One word


There’s a new approach to New Year’s resolutions that has been popping up in my corner of the blogosphere in the last few years, and it’s one of those concepts that must be good, because I can’t get it out of my head.

People have been writing candidly about the pressure that they place on themselves to be a certain person, to act in a certain way, to practice certain behaviors — and hypothesizing that our proclivity for making resolutions can sometimes reinforce or validate that pressure.  In response, some are choosing to forgo creating a list of daunting New Year’s resolutions.  Instead, they are focusing on a single word for the year, a word to ponder, to be shaped by, to live into.

Here’s inspiration from Alece Ronzino, a woman who started a website that invites people to share their “one word” and the stories of how it has shaped their lives:

I’ve lived most of my life by SHOULDS. Growing up, I was the all-American good girl. I did well in school. I went on mission trips. I moved to Africa when I was 19 to serve as a missionary. I did everything “right.” By the book. The way I was supposed to, expected to, told to. The way I should.

But the treadmill of striving is exhausting.

She goes on to write about how the routine of making resolutions every January and then not meeting them made her feel like a failure.

So I began choosing just One Word as I step into a new year. One word that sums up who I want to be, or a character trait I want to develop, or an attribute I want to intentionally add to my life.

And since it’s just one word, it’s easy to remember. I place reminders of it around my home and workspace, and I inevitably start seeing and hearing it everywhere, which helps me stay mindful of it…

My One Word isn’t another to-do list. It’s simply a guide as I make decisions, set plans, and go about my every day.

And I’ve seen these words shape not only my year, but also myself. They’ve challenged me, inspired me, changed me. Such is the power of intentionality.

In the busyness of the holidays, I neither set resolutions nor chose “one word,” but I do like to set intentions for myself, so I might prayerfully choose a word and start my year in February.  If you’re inspired to do the same, let us know what word you chose!

Read Alece’s full blog post here.

Join up with Alece’s OneWord365 community here.

–Caren Swanson

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