The world bombards us with new self-improvement messages every single day, and, let’s be honest…it’s overwhelming…
How to get the perfect spring break bod! How to make him want you! Be your own boss! You can make millions with this one simple trick! How to gain thousands of online followers in just a few clicks!
The noise is everywhere.
Bucket lists, New Years resolutions, new planners guaranteed to keep you organized, new exercises classes with grand promises, new diet trends…
We seem to be a culture obsessed with self-improvement. Am I right?!
I first heard about this idea at oneword365.com—where people are choosing one word (usually inspired by all of their goals and hopes and resolutions) to focus on in the coming year.
I’ve made the lists (and loved them)…but I found something that has taken the lists and the goals and all of the big ideas and made it even more powerful and doable for me: one word.
It’s simple: one word for one year.
It cuts through all the noise and clarifies my focus. It simplifies all my big goals into one small word and it makes it feel so possible to achieve. From January to December, one word echoes in my mind and gets etched into my heart. I boil down all the big goals into their very core and sum it up in just a few little letters that I can carry with me easily and clearly articulate.
It’s how I’ve been learning to refine my life, my heart, and my work in a way that is attainable and meaningful, and it’s all just because I choose one single word.
I spend time at the end of each year reflecting and remembering on the past and casting vision for my life and self in the coming future. I mull over words, I flip through old journals, I write down words from sermons or songs or conversations, and eventually, one always floats to the surface and sticks out to me.
This year has been about selah—pausing and praising. It’s been a year of learning to keep my eyes wide open so I don’t miss out on what’s happening right in front of me. It’s been a year of choosing gratitude even in the midst of stressful workweeks or uncertain circumstances. It’s been a year of taking time to reflect, to give thanks, to appreciate, and to just be still. These words have been the backbone of my years, and the changes in my life that came as a result of my concentrated focus on them are so evident.
My challenge to you is to find your own word and to jump right into all that it means for you in this season of your life.
Everywhere we turn, we will be flooded with ways to improve, but it takes a serious decision and dedication to press into true refinement. It’s a beautiful thing when we can start to see our lives, our passions, our goals, and our realest selves come into focus before our eyes. It’s an incredible thing when we tune out the noise, the distractions and the shallow messages on magazines or Twitter feeds to instead choose a simple, intentional alternative.
The more I think about this whole process of choosing one word, the more it feels like I’m putting roots down into a rich, life-giving place. The years I spent trying to follow the trends and listen to what the world was saying felt like I was just splashing in mud puddles—I was moving a lot and exerting energy, but I just ended up messier than before.
We can choose to put roots into fruitful soil, or we can get dirty in shallow mud puddles.
Let’s be people that seek the good stuff, the rich stuff, the meaningful stuff. Let’s zero in on what truly matters to us in ways that are purposeful and productive. Let’s remember that the words we hear and the words we tell ourselves matter, and let’s choose them wisely. Let’s find the good words that are like diamonds in all the rubble, and let’s focus on them as we go about our days and our year.
Photos by Kimberly Jurgens