that don't last? Join the One Word 365 revolution and creating lasting change. These 5 tips show you how. From - One Word 365 by Marva | SunSparkleShine

What about you?

If you’ve chosen your One Word already, please share it in the comments to inspire someone else.

Then let us know which of these tips you’re going to try to bring your One Word to life.

Photo credits: Kaboompics.com and SunSparkleShine.com

Marva Smith is an island-living, sun-loving, Christian wife and mom. She has successfully transitioned careers, welcomed reinvention and is always on the lookout for what God is doing next. She enjoys showing women how to sparkle and shine for God by living fully and abundantly right where they are (John 10:10). You can find her writing about her life and faith on her website SunSparkleShine, as well as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.


Sue: My new word for 2017 is 'KNOW'. To KNOW God is to trust God. I need to go deeper with God, not just knowing who he is in my life or know that he exists, but to KNOW him at a deeper level than I have been in my Christian walk. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Sue, I love that! You're so right about knowing God on a deeper level -- not just knowing about Him but knowing Him intimately and being known by Him. I am excited for you and all God will do with that One Word in 2017. Wishing you blessings on your New Year! Reply

Courtney: Just wrapping up a 2016 word of COMMUNITY. My word for next year is RESTORE. Best wishes to all! Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Wow, from Community to Restore. Both great words with so much potential. I love that you already have your word and are ready to jump into 2017. Way to go, Courtney! Reply

Rebecca: My word for 2017 is Immanuel (which means God with us). The intent is to practice the presence of God each moment. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Rebecca, what an amazing word! With a word like that you really can't go wrong can you? May God go with you all through 2017 and beyond. Reply

Linda: My word for 2016 has been "Bless". I think I did pretty good with that focus, but I know I could have done better. This year my word is KINDNESS. I want to scatter kindness with intention and I think the Grace Goals and Goals Planner will make the difference in how my word works. I'm still searching for just the right Bible verse to connect with KINDNESS - I'll let you know! :-) Thank you for these awesome tools! Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Linda, I'm so glad you found this helpful. I know what you mean about doing better with your word, but that's why I'm so thankful for grace. When I fall short, grace steps in. I can't wait to hear what Bible verse you find to connect with KINDNESS. That's a great word, by the way! Reply

elizabethfstewart: My word for 2017 is ABIDE. I'm searching out the scriptures pertaining to the word abide and writing them down. I also did a chalkboard art in my kitchen with the word abide and all of the related words listed in STRONG'S concordance. I want to keep it in front of me throughout the year as a reminder. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: My sister recently had ABIDE for her word as well and it was so rich with meaning. I'd love to see a picture of your word art -- perhaps you can post it on Twitter or Instagram and tag me @spreadtheshine with #OneWord365. Displaying it in your kitchen is one sure way to keep your word ever before you. Love it! Reply

Hannah: This is my 1st year of doing this, and I couldn't be more excited. I've decided that my word for 2017 is going to be #Surrender. Surrender control, my heart, my wants, my actions, .... to just let go and let God. Surrender it all and make my life no longer mine. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Wow, Hannah, that does sound like an amazing word and your excitement is contagious! God is pleased when we surrender control to Him so I can't even imagine how much more He will do with that. As you stay the course in 2017, may you go with grace. Blessings to you! Reply

Salina Roof: This is my first year doing One Word 365. I attempted something similar in the past, but didn't make it stick. This year I'm determined to be diffrent. My word is intentional. How fitting, haha! But it really is a perfect word for me. I'm really looking forward to seeing what God does through this word. I've downloaded the Grace Goals and with the Planner, I think they will both help immensely! Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Salina, I'm so glad you chose to do Grace Goals with the Goals Planner. I pray that they'll be a helpful resource as you live out an INTENTIONAL year. Take some time to recognize the lessons from last year and then be INTENTIONAL about moving forward. With God's grace, you can do this! Reply

Kelly S: Great practical tips! I love goal setting. Centering those goals around one word seems like the ideal way to breathe life into your dreams. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Thank you, Kelly. I'm glad you like the tips and I pray that your year will be full of grace as you move forward in 2017. Here's to big, audacious and achievable goals! Reply

Liesl: I am so glad I found this. I decided I wasn't going through the whole resolution setting this year as I set the same ones year after year without any real changes happening. This makes so much more sense. My word for 2017 is #restore as it applies to so much in my life at this time. Will be looking at scriptures with this theme to declare during the year. Thank you for this inspirational message heading into the new year. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Liesl, you're very welcome. I'm glad this offers the inspiration you were looking for and I pray that God will RESTORE your hope in 2017. Blessings to you! Reply

Kira: We are totally on the same page here! This will be my first year with having a word, so I am looking forward to trying it out. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: That's great to hear, Kira. I'm so excited about your One Word journey. Perhaps you'll stop by later in the year to give us an update on how it's going. Happy New Year to you and yours! Reply

Jo A Bish: This is what has been missing , choose a word, but have after a few days changed my mind. Now have decided. My beautiful nieces, a blessing in my life, have used or now choosen ENOUGH and after much prayer, that' is so me, so ENOUGH! Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Oh great, Jo. ENOUGH already. :-) My year of ENOUGH will be forever written on my heart and I pray that yours will have a great impact as well. Reply

Tammi: This last year, 2016, has been a journey. My word was VICTORY and it resulted in a year of terrible medical discoveries and trials. Medical things that were completely unaware to me. At this point in December I have now had 3 good weeks in the whole year. Victory certainly did not take the path that I expected but I do believe it is true. Here is to the next year- a year of EXPLORE. I have no expectations of how this will play out but am excited for the adventure. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Tammi, I'm so glad that you're keeping a positive perspective in spite of your many challenges. Your having made it to the end of December is indeed a victory in itself. Last year, my word ENOUGH took me to places I wish I could've avoided, but I see the lessons in all of it and I believe I came out stronger for it too. And that is my hope for you. I pray that this year EXPLORE will be kind to you. Wishing you blessings! Reply

Vicki Tate: My word for this year was the easiest to choose yet. It is DARE. I am expecting a lot of changes over the year as I pursue further what I believe God has called me to and I have been almost paralysed with fear for the last few months. I need to be bold. I need to trust that God is calling, leading and has my back too and step out. I have chosen a verse for the year, too, from Isaiah 41. It's Verse 10: "Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady; keep a firm grip on you." Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Vicki, it sounds like you picked just the right verse to inspire you as to live out your word. May you DARE to walk boldly in the places God will lead you. Remember, you're not alone! Reply

Carolyn: I am choosing the word RENEW. I need to renew my mind and according to th Word of God I am predestined to become like Christ so I will step out of the flesh and into the Spirit. Looking forward to where this journey with Christ takes me in 2017! Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Carolyn, I have a feeling 2017 will be an exciting year for you. With RENEW as your word, I'd love to hear what God does with that. Perhaps you can update us later in the year and let us know how it's going. Reply

Joni Walter: Abide- with Jesus and God's word daily, and wait to hear him speak Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Joni, I just love that. ABIDE is such a powerful word and I'm excited to think about the amazing year you will have with a word like that. May you ABIDE daily in Him. Blessings! Reply

    Karen Sebastian: Joni, Mine is also ABIDE. Looking forward to exploring the depths of the new word. Blessings. Karen Reply

Kristen: Hi there!! I found my way here through Erika at The Felicity Bee! 🐝❤️ I have never done a word for the year, but I am excited to see what the Lord shows me. I have chosen the word GRACE to focus on in 2017... how His grace is sufficient for me, and how to extend grace to others! Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Kristen, thanks for stopping by and mentioning, Erika's blog. The Felicity Bee is lovely! Grace is such a beautiful, powerful, far-reaching word. I pray that you will enjoy much of it this year! Reply

Karen Sebastian: Mine is ABIDE. I love your five points. I am happy to discover this tribe. I went at it alone and yet applied these same principles guided by the Holy Spirit. Here's the link to my blog about it: http://www.karensebastian.com/hopegrams/soaring-in-2016 Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Karen, thanks for sharing the link to your post. I'm so encouraged by how powerfully God showed up for you last year and I look forward to hearing great news about His faithfulness in 2017! May you ABIDE in Him and He in you! Reply

Tami Weinert: Hello and Happy New Year! My word is peace. As I was praying, it seemed many goals that I wanted to achieve required peace or resulted in peace. We have had a lot of loss in our family over the past several years.Ten close family deaths in the last 6 years. My step dad's suicide in March.....my husband has also had several job changes....we have had had many health issues, chronic serious issues for both of my children....I came close to death in August and God kept me here. Life has been chaotic and in survival mode for a while. So, I am sitting here thinking peace is what I would like to pursue in 2017. I know and believe wholeheartedly that Christ is with us and He will never leave us. I want His peace to permeate my being so when I go about my day, peace goes with me. And that peace is brought, through Jesus in me, to all who my life brushes against. In my home and in my heart and head, peace. Thanks so much for this opportunity and for sharing the journey. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Oh Tami, I too wish that you will find PEACE this year. Having been through a couple losses in the past year, my heart aches for you. I just hope that God will fill you with His love and PEACE through and through. I'm encouraged to hear of the deep faith that you have -- hold on to that to see you through. God is always faithful! Blessings and PEACE! Reply

      tami weinert: Hi Marva, May God bless, comfort and encourage you and your family. Hold them close, Lord. In Jesus name. Reply

Carolyn: My word for this year is LOVE. I just blogged about it tonight and as I did, it made even more sense seeing how it follows a year of RECEIVE. A year of being renewed leads naturally to feeling like I can live out with love, and I want to do that intentionally. I plan to remember by finding some art with my word to hang in key spots. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Carolyn, I'm sure you'll find some great wall art to keep LOVE at the forefront of your mind. If you're on Twitter or Instagram would you please tag me at @spreadtheshine so I can cheer you on? I can't wait to see how your word shows up for you this year. May you experience and share God's LOVE in 2017 and beyond! Reply

Ami Coote: Hi Marva, my word for 2016 was faith - it took me through a lot of hills and valleys yet somehow God seems to have more to teach me about faith. So that's my word again this year. This is my second year doing this challenge and I hope to be more intentional with it. You've given me some great tips to help with that. Thank you. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Hi Ami, I'm so glad you found these tips helpful. I love that you're continuing with another year of FAITH. There was one year when I kept my word from the previous year too -- I figured God thought He had a lot of work to do on me. Lol. And He did! And it was all good. :-) Blessings to you! Reply

Brenda: Does anyone know how to update the posts connected to our profiles? This is my fifth year of One Word, and my related post is from two years ago. Thanks! Reply

    Alece Ronzino: Hey Brenda! Thank you so much for being a part of our journey (and inviting us to be a part of yours) for five years!! Here's where you can update your blog post. Click on the red "Update Your Profile" button here: http://oneword365.com/words/brenda-wilkerson/ Reply

Beckey: My word for 2017 is "Simplify". To get back to the basics in my relationship with God. To have less, so I can appreciate what I have more. To do less, so I can do it better. To focus in on what really matters. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Beckey, I'm with you on keeping things simple this year. Especially with all the distractions our modern lives impose, it's no wonder we can focus at all. I pray that you will slow down enough to SIMPLIFY in all areas that matter most. Sounds like you're already off to a great start. Blessings to you! Reply

Amy Jo: I've been hearing about "one word" "one little word" "my one word" through social media for a couple of years now, and wanted to try it this year. I've been trying to choose a word for weeks and I just can't decide - I'm a very indecisive person about most things, so this is no different. I feel like there is so much I want to be mindful of, to be intentional in trying to change or improve that how can I possible narrow it down to ONE word? But I get the concept, of focusing on something of a smaller scale rather than try to change everything all at once. God has been putting "surrender" on my heart and mind for a long time, it's like I don't know HOW to surrender. So I thought that would be my word, but then so many others kept coming to mind. Now I'm leaning toward Believe. To make me examine what I believe, about God, about how He sees me, about what I believe about myself, what I believe my purpose is, etc. I keep "hearing" that maybe I have to have stronger beliefs before I can surrender. Any thoughts on that? I'm so new to this, I found your blog post by doing a google search for "one word". I am a very hands-on practical person, I want to take action...tell me what to DO and I can do it. But I'm not good at examining my feelings and trying analyze myself, so this kind of stuff is very difficult to me. But I want to learn and try. So I am looking for some type of guide or outline to follow, once I decide which word I'll go with, then what?..What do I DO?? I found a workshop pertaining to one little word, but I really can't justify the expense right now and I wasn't sure it fit what I'm looking to accomplish with this. Sorry to write so much and ask for so much advice, but would appreciate any thoughts you may care to share. Thanks for reading this if you got this far! :-) God Bless! Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine: Hi Amy Jo, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us and letting us know where you are in your One Word journey. I can definitely relate to being a practical person, ready to jump into action. My best advice for you concerning your word is to pray and ask God to make it clear. And then wait. I know that might be hard to hear but truly, there's no pressure to find a word. In fact, sometimes your word just finds you. And quite frankly, sometimes it doesn't and you can go along quite happily without a word for the year. While many find having a word for the year helpful (and as you can tell we're all big fans), the key, I believe is to rely on God to show you His path for you, however that might look. As for 'what next', the steps I laid out in this post are pretty much what I follow and the resources that have been helpful to me, but again, this looks different for everyone. There's no right way or wrong way. I've shared this more as a guide but you should feel free to find what works for you. Experiment a bit and have fun. And above all, whatever your plans, commit them to God. That's when you will find success -- not always in our time but in His. Psalm 37:3-6 might encourage you. I wish you blessings and guidance for your path! Reply

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