7 GREAT Reasons To Try “One Word”

One Word

New Year’s resolutions are popular, but adopting “One Word” is significantly more powerful!

Perhaps like many others in 2021 you set some new year’s resolutions. According to the Statistia Global Consumer Survey the most popular new year’s resolutions were…

New Year's Resolutions 2021

Now there’s nothing wrong with wanting to makes those changes in your life. In fact, those would all be brilliant changes. Unfortunately, people set out with good intentions to exercise more or to eat healthier, but a month or two in and life gets full and fast and the resolution fades. But what if you could simplify and yet still impact your life in powerfully positive ways?

Since 2013 I’ve embraced a different strategy. I’ve adopted a single word for the entire year that influences every aspect of my life – my “One Word.” It’s not a concept I’ve come up with on my own, I have Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon to thank for the “One Word” concept. If you have not yet read their book One Word, I encourage you to do so. It‘s a short and sweet read!

Practicing One Word has enriched my life and taught me so very much. If you’ve never practiced One Word, here are 7 GREAT reasons to give it a go! Practicing One Word…

1. Provides FOCUS!

Most new year’s resolutions require you to do something different or embrace new habits. Now I’m a big fan of having amazing habits, but focusing on a single word provide a focus that naturally creates some incredible internal changes that impact all aspects of your life. With a single word it keeps you focused in a unique way.

Here’s a quick peak into the way my One Word has focused me:

HOPE (2021) – it forced me to focus on the HOPE I have in God. With Him I truly have HOPE no matter how discouraging my circumstances might be.

ENCOURAGE (2020) – Could there be a more appropriate word to focus on for a pandemic year? It was a year laced with fear, uncertainty, and isolation. Viewing a year like that with the lens of “ENCOURGE” was exactly what I need.

The beauty of having One Word is that over the course of the year, the word you’ve chosen takes on new meaning, and offers a valuable focus that you never expected!


I will be honest with you. When life brings crazy stuff my way my heart sinks and I gravitate towards anticipating the worst. It’s easy for me to feel hopeless and discouraged, but if I linger in that place, it does me no good. My One Word has a way of challenging me to stretch and grow in positive ways. To grow at the very heart of who I am.

HOPE (2021) – I discovered that I rely on myself more than I should. This year forced to stretch and trust God more. To choose to believe that with Him there is always HOPE; God is my HOPE! I can’t rely on myself, I need Him.

ABIDE (2019) – Was a similar lesson. That I need to rest, dwell in Him. Wait in expectation and remain tough. It’s fascinating to me how my One Word’s have intertwined over the years!

3. Offers STRENGTH

I don’t like to feel weak! But, when life is hard, challenging, and feels hopeless that’s exactly how I feel!

It’s remarkable how over the years my One Word has been the perfect word to offer me the strength I’ve needed for that year. And it’s often been in unexpected ways that it’s offered that strength.

HOPE (2021) – When I feel despair – the lack of hope, that’s a vulnerable, weak place to be!

ACCEPT (2018) – When I’m fighting all that comes my way it wears me out and makes me feel weak! It’s in acceptance that I gain strength.

My One Word has a way of pointing me back to God, the real source of my strength.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

4. Definitely EMPOWERS

When I fully step into my One Word, it’s empowering and enables me to tap into parts of me that I might otherwise ignore. That’s why I come back to my One Word frequently to recharge.

HOPE (2021) – Every time I plugged back into “HOPE” it fueled me. Even though at times what I faced seemed impossible, clinging to HOPE gave me courage to trust God and watch for Him to do something amazing!

REFRESH (2017) – In this season I was still healing from Lyme disease and sorting out what my new normal would look like. REFRESH empowered me to include more of the activities that make my heart happy – activities like reading, chatting with a family member or friend, work on a puzzle, or work on a creative project. The big learning was that when I allowed those activities into my life, it was empowering and energizing. It allowed me to work with greater ease and experience less resentment around what I felt like I didn’t have time for. Incidentally, I continue to REFRESH in this way so the learning has lingered.

5. Naturally GUIDES

When it comes to making decisions, my One Word naturally guides my choices. It helps me determine what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. It enables me to choose how to use my time, energy, and resources. And it highlights areas in my life that need attention and changes that need to be made.

HOPE (2021) – With HOPE as my guide I was more persistent and willing to put energy in to the difficult areas, take risks, and not give up.

RECEIVE (2016) – Lyme disease make life hard. I needed help, but as a fiercely independent gal, that’s not something I’m very good at. With RECEIVE as my guide, I chose to take the help that was offered and to even ask for it too! That was a big step for me!


In the midst of challenges, I often drift into discouragement. The beauty of having a One Word is that it brings me back to truth. When I glance up and see that word hanging on my wall near my desk it gives me courage to keep on going!

Hope - One Word

HOPE (2021) – Being reminded that with Him there is always HOPE – now that’s delightfully encouraging! A happy reminder in the midst of very chaotic times!

RELEASE (2015) – Hurts, frustrations, and disappointments hung onto are discouraging. Ignoring your feelings – that leads to depression, health issues, and more. The reminder to RELEASE what’s not serving me was a blessing.

7. Creates CHANGE

Yes, my One Word changes me – my heart! At the very core of me where the changes truly need to be made. As my heart changes, so many other aspects of my life are impacted for the better. Looking back at all of the different One Words I’ve had over the years helps me to see the many ways I’ve grown.

HOPE (2021) – I’m more optimistic, positive, and persistent. And I’m continuing to learn to let HOPE rule when life gets tough. My faith has grown. When my hope feels shaky, I’m quicker to turn the situation over to God. When I chose the word HOPE, I had some specific areas in mind. HOPE didn’t fix those areas, but I’m more hopeful than I was before and feel good about the way HOPE now colors the way I approach those areas of my life.

FAITH-FULL (2014) – Yes! My sort of made-up word that urged me to be committed (faithful) to my calling and full of trust in God. I give you creative license with your words too! ?

PROACTIVE (2013) – This is the One Word that started it all! It challenged me to get more creative about the frustrations, challenges, and obstacles that came my way. PROACTIVE continues to shape my life. It one of the reasons I take the time to evaluate at the end of every month so I can proactively make changes that enhance my life and that will enable me to achieve my goals. Crazy that a simple word has that kind of lingering power in my life!

I’ve shared some GREAT reasons to try One Word! Every year is a unique and new experience. And just in case you are curious, my One Word for 2022 will be INVEST. I like to add a tagline to my One Word and my tagline for 2022: Put your energy into what matters most.

How has practicing One Word impacted your life? What is your One Word for 2022?

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.


  1. Victoria Humbles on January 6, 2022 at 3:03 pm

    Good morning..I love the one word challenge..this year my word is .. REMEMBER.
    I believe God wants me to remember who he says he truly is..he is my rewarder, my faithful friend, my Jesus who can and will do the impossible, and his love is real..
    Looking back at who He is and what he has done has already so fun, so full of joy, and so in awe of what an amazing, giving, loving fiend I have.. Jesus!!

  2. Marvae Eikanas on January 6, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    REMEMBER – what an amazing word for 2022! Thanks for sharing Victoria!

  3. Wendelin on January 9, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    I love this idea. What fun. When I think back I have used a similar system. I have a black board in my kitchen for lists and stuff. When a phrase I hear at church or a verse I read hits me hard and I know it’s Gods voice I write it on my black board. This past year I returned to work after being sick with cancer for a few years. ( praise God Im well) I wanted to return quickly to everything I was able to do before and more. I felt as if God had healed me and I was ready to sprint off the start line. Lol. Well that’s not quite how it went and “God’s Speed” went on the top of my black board. It gave me so much perspective and peace.

  4. Marvae Eikanas on January 10, 2022 at 9:55 am

    Writing phrases you wan to remember on a black board to keep them in sight is awesome! Thanks for sharing Wendelin.
    Thrilled to hear that you are well after being sick with cancer! I too know how what it’s like to figure out a new normal after an illness. Learning to slow down was one of the gifts I received through my Lyme disease battle.
    Thanks for sharing!

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